The Federalist : the authorship of the disputed papers

Smyth, Linda Quinne, Corcoran Department of History, University of Virginia
Peterson, Merrill D., Department of History, University of Virginia
Abbott, W.W., Department of History, University of Virginia
Rutland, Robert A., Department of History, University of Virginia

In the 170 years since Alexander Hamilton's and James Madison's conflicting claims were made public, the controversy surrounding the authorship of the disputed Federalist papers has attracted a large number of historians, biographers, editors, and curious readers. With differing methods and opinions, these various participants in the Federalist debate have attempted to substantiate either the New Yorker's or the Virginian's assertion of authorship and thereby to settle the dispute. Some like Edward G. Bourne relied on internal evidence to make their case, while others like Douglass Adair turned to the philosophical content as a basis of distinction. Outside these more traditional approaches, Frederick Mosteller and David L. Wallace examined the problem quantitatively and offered a computerized settlement founded on word distribution. Singly, each of these methods has tended to support Madison's claim to the essays in question. When all the evidence is carefully analyzed together, however, the findings show that Hamilton wrote at least one of the disputed papers, Madison contributed four, and six of the essays were the products of both men. A clarification of Hamilton's and Madison's shares of the disputed papers is the object of this dissertation.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Digitization of this thesis was made possible by a generous grant from the Jefferson Trust, 2015.

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