"THE MOST INFLUENTIAL AMERICAN POLITICAL WORK": IMPORTANT 1818 EDITION OF THE FEDERALIST, WITH MADISON'S REVISIONS
HAMILTON, Alexander, MADISON, James and JAY, John. The Federalist, on the New Constitution, Written in 1788… With an Appendix Containing the Letters of Pacificus and Helvidus, on the Proclamation of Neutrality of 1793. Also, the Original Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution of the United States, with Amendments Made Thereto. A New Edition. The Numbers Written by Mr. Madison Corrected by Himself. Washington: Jacob Gideon, Jun., 1818. Octavo, period-style half polished brown calf and marbled boards, burgundy spine label, $6000.
Seminal fifth edition of the Federalist Papers—"the most important work in political science that has ever been written"—this distinctive Gideon edition features Madison's revisions and claims of authorship over Hamilton.
Initially published in 1788, "these 85 essays were designed as political propaganda, not as a treatise of political philosophy. In spite of this The Federalist survives as one of the new nation's most important contributions to the theory of government" (PMM 234). "It is the most important work in political science that has ever been written, or is likely ever to be written, in the United States. It is, indeed, the one product of the American mind that is rightly counted among the classics of political theory" (Clinton Rossiter). This landmark Gideon edition, named for the publisher and authorized by Madison, is of particular importance in containing Gideon's introduction, where he cites Madison's notes disputing Hamilton's claim of authorship for various numbers. Hamilton's bibliographer, however, maintains that "Mr. Madison claims the authorship, in this edition, of Nos. 18, 19, and 20, which Hamilton had given as their joint work; and 49 to 58, 62 and 63, which Mr. Hamilton had claimed for himself" (Ford, 25).
Though impossible to give certain authorship to either, "most scholars now agree that Madison, the more meticulous note-taker and record keeper, was correct on all counts" in his corrections, changes and attributions of authorship (Ball, Federalist). To renowned historian Richard B. Morris, the essays by Hamilton, Madison and Jay in The Federalist provide an "incomparable exposition of the Constitution, a classic in political science unsurpassed in both breadth and depth by the product of any later American writer" (cited in McCaffrey, Concise History of American Politics). This is the second single-volume edition (the fifth overall), with an added appendix not included in the 1817 fourth edition. Published the same year as Philadelphia edition (which was issued without the Gideon introduction): no priority established. Shaw & Shoemaker 44017. Sabin 23985. See Howes H114. Contemporary owner signature above title page dated year of publication, 1818.
Interior very fresh with usual scattered foxing. A splendid near-fine copy, handsomely bound.