The Federalist Papers were a series of eighty-five essays urging the citizens of New York to ratify the new United States Constitution.
Written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, the essays originally appeared anonymously in New York newspapers in 17 under the pen name "Publius." The Federalist Papers are considered one of the most important sources for interpreting and understanding the original intent of the Constitution.
By virtue of size, population, and wealth New York and Virginia held virtual veto power over the ratification process.
Friends of the Constitution in New York organized a campaign to sell the new plan of government by writing a series of newspaper essays.
The main organizer and architect of the campaign was Alexander Hamilton, a New York lawyer who had been a delegate to the Philadelphia convention.
Hamilton enlisted the help of fellow lawyer John Jay.
Madison happened to be in New York on official business at the time and agreed to assist Hamilton as well, and ultimately ended up authoring nearly 40 percent of the series.
What we know as the Federalist Papers, is actually a series of eighty-five essays written by Hamilton, Jay, and Madison between October 1787 and May 1788.
If both were to refuse to ratify, the Union would probably fail.
In Virginia, even the friends of the Constitution estimated its support at no more than 50 percent of the voting population, while in New York the opposition seemed even stronger.