U.S. History: Revolution- The Dangers of Factionalism: Federalist No. 10

Beginning in October 1787, The Federalist, later known as the Federalist Papers, was published in two New York newspapers. This series of articles written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, who published using the pseudonym “Publius,” sought to address many of the criticisms of the new U.S. constitution and ease the way for ratification. A total of eighty-five articles were written in less than two years, with seventy-seven published serially. The sheer volume of essays and eloquent arguments contained with each made it nearly impossible for the opposition to refute or debate any of the Federalist’s claims. In total, the Federalist provides a unique insight into the reasoning behind how our Constitution is structured, and, according to the Library of Congress, is “considered the most important work on statecraft and political theory ever written by Americans.”

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
Explain the strict versus loose interpretation of the Constitution and how the conflicts between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton resulted in the emergence of two...
Analyze how an author's choices concerning the structure of specific parts of a text contribute to its overall structure, meaning, and aesthetic impact.
Analyze how point of view and/or author purpose requires distinguishing what is directly stated in texts and what is implied.
Analyze what a text says explicitly and draw inferences; support an interpretation of a text by citing and synthesizing relevant textual evidence from...
Compare and contrast the structure of two or more texts and analyze how the differing structure of each text contributes to its meaning and style.
Analyze how similarities and differences in the points of view of the audience and the characters create effects such as suspense, humor, or dramatic irony.
Analyze what a text says explicitly and draw logical inferences; support an interpretation of a text by citing relevant textual evidence.
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
Learning objectives: 
  • Students will analyze one of the Founding Documents of the United States government.
  • Students will perform a close reading of excerpts from a complex primary source text.
  • Students will practice historical comprehension and support answers with evidence from the text.

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 

Students can learn more about who “Publius” is from these resources about John Jay, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton:
John Jay
“John Jay” (Today in History)
Jay’s Treaty Web Guide
James Madison
James Madison: Father of the Constitution [scroll down]
Timeline, biography, etc.
Alexander Hamilton
“A Tragic Duel” (Today in History)

Helpful Hints


  • “The Federalist Papers” Today in History article (secondary source for students)
  • “The Founding Fathers Unite” video (2 min. 51 sec.)
  • The Federalist from American Treasures of the Library of Congress exhibition
  • Federalist No. 10 by James Madison, divided into twelve excerpts (handout for students)
  • “Federalist No. 10: Evidence-Based Answers” worksheet (handout for students)