The Federalist Papers offers an expansive vision of the American Constitution and the original sense of the federal character of the American government. What is contained in these eternally studied arguments is a complex construction of American federalism, and approaching this body of work with its full context in view is necessary but often difficult to achieve. Harvey Flaumenhaft has therefore provided readers with a unique, visual resource to be used as a companion to the primary text written centuries ago. As Flaumenhaft suggests, use of The Federalist is only truly of service when students see the full picture; ripping a few lines from it to make one's own point is not representative of the "elaborately structured whole." He has drawn up a kind of unpacked proof for the arguments made in The Federalist, and seeks to help readers "see the structure in that sequence if they examine a depiction in which the copious items are spatially arranged to show their complex relations of subordination, coordination, and dependence. […] The reader with this visual aid can better discern how the clear but elaborate structure fits together." Flaumenhaft includes two further documents after giving them the same treatment––namely, the table of claims of authorship of papers in The Federalist, and the Articles of Confederation. The latter is important as it is precisely this document that the Constitutions of the United States was meant to replace. This is an important guide to early American history studies, American government, and political thought taken more broadly. Flaumenhaft's interdisciplinary use of geometric dissection is a daring and unorthodox invitation to see The Federalist like never before. The visual rendering of this dense and critically important collection of papers is furthermore a key tool in bringing younger students to a deeper appreciation of its purpose and accomplishment.
Harvey Flaumenhaft obtained his doctorate in political science at the University of Chicago. For over fifty years, he has been a member of the senior faculty at St. John’s College, Annapolis, during which he also served as chief academic officer for eight years. He is the author of The Effective Republic: Administration and Constitution in the Thought of Alexander Hamilton and also of Insights and Manipulations: What Classical Geometry Looked Like at Its Peak and How It Was Transformed—A Guidebook. He founded and edited, under the sponsorship of the National Endowment for the Humanities, a series of volumes called Masterworks of Discovery: Guided Studies of Great Texts in Science. His work on the intellectual tradition of the West also includes talks and articles on the American founding and on some sources of modern science.