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The Federalist Papers are the canon of American political thought. Scholars have been dissecting their meaning for 250 years. Much of the analysis has focused on the structure of government and the aim for liberty and freedom. A smaller amount focused on the presentation of human nature found within the writings. To understand human nature is to understand how a government should be established and administered. This paper seeks to examine how the Federalist writers Alexander Hamilton and James Madison understood human nature by comparing their writings to John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, and David Hume. I argue that the writers did not share the same perspective of human behavior shown in the writings of John Locke, and to a lesser extent Thomas Hobbes, but find a common perspective in the philosophic writings of David Hume.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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