“It has been frequently remarked that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force.”
—Publius (Alexander Hamilton), Federalist #1

Front photo of Reflection and Choice: The Federalists, the Anti-Federalists, and the Debate that Defined America book cover


  • Reflection & Choice: The Federalists, the Anti-Federalists, and the Debate that Defined America edited by Gary L. Gregg II & Aaron N. Coleman (McConnell Center, 2020)
  • Visit ButlerBooks.com (special Constitution Day sale price of $29.97)
  • Also available via Amazon.com ($49.95)
  • Praises for the book

About the Book

The American Constitution was anything but assured of success when it was drafted that hot Philadelphia summer of 1787. Americans had to debate, reflect, consider, and then choose what kind of new government they wanted for their nation. Reflection and Choice contains the essence of the great debates that roiled American public life at the end of the 1780s and demonstrates how those issues are still alive in the challenges of the 21st century.

This innovative volume sets up the founding debates for contemporary readers and features:

  • All 85 Federalist Papers
  • Selections from more than 40 Anti-Federalist writings
  • 14 sectional introductions, breaking down The Federalist Papers by major topics
  • Special “Questions for Our Time,” which challenge modern readers to ask themselves how the founding debates resonate, even in the challenges we face in the 21st century
  • A thorough index of the included primary sources

The editors and the McConnell Center are making this new edition of The Federalist Papers and select Anti-Federalist writings available because they believe these debates are not just of historical importance but shed vital light, even up to the current hour, on the essential questions related to good government, liberty, order, and public happiness.