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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: February 2020

15 - Publius’s Political Science


How does Publius’s treatment of politics in The Federalist measure up as “political science”? On one hand, the purpose of the essays was more polemical than scientific. The Federalist sought to persuade New Yorkers to adopt the proposed Constitution rather than to evaluate it from an entirely dispassionate stance. Yet Publius’s rhetorical method necessarily required predictions about the ways in which the new institutions would work. The Federalist necessarily made use of positive (empirically based) political science to ground normative political arguments to defend the novel constitutional scheme.

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