I have not read any of the Federalist Papers in quite a while but remember them thematically very well. And I keep a thick bound published edition of them with my collection of history books. It is easily readable, and represents an effort by the nation’s political and intellectual leadership, to publicize and popularize their differing views of how a to-be-formed, and uniquely democratic government should work. the result was the ratification of the final draft of the U.S. Constitution.by each of the state legislatures – actually July 2, 1776.
Underlying the debate over all of the concrete specifics was a general wariness of the potential for the powers of the government they were creating to be misused by various factions for purposes contrary to the public interest. The solution was to build in safeguards to prevent any faction – at that time the farmers, merchants, traders, financiers, shippers, etc. – was to keep the system balanced among factions. This included a healthy skepticism about common people swept up in a cause and resulting in a radical government.
So skepticism runs through the entire document because these were all very smart and seasoned political participants – they were elected to these positions by their own legislatures. So running through the Federalist Papers and the Constitution itself, is the need to keep any faction from controlling the government. Thus the differing gems of office, separation of powers, election of the Senate by the legislatures, permanent appointment of judges, etc.
So there is something wrong the thought process of modern conservatives – who purport to demand a return to the principles of the Founding Fathers- that is consistent. This is the belief that the government should be “efficient”. The U.S. Government was never designed to be efficient. In fact, great pains were taken to prevent it from being efficient lest any faction get control of it. (If these people want efficiency, think of Mussolini committing to “make the trains run on time” – and lo and behold he did.). So conservatives want to return to the founder’s Constitutional principals to solve our problems, but they are ignoring the actual solutions the founders devised to create the document in the first place.