Federalist No. 51

AP US Government and Politics


  1. What do you think Federalist No. 51 is about?

  2. Use Federalist No. 51 in a sentence that wouldn’t get you kicked out of a McDonald’s.

  3. Think of an example of the ideas from Federalist No. 51 in current events:

  4. Find an image of Federalist No. 51 :

Fun Fact


Federalist No. 51: The Federalist Papers were a series of eighty-five essays urging the citizens of New York to ratify the new United States Constitution. Written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, the essays originally appeared anonymously in New York newspapers in 1787 and 1788 under the pen name "Publius."

Federalist No. 51 addresses means by which appropriate checks and balances can be created in government and also advocates a separation of powers within the national government. This idea of checks and balances became a crucial document in the establishment of the modern U.S. system of checks and balances.

The present United States Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation on March 4, 1789.


Federalist No. 51 laid out arguments as to why we need checks and balances with the famous quotes, "Ambition must be made to counteract ambition," and “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.


Congress Is Not a Coequal Branch of Government — It’s Supreme



  1. Why did the author(s) (Publius) write the federalist papers?

  2. What was the main point Publius made in Federalist No. 51?

  3. If The Federalist Papers aren’t a part of the Constitution, why do federal judges often quote them in their rulings?

  4. If the Federalist papers had NOT been written and the Constitution had not been ratified, how different would our country be today?

AP Studio Art

Now draw Federalist No. 51! Take 10 or 20 seconds. That’s all you need. Nothing fancy. Don’t expect a masterpiece. Draw with symbols or stick figures if you wish. Now Look at your drawing. You’ve got it. That’s all.