Saturday, October 29, 2011

December 2, 2011 -- The Federalist Papers, by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay

Our next meeting:
Friday, December 2, 2011, 7:00 PM
Kansas City Public Library/Plaza Branch, Small Meeting Room
4801 Main Street Kansas City, MO

We plan to discuss the Federalist Papers which are a series of 85 essays written in 1787 and 1788 to promote the ratification of the United States Constitution.

The following is a discussion of the contents of the Federalist Papers. As you read them and note items of interest, you all are invited to add comments to this post. Perhaps these comments can then serve as a guide regarding which to give priority in case you don't have time to read them all. (I've already added the first two comments regarding Papers 10 and 84.)

Structure and Content of the Federalist Papers

In Federalist No. 1, Hamilton listed six topics to be covered in the subsequent articles:

"The utility of the UNION to your political prosperity" – covered in No. 2 through No. 14

"The insufficiency of the present Confederation to preserve that Union"—covered in No. 15 through No. 22

"The necessity of a government at least equally energetic with the one proposed to the attainment of this object"—covered in No. 23 through No. 36

"The conformity of the proposed constitution to the true principles of republican government"—covered in No. 37 through No. 84

"Its analogy to your own state constitution"—covered in No. 85

"The additional security which its adoption will afford to the preservation of that species of government, to liberty and to prosperity"—covered in No. 85.

As the series grew, this plan was somewhat changed. The fourth topic expanded into detailed coverage of the individual articles of the Constitution and the institutions it mandated, while the two last topics were merely touched on in the last essay.



Saturday, October 1, 2011

October 28, 2011 -- Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Our next meeting:
Friday, October 28, 2011, 7:00 PM
Kansas City Public Library/Plaza Branch, Small Meeting Room
4801 Main Street Kansas City, MO

We are meeting to discuss Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

Notes from the Underground (Russian: "Notes from Underground" is a more literal translation) is an 1864 short novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. It is considered by many to be the first existentialist novel. It presents itself as an excerpt from the rambling memoirs of a bitter, isolated, unnamed narrator who is a retired civil servant living in St. Petersburg. The first part of the story is told in monologue form, or the underground man's diary, and attacks emerging Western philosophy. The second part of the book is called "Àpropos of the Wet Snow," and describes certain events that, it seems, are destroying and sometimes renewing the underground man, who acts as a first person, unreliable narrator.