Soon after the American colonies declared their Independence from Britain, the "Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union" were drafted to serve as the bonding document between the newly formed United States. But the confederation was weak, which necessitated the drafting of the Constitution of the United States of America.
The Constitutional Convention was a heated affair, with great and learned debate about how the new constitution should be structured. Once drafted, at least nine state legislatures had to ratify it. Madison, Hamilton, and Jay, in an effort to persuade the voters of New York and other states of the importance of ratification, wrote a series of papers explaining and defending the new constitution.
To this day, The Federalist Papers, written under the pseudonym "Publius," remain the most definitive resource for legal and historic scholars in search of the original intent of our Constitution.