Federalist Paper No. 10 Primary Source Activities | American History



Great way to learn about the Constitution and Federalist Paper No. 10 by James Madison. This activity includes the full Federalist Paper No. 10 and an abridged version, so you can choose what is more appropriate for your class. Reading this document and doing the activities will help students understand the importance of the Constitution and the fear the Founding Fathers had concerning factions.

These activities not only work for an American history class, but it also works for English reading classes!

Zero prep! Files are editable, if you desire to make some changes.

Materials include

  1. Primary resource: James Madison’s Federalist Paper No. 10 (full version)
  2. Primary resource: James Madison’s Federalist Paper No. 10 (abridged version)
  3. Primary source questions – short-answer questions
  4. H.I.P.P.O.S. worksheet

How to use this activity

Start the class with a discussion about the role of government and important of the American Constitution.

Then, read the primary sources as a class (or put the students into groups). Go over some of the major points and ideas in the text. For example, point out the difference between a republic and a democracy. On the side of the primary sources, there is a space for students to take notes. Encourage students to annotate and take notes as they read.

Once the reading is done, start the activities. The first activity includes primary source questions (which includes short-answer questions). You can choose to do this in class or as homework. The second activity is for students to recognize H.I.P.P.O.S. (Historical background, Intended audience, Point of view, Purpose, Other, So what?).

Alternative activity ideas:

  • If distance learning: students read primary source and complete the activities at home (could discuss on Zoom, if possible)
  • Read the primary source as a class and then conduct a Socratic Seminar (use the activities as homework)
  • Read the primary source in pairs, then have a round table discussion (student led, but teacher prompts historical thinking questions); do activities in class or as homework
  • Read the primary source for homework, discuss in class; do questions in pairs
  • Students identify the H.I.P.P.O.S. (historical background, intended audience, point of view, purpose, other information, and so what?) then prepare group presentations
  • Students search for more Federalist Papers (or Anti-Federalist Papers) and compare
  • Read the primary sources, then have a game show where the teacher asks questions (using the accompanying questions from the three activities), and teams have to race to answer the question (with some modification, could be adapted into a Jeopardy-like game)
  • After completing the primary source and questions, create a simulation so students can understand sentiments of different people during the American Revolution

Students will be able to…

  • Understand more about the American Constitution
  • Comprehend James Madison’s Federalist Paper No. 10
  • Difference between a republic and democracy and what the Founding Fathers felt about these forms of government
  • The fear the Founding Fathers had about factions
  • Think like a historian
  • Read, comprehend, and analyze primary sources
  • Improve their vocabulary
  • Improve their ability to read and analyze AP US History DBQ documents
  • Also useful for AP English students

Additional information

Grade Level

9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Resource Types

Primary Source Activities, DBQs, Printables


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