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Federalist No. 27: Is Transparency Essential for Public Confidence in Government?


Stephanie P. Newbold is an assistant professor of public administration and policy at American University. Her research interests include the intellectual history of public administration, American constitutional theory, Western political thought, normative foundations of public sector governance, and the legal basis of public administration.


One of the great themes of The Federalist Papers is that good government is dependent on good administration. In Federalist No. 27, Publius underscores two important themes. First, he argues that in order to preserve citizen confidence in government, there must be competent administration, and second, he maintains the need for a strong national government to safeguard the republican principles embedded within the Constitution. Publius's contribution to democratic theory and American republicanism proves as enlightening today as it was when he first published this essay in 1787, and it continues to provide important lessons for public administration and the democratic governance process.