The American Society Essay

The American Society Essay

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As the American populace turns to face another Presidential election, it is particularly fitting to reflect upon the Federalist Papers, a collection of essays by various authors (chief among them James Madison) which in their arguments for a strong central government helped to crystallize the essence of the nascent nation. Federalist 10, now considered to be Madison’s masterpiece, addresses one of the most wonderful and terrible aspects of the American government: the liberty of the American people. A philosopher as well as a statesmen, Madison argues that the fallibility of men will ultimately lead to the creation of “factions,” or groups whose interests threaten the liberty of the population at large; in his oeuvre, he proposes a system of government in which a delicate system of representative democracy and checks and balances works to protect the people from factions as well as their own flaws as decision-makers. Over time, this system has become increasingly democratized, as the American people’s role both in political discourse (first via radio and television, and now via social media) and in the elections themselves has increased. While this enfranchisement is undeniably beneficial, it also opens the door for the kind of leaders Madison feared; unwise, charismatic individuals who could come into power and impose a “tyranny of the majority”. One such example is the meteoric rise of Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, once a dark horse who has become the favorite to win the party’s nomination next year. Though Madison wrote over two centuries ago, his fears still ring true today in light of the success of Trump’s bid, an example of the dangers in an increased democratization of the electoral process.
Trump is not...

... middle of paper ... like Donald Trump to rally followers about them in order to create “factions,” or groups set on furthering one agenda to the detriment of another. While Trump’s faction is slightly unusual in that it does not seem to come from one particular corner, with his followers generally coming from moderate Republican backgrounds, it nonetheless seeks to further its own aims to the detriment of women and minorities, particularly Hispanic immigrants. Although the fate of this faction as the election progresses is unclear, it is certain that the 2016 Presidential race will be a battle of personalities rather than one of minds; it is in this climate of agitation that one wonders whether a return to a more Madisonian system, in which the people were protected from themselves by a delicate system of representation, may be a better solution for the troubled contemporary climate.

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