The Federalist Papers and Government Today
In The Federalist Papers by James Madison, Madison discuses various aspects of government and how the government must be organized in order to better represent the people. In The Federalist, No. 10 Madison discusses the nature of political factions and parties and how they can affect the government and its practices. The Federalist, No. 51 discusses instead how the government being in branches helps maintain liberties and better protect the American people. The topics mentioned in The Federalist Papers continue to explain and structure our government today.
In “Federalist #10”, Madison describes the dangerous effects that factions can have on Republican government and on its people. Madison defines a faction as a group of citizens who unite under a shared cause, and work against other groups in order to achieve their means. Their means of achieving their goals may achieve adverse effects upon the rights of other citizens. Put in more modern terms, a faction could be reasonably compared to a special-interest group. The sort of faction that most endangers the liberty inherent in United States society are factions that contain a majority of the whole. The weakness of a popular government is its susceptibility to the effects of factions. However, a well-constructed Union provides numerous advantages, and its ability to break and control factions is its most important and vital to the success of the Union. Factions arise due to the nature of man to be moved by different opinions and passions. Men will be diverse in their opinions as well as their social and economic classes, and just by the mere presence of dividing classes will factions arise. By means of factions, legislative measures are often decided by an overbearing majority, with little or no regard for others who do not share their interests. Protecting against factions will protect those in the minority, and ensure that the public good is served.
Throughout Federalist 10, James Madison argues that we must allow people to separate into groups according to their needs and beliefs regarding the political system of our country. These factions will protect interests and create an elevated government comprised of the most knowledgeable and educated men to protect the citizenry. His arguments reflect his status as a wealthy and educated landowner that must protect himself in the face of the common people. I will argue that Madison’s argument is flawed, which he alludes to in his writing, because he neglects to acknowledge that people are self-interested and therefore, morally corrupt. This self-interest will be the downfall of Madison’s government as private interests take root and the will of the people is ignored in all places but elections.
Madison begins perhaps the most famous of the Federalist papers by stating that one of the strongest arguments in favor of the Constitution is the fact that it establishes a government capable of controlling the violence and damage caused by factions. Madison defines that factions are groups of people who gather together to protect and promote their special economic interests and political opinions. Although these factions are at odds with each other, they frequently work against the public interests, and infringe upon the rights of others.
The Federalist Papers written by Alexander Hamilton, argues that for the US to succeed it needs to become a Union with a centralized government and must become a confederation in order to succeed. He makes a strong logical argument and I ultimately feel he was correct and I am very thankful that he and many others made sure we did not become a confederation. In the seventh paper of the Federalist Papers his main points are that confederations are weaker militarily, trade over multiple confederations will make trading difficult across states, and national debts such as the money owed after revolution are very hard to repay. These reasons are some of the major points why America would not have succeeded as a confederation.
“If men were angels, no government would be necessary” (Madison, Federalist No. 51), said Madison in Federalist 51 In Federalist No. 51. This quote basically says everything about Madison’s political theory and how he felt the country should have been ran. In federalist No. 10, Madison stood for the republican government that was proposed by the constitution. He states that the only way to control factions within states is to make a representative form of government. Madison states “Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention… as short in their lives as they have been violent in the deaths” (Madison, Federalist No. 10). Madison believes that with democracies come factions, these “special interest groups” as we call them now and with these groups comes unequal balances that they would make in society. Although in Federalist No. 10, Madison mainly argues against having a full democratic government, I believe as we see later that Madison believes in our now present form of government, a two-party system. I believe his true core values were to have the government keep a fair and balanced setting with the whole spectrum of society. In Federalist No. 51, Madison talks about the works of checks and balances and how important it is to the government. I believe Madison’s core values were the fairness and safety of the over all government as a whole. When upholding these standards, he wanted to make sure that the power of the government in future actions was safe and that it was a base to start building upon.
In Federalist No. 10, James Madison stresses that “measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.” Madison philosophized that a large republic, composed of numerous factions capable of competing with each other and the majority must exist in order to avoid tyranny of majority rule.# When Federalist No. 10 was published, the concept of pluralism was not widely used. However, the political theory that is the foundation for United States government was the influential force behind pluralism and its doctrines.
The dangers of faction can somewhat outweigh the good. The framers of the American Constitution feared the power that could possibly come about by organized interest groups. Madison wrote "The public good is disregarded in the conflict of rival factions
who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community." However, the framers believed that interest groups thrived because of freedom, the same privilege that Americans utilize to express their views. Madison saw direct democracy as a danger to individual rights and advocated a representative democracy to protect individual liberty, and the general public from the effects of such inequality in society. Madison says "A pure democracy can admit no cure for the mischief's of faction. A common passion or interest will be felt by a majority
Hence it is, that democracies have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have, in general, been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths."
Madison argued that an enlarged, strengthened national government, far from being the path to despotism its opponents feared, was in fact the surest way to protect freedom and expand the principle of self-govern...
In Federalist Paper Number 10, Madison sees Factions as being inevitable. Humans hold differing opinions and are all living under different circumstances, and are likely to group together with those most like themselves. Some groups of people will attempt to work together to benefit themselves even if it goes against public interests and even if it infringes upon the rights of others. In the Federalist Paper Number 10, Madison feared that Factions could be detrimental to the common good and in order to minimize the effects and control the effects of Factions, the best form of government would be a large republic. According to Madison, to minimize the negative consequences of Factions, they must either be controlled or the causes of Factions must be removed. Since he describes the causes of Factions being the different interests and living conditions between individuals, it can be argued that this solution is not very feasible. It would be impossible to make sure every single person makes the same amount of money, has the same goals, and even goes through similar life experiences. The greatest source of Factions, the deepest and biggest cause of Factions, according to Madison, is the unequal distribution of property. The acquisition of property or lack of property creates class divisions the foster differing interests. Since it is not possible to