Despite dysfunction proliferating the workings of its institutions, the American political system continues to function as originally designed: to limit government control beyond the basic protection of liberty. At face value, the dysfunction of the American political system is guilelessly attributed to party polarization. Yet, political faction, according to James Madison, is not necessarily a bad thing. Instead, he argues in The Federalist that it is an essential and effective feature of a properly structured government. Bessette and Pitney, Jr. support the idea that “strong partisanship…can be healthy for deliberation and democracy” (296). In Federalist 51, Madison suggests that because of human nature’s shortcomings coupled with the opportunity of power through governance, “ambition must be made to counteract ambition” (331). The dysfunction of the American political system is not instituted by political partisanship, it cannot be blamed solely on media actions, and the system of government institutions and functions is not at fault: it is a problem of the political knowledge and character of the citizenry. Madison wrote that “knowledge will forever govern ignorance: and a people who mean to be their own governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives” (Barbour 179). The systematic dysfunction of American politics is underpinned by the weakening of political knowledge and involvement across the population. The dysfunction of the modern political system stems from absence of the leadership that Madison described necessary in the Federalist papers (57). Politics is how citizens govern themselves; it is the method of decision-making used in selecting who will govern. A representative democracy, as established... ... middle of paper ... ..., 2011. Print. Crabtree, Vexen. “The Building Blocks of Democracy.” Democracy: Its Foundation and Modern Challenges. N.p., 2006. Web. 2 Feb. 2012. Diamond, Martin. “The Separation of Powers and the Mixed Regime.” Oxford University Press 8.3 (1978): 33-43. JSTOR. Web. 1 Feb. 2012. Hamilton, Alexander, John Jay, and James Madison. The Federalist. New York, NY: Random House, Inc., 2000. Print. Lemann, Nicholas. “Conflicts of Interests.” The New Yorker. N.p., 2008. Web. 2 Feb. 2012. Mansfield, Harvey C. A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy. Wilmington, Del: ISI Books, 2001. Print. McChesney, Robert W. “Making Media Democratic.” Boston Review. N.p., 1998. Web. 2 Feb. 2012. Plato. “The Republic: Book VII.” MIT Internet Classics Archive. MIT, 360 B.C.E. Web. 1 Feb. 2012. Shapira, Ian. “The Death of Journalism.” The Washington Post. N.p., 2009. Web. 1 Feb. 2012.