Federalist Papers Closely Analyze the Research Proposal

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" However, the legislature, more so than the executive or even the more qualified judiciary must dominate, not because the legislature is more representative, but because, as it the legislature is even further divided into two bodies, this ensures that it will be the least tyrannical.

In short, the less able a branch of government is able to agree within itself, the better -- and the less able the three branches of government can arrive at a uniform consensus, the better, along Madison's way of thinking. Madison's sense of cynicism about men not being 'angels' and his idea that men are even perhaps less angelic when governing over other men runs through the text of "The Federalist 51." Cynicism, and also healthy fear about the power of what might be called the majority 'rabble' to make bad decisions, or to band together into factions and take control over the government: "is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. Different interests necessarily exist in different classes of citizens. If a majority be united by a common interest, the rights of the minority will be insecure." Although Madison did not think in terms of the rights of the enslaved, it is sobering to remember that despite the blemished record of the Founding Fathers regarding slavery, the tyranny of the white majority in the Jim Crow south over African-Americans is one example of how a faction was even more oppressed by the majority of their fellow citizens than even the laws of the land. Madison was prescient in this regard.
One cannot help but wonder, what would Madison think of Washington D.C. today? On one hand, one could say that the difficulty of getting things done in Washington has become even greater, as the massive government bureaucracy of policy and social legislation. But the executive branch has grown far more powerful, and secretive in terms of the operations of unelected branches of government like the CIA and the military. Furthermore, unelected special interest groups like lobbies who represent minority rather than majority special interests now hold sway over government. Although James Madison's elitism and fear about the ability of the un-angelic masses to effectively govern without being stymied by a system of checks and balances may be distasteful to some modern readers, on the other hand many of his fears seem realized in terms of the dangers of one branch or faction growing too powerful -- although these fears were realized in a way that Madison, writing in the 18th century, could not have dreamed possible. Today, the mechanisms of government are both more democratic -- more people can vote, senators are directly elected, for example -- but also less democratic, given the vast expense of running for office, and the sprawling, unelected yet massively powerful bureaucracy of the federal and state governments.

Works Cited

Madison, James. "Federalist Paper 51." Complete E-text available 26 Nov 2008 at http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa51.htm.....

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