Federalist Papers Closely Analyze the Language Research Proposal

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Federalist Papers

Closely analyze the language of Madison in "Federalist 51." Why does he place so much emphasis on Congress and the division power? What are his justifications?

In reading over James Madison's "Federalist Paper 51," one of the most striking aspects of Madison's language is that it is strongly characterized by fear -- fear of the power of government, particularly a democratic government to do harm to the nation as a whole by enacting imprudent laws, fear of the tyranny of the majority, and fear of the power of government and popular factions. Despite the popular image of the Founding Fathers as unapologetic democrats, the image that emerges from Madison's words is that of a man who was very cautious about the power of a republican form of government to effectively keep order and protect the rights of all of America's citizens. The government must protect the citizens from themselves, and the government must be designed to protect itself from one branch growing too powerful, in Madison's vision.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Research Proposal on Federalist Papers Closely Analyze the Language of Assignment

Division of powers, according to Madison, is vital to safeguard against the vices of democracy, as well as the powers of autocracy, and one arm or man becoming too powerful. Madison says that there is a paradox to government -- on one hand, it should be of the people, to prevent government becoming too unrepresentative and greedy, yet government is administered by all-too human people, and elected by all-too human people. 'Splitting the difference' seems to be the logical conclusion he arises at to remedy this paradox: "Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions."

Madison believes that no government can be entirely democratic in the way that it is administered or elected. Interestingly, in light of the nation's fixation on the presidency since at least the New Deal, Madison stresses the necessary power of the legislature to check democratic excesses: "but it is not possible to give to each department an equal power of self-defense. In republican government, the legislative authority necessarily predominates." He also believes that the judiciary should not be elected, even though according to republican logic, all branches should be elected in the same manner: 'Some deviations, therefore, from the principle must be admitted. In the constitution of the judiciary department in particular, it might be inexpedient to insist rigorously on the principle [of election]: first, because peculiar qualifications being essential in the members, the primary consideration ought to be to select that mode… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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