Skip to comments.Founder's Quotes - Madison from Federalist 63 on the Senate
Posted on 03/05/2009 8:39:31 AM PST by Loud Mime
The people can never wilfully betray their own interests; but they may possibly be betrayed by the representatives of the people; and the danger will be evidently greater where the whole legislative trust is lodged in the hands of one body of men, than where the concurrence of separate and dissimilar bodies is required in every public act.
It adds no small weight to all these considerations, to recollect that history informs us of no long-lived republic which had not a senate. Sparta, Rome, and Carthage are, in fact, the only states to whom that character can be applied. In each of the two first there was a senate for life. The constitution of the senate in the last is less known. Circumstantial evidence makes it probable that it was not different in this particular from the two others. It is at least certain, that it had some quality or other which rendered it an anchor against popular fluctuations; and that a smaller council, drawn out of the senate, was appointed not only for life, but filled up vacancies itself. These examples, though as unfit for the imitation, as they are repugnant to the genius, of America, are, notwithstanding, when compared with the fugitive and turbulent existence of other ancient republics, very instructive proofs of the necessity of some institution that will blend stability with liberty. I am not unaware of the circumstances which distinguish the American from other popular governments, as well ancient as modern; and which render extreme circumspection necessary, in reasoning from the one case to the other. But after allowing due weight to this consideration, it may still be maintained, that there are many points of similitude which render these examples not unworthy of our attention. Many of the defects, as we have seen, which can only be supplied by a senatorial institution, are common to a numerous assembly frequently elected by the people, and to the people themselves. There are others peculiar to the former, which require the control of such an institution. The people can never wilfully betray their own interests; but they may possibly be betrayed by the representatives of the people; and the danger will be evidently greater where the whole legislative trust is lodged in the hands of one body of men, than where the concurrence of separate and dissimilar bodies is required in every public act.
The difference most relied on, between the American and other republics, consists in the principle of representation; which is the pivot on which the former move, and which is supposed to have been unknown to the latter, or at least to the ancient part of them. The use which has been made of this difference, in reasonings contained in former papers, will have shown that I am disposed neither to deny its existence nor to undervalue its importance. I feel the less restraint, therefore, in observing, that the position concerning the ignorance of the ancient governments on the subject of representation, is by no means precisely true in the latitude commonly given to it. Without entering into a disquisition which here would be misplaced, I will refer to a few known facts, in support of what I advance.
The complete version is at the head link.
Founders’ Quotes Ping
Y’all will have a full report when my Jury Duty is completed.
Indeed. A sound argument against the 17th Amendment.
Thanks for the ping. Here in Oklahoma, we’re putting the principal in play. It’s very exciting!
Whether we call them Representatives or Senators, Democrats or Republicans, they are all of the same body of men: professional politicians.
Someone gets it. I’m consistently urging all FReepers to READ The Federalist Papers and after that, The Anti-Federalist Papers.
The Federalist is about the Federal Government.
The Anti-Federalist is about the State Governments.
And shove that Constitution into the face of any liberal or DemocRat you meet.
So, mr. liberal, you know more about Hitler than you
do about our Constitution?
The interesting thing is that the Legislature’s Democrats are trying to vest their branch of government with law enforcement authority.
Maybe they can replace the Congress, the Supreme Court Building, and the White House with one giant mosh pit and have them all fight it out for who gets to do what to whom.