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FReeper Book Club: The Debate over the Constitution, Federalist #10
A Publius/Billthedrill Essay | 5 April 2010 | Publius & Billthedrill

Posted on 04/05/2010 8:13:00 AM PDT by Publius

Madison Enters the Fray

The tone of the argument changes. Hamilton is the brilliant raconteur and legal thinker, and Madison is the earnest professor of history.

After Shays’ Rebellion, Madison sat down and wrote a scholarly paper titled “Vices of the Political System of the United States”, known by historians today as “Madison’s Vices”, which would have prompted a giggle from the man himself. James Madison was a man of abstemious habits who did not smoke and drank only in moderation with meals. If one wanted a dinner guest who could charm a room with his repartee and sing old songs in a fine baritone voice, one would invite Hamilton. If one wanted a spirited discussion of history and a heart-to-heart talk with a friend, one would invite Madison. The two were fascinatingly different men.

Like the pedant, Madison takes great pains to define his terms, and this paper could be the text for the opening lecture in a class titled “Forms of Government 101". Madison’s class at the time was the voters of New York, but today his classroom is the world.

Federalist #10

The Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection (Part 2 of 2)

James Madison, 23 November 1787

1 To the People of the State of New York:

***

2 Among the numerous advantages promised by a well constructed union, none deserves to be more accurately developed than its tendency to break and control the violence of faction.

3 The friend of popular governments never finds himself so much alarmed for their character and fate as when he contemplates their propensity to this dangerous vice.

4 He will not fail, therefore, to set a due value on any plan which, without violating the principles to which he is attached, provides a proper cure for it.

5 The instability, injustice and confusion introduced into the public councils have in truth been the mortal diseases under which popular governments have everywhere perished, as they continue to be the favorite and fruitful topics from which the adversaries to liberty derive their most specious declamations.

6 The valuable improvements made by the American constitutions on the popular models, both ancient and modern, cannot certainly be too much admired, but it would be an unwarrantable partiality to contend that they have as effectually obviated the danger on this side as was wished and expected.

7 Complaints are everywhere heard from our most considerate and virtuous citizens, equally the friends of public and private faith, and of public and personal liberty, that our governments are too unstable, that the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties, and 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.

8 However anxiously we may wish that these complaints had no foundation, the evidence of known facts will not permit us to deny that they are in some degree true.

9 It will be found, indeed, on a candid review of our situation that some of the distresses under which we labor have been erroneously charged on the operation of our governments, but it will be found at the same time that other causes will not alone account for many of our heaviest misfortunes, and particularly for that prevailing and increasing distrust of public engagements and alarm for private rights which are echoed from one end of the continent to the other.

10 These must be chiefly, if not wholly, effects of the unsteadiness and injustice with which a factious spirit has tainted our public administrations.

***

11 By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, 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.

***

12 There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects.

***

13 There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction: the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions and the same interests.

***

14 It could never be more truly said than of the first remedy that it was worse than the disease.

15 Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires.

16 But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.

***

17 The second expedient is as impracticable as the first would be unwise.

18 As long as the reason of man continues fallible and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed.

19 As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other, and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves.

20 The diversity in the faculties of men from which the rights of property originate is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests.

21 The protection of these faculties is the first object of government.

22 From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results, and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties.

***

23 The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man, and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity according to the different circumstances of civil society.

24 A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power, or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have in turn divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good.

25 So strong is this propensity of mankind to fall into mutual animosities that where no substantial occasion presents itself, the most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to kindle their unfriendly passions and excite their most violent conflicts.

26 But the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property.

27 Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society.

28 Those who are creditors, and those who are debtors, fall under a like discrimination.

29 A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, with many lesser interests, grow up of necessity in civilized nations and divide them into different classes actuated by different sentiments and views.

30 The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government.

***

31 No man is allowed to be a judge in his own cause because his interest would certainly bias his judgment and, not improbably, corrupt his integrity.

32 With equal – nay, with greater – reason, a body of men are unfit to be both judges and parties at the same time, yet what are many of the most important acts of legislation but so many judicial determinations not indeed concerning the rights of single persons, but concerning the rights of large bodies of citizens?

33 And what are the different classes of legislators but advocates and parties to the causes which they determine?

34 Is a law proposed concerning private debts?

35 It is a question to which the creditors are parties on one side and the debtors on the other.

36 Justice ought to hold the balance between them.

37 Yet the parties are, and must be, themselves the judges, and the most numerous party, or in other words, the most powerful faction, must be expected to prevail.

38 Shall domestic manufactures be encouraged, and in what degree, by restrictions on foreign manufactures are questions which would be differently decided by the landed and the manufacturing classes and probably by neither with a sole regard to justice and the public good.

39 The apportionment of taxes on the various descriptions of property is an act which seems to require the most exact impartiality, yet there is perhaps no legislative act in which greater opportunity and temptation are given to a predominant party to trample on the rules of justice.

40 Every shilling with which they overburden the inferior number is a shilling saved to their own pockets.

***

41 It is in vain to say that enlightened statesmen will be able to adjust these clashing interests and render them all subservient to the public good.

42 Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm.

43 Nor in many cases can such an adjustment be made at all without taking into view indirect and remote considerations which will rarely prevail over the immediate interest which one party may find in disregarding the rights of another or the good of the whole.

***

44 The inference to which we are brought is that the causes of faction cannot be removed, and that relief is only to be sought in the means of controlling its effects.

***

45 If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is supplied by the republican principle which enables the majority to defeat its sinister views by regular vote.

46 It may clog the administration, it may convulse the society, but it will be unable to execute and mask its violence under the forms of the Constitution.

47 When a majority is included in a faction, the form of popular government, on the other hand, enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other citizens.

48 To secure the public good and private rights against the danger of such a faction, and at the same time to preserve the spirit and the form of popular government, is then the great object to which our inquiries are directed.

49 Let me add that it is the great desideratum by which this form of government can be rescued from the opprobrium under which it has so long labored and be recommended to the esteem and adoption of mankind.

***

50 By what means is this object attainable?

51 Evidently by one of two only.

52 Either the existence of the same passion or interest in a majority at the same time must be prevented, or the majority, having such coexistent passion or interest, must be rendered by their number and local situation unable to concert and carry into effect schemes of oppression.

53 If the impulse and the opportunity be suffered to coincide, we well know that neither moral nor religious motives can be relied on as an adequate control.

54 They are not found to be such on the injustice and violence of individuals, and lose their efficacy in proportion to the number combined together, that is, in proportion as their efficacy becomes needful.

***

55 From this view of the subject it may be concluded that a pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction.

56 A common passion or interest will in almost every case be felt by a majority of the whole, a communication and concert result from the form of government itself, and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual.

57 Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention, 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.

58 Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would at the same time be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions and their passions.

***

59 A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect and promises the cure for which we are seeking.

60 Let us examine the points in which it varies from pure democracy, and we shall comprehend both the nature of the cure and the efficacy which it must derive from the Union.

***

61 The two great points of difference between a democracy and a republic are: first, the delegation of the government in the latter to a small number of citizens elected by the rest; secondly, the greater number of citizens and greater sphere of country over which the latter may be extended.

***

62 The effect of the first difference is, on the one hand, to refine and enlarge the public views by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations.

63 Under such a regulation, it may well happen that the public voice pronounced by the representatives of the people will be more consonant to the public good than if pronounced by the people themselves, convened for the purpose.

64 On the other hand, the effect may be inverted.

65 Men of factious tempers, of local prejudices, or of sinister designs, may, by intrigue, by corruption, or by other means, first obtain the suffrages, and then betray the interests, of the people.

66 The question resulting is whether small or extensive republics are more favorable to the election of proper guardians of the public weal, and it is clearly decided in favor of the latter by two obvious considerations:

***

67 In the first place, it is to be remarked that, however small the republic may be, the representatives must be raised to a certain number in order to guard against the cabals of a few, and that however large it may be, they must be limited to a certain number in order to guard against the confusion of a multitude.

68 Hence, the number of representatives in the two cases not being in proportion to that of the two constituents and being proportionally greater in the small republic, it follows that if the proportion of fit characters be not less in the large than in the small republic, the former will present a greater option and consequently a greater probability of a fit choice.

***

69 In the next place, as each representative will be chosen by a greater number of citizens in the large than in the small republic, it will be more difficult for unworthy candidates to practice with success the vicious arts by which elections are too often carried, and the suffrages of the people being more free will be more likely to center in men who possess the most attractive merit and the most diffusive and established characters.

***

70 It must be confessed that in this, as in most other cases, there is a mean on both sides of which inconveniences will be found to lie.

71 By enlarging too much the number of electors, you render the representatives too little acquainted with all their local circumstances and lesser interests; as by reducing it too much, you render him unduly attached to these and too little fit to comprehend and pursue great and national objects.

72 The federal Constitution forms a happy combination in this respect; the great and aggregate interests being referred to the national, the local and particular to the state legislatures.

***

73 The other point of difference is the greater number of citizens and extent of territory which may be brought within the compass of republican than of democratic government, and it is this circumstance principally which renders factious combinations less to be dreaded in the former than in the latter.

74 The smaller the society, the fewer probably will be the distinct parties and interests composing it; the fewer the distinct parties and interests, the more frequently will a majority be found of the same party; and the smaller the number of individuals composing a majority, and the smaller the compass within which they are placed, the more easily will they concert and execute their plans of oppression.

75 Extend the sphere, and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests; you make it less probable that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens; or if such a common motive exists, it will be more difficult for all who feel it to discover their own strength and to act in unison with each other.

76 Besides other impediments, it may be remarked that where there is a consciousness of unjust or dishonorable purposes, communication is always checked by distrust in proportion to the number whose concurrence is necessary.

***

77 Hence, it clearly appears that the same advantage which a republic has over a democracy in controlling the effects of faction is enjoyed by a large over a small republic, is enjoyed by the Union over the states composing it.

78 Does the advantage consist in the substitution of representatives whose enlightened views and virtuous sentiments render them superior to local prejudices and schemes of injustice?

79 It will not be denied that the representation of the Union will be most likely to possess these requisite endowments.

80 Does it consist in the greater security afforded by a greater variety of parties against the event of any one party being able to outnumber and oppress the rest?

81 In an equal degree does the increased variety of parties comprised within the Union increase this security.

82 Does it, in fine, consist in the greater obstacles opposed to the concert and accomplishment of the secret wishes of an unjust and interested majority?

83 Here, again, the extent of the Union gives it the most palpable advantage.

***

84 The influence of factious leaders may kindle a flame within their particular states but will be unable to spread a general conflagration through the other states.

85 A religious sect may degenerate into a political faction in a part of the Confederacy, but the variety of sects dispersed over the entire face of it must secure the national councils against any danger from that source.

86 A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project, will be less apt to pervade the whole body of the Union than a particular member of it, in the same proportion as such a malady is more likely to taint a particular county or district than an entire state.

***

87 In the extent and proper structure of the Union, therefore, we behold a republican remedy for the diseases most incident to republican government.

88 And according to the degree of pleasure and pride we feel in being republicans ought to be our zeal in cherishing the spirit and supporting the character of Federalists.

Madison’s Critique

Here a shared nom de plume is strained by the radical difference in literary style between the turgid, convoluted cadences of the scholarly Madison and the limpid directness of Hamilton. The Constitution was largely Madison’s text, and one is struck by the methodical precision of his disquisition on the underlying theory. It is not, until the very last, an act of focus, but of dispersion of thought, a patient breakdown of issues into their sub-components and the latter into their own sub-components, a style of analysis that dates back to Niccolo Machiavelli. Machiavelli was as well a scarcely acknowledged source of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s deeply influential The Social Contract. It is very apparent that Madison had read that Renaissance political thinker from more than simply style.

The topic, as it was for Machiavelli, was faction, and Madison's treatment of it shows the influence of the Florentine genius. That faction was a generally negative influence upon the late Roman Empire was a widely accepted proposition for political thinkers of Madison's generation, notably Edward Gibbon, whose great work’s last volume was published in the very year that the War of Independence began. But Machiavelli's topic, both in the Discourses and in the later Florentine Histories, was the earlier era of the Roman Republic, an era perhaps more analogous to Madison's present, an era of coalescing political alignments and the emergence of class identifications and influences between the plebs and the patricians. His case was that faction, properly understood and dealt with, was an influence not only beneficial but vital to the health of representative government. Misconstrued or ignored, it was also potentially deadly.

2 Among the numerous advantages promised by a well constructed union, none deserves to be more accurately developed than its tendency to break and control the violence of faction.

11 By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, 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.

So how does the proposed government, or any theoretical government, deal with this peril? Here Madison's style is most like Machiavelli's, carving the world into constituent categories with a sharpened dialectical knife.

12 There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects.

13 There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction: the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions and the same interests.

This strikes the impatient modern reader as unnecessarily discursive, even pedantic, but the case Madison is making requires an extensive foundation. But what is this?

13 ...by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence...

Liberty, essential to faction? Yes.

15 Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires.

Remove liberty and the problem is solved, but (16) the cure is worse than the disease. How to prevent the roots of faction? By finding unanimity among the citizens? Madison declares it impossible.

19 As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other, and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves.

In practice, one's passions tend not to overcome one's reason, but to subvert it to their purposes. It is an almost casual observation that displays a deep understanding of the human condition.

What else influences faction? Madison states that within a population there will be groups capable of taking advantage of their respective economic circumstances with highly differing success. It is a piece of class analysis that preceded Proudhon and Marx.

24 A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power, or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have in turn divided mankind into parties...

26 But the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property.

29 A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, with many lesser interests, grow up of necessity in civilized nations and divide them into different classes actuated by different sentiments and views.

At last Madison gets to the point.

30 The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government.

“Involves,” not “removes.” Clearly there are limitations not only to what a practical government is expected to accomplish but to what by its very nature it ought even to attempt.

44 The inference to which we are brought is that the causes of faction cannot be removed, and that relief is only to be sought in the means of controlling its effects.

So it is the objective of government, then, to control the effects of faction rather than to try to eliminate their causes. This might not be as easy as it sounds. Small enough, a faction is a pressure group; large enough, a social movement. The former is a minority within the polity, the latter a majority, and the difference is far more than merely academic – the difference is significant to differing degrees within both direct democracies and republics.

45 If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is supplied by the republican principle which enables the majority to defeat its sinister views by regular vote.

And if not:

47 When a majority is included in a faction, the form of popular government, on the other hand, enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other citizens.

That is a problem – that potential tyranny of the majority. It is a problem to which direct democracies are notoriously prone, (55) the Athens of Pericles and Nicias, for example. Smaller republics are prone both to disproportionate effects of minority factions and to the tyranny of the majority (67, 68). There are economies of scale to be enjoyed when the size of the polity provides a smoothing effect (69), but too large and the representatives find themselves removed from the citizens (71). At long last Madison, having found serious fault with all other classic patterns of democratic government, explains that the Constitution offers the advantages of all these models without their disadvantages.

72 The federal Constitution forms a happy combination in this respect; the great and aggregate interests being referred to the national, the local and particular to the state legislatures.

It is a long, dense, methodical, occasionally divergent, and difficult case to follow, but Madison has at last arrived. A government of governments, in his view, is the best guardian against the stress of faction.

77 Hence, it clearly appears that the same advantage which a republic has over a democracy in controlling the effects of faction, is enjoyed by a large over a small republic, [and] is enjoyed by the Union over the states composing it.

It is an advantage that must be built into the system itself for reasons that Madison has already stated.

41 It is in vain to say that enlightened statesmen will be able to adjust these clashing interests and render them all subservient to the public good.

42 Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm.

Nor have they been. Economies of scale imply that damage to the whole may be minimized by localizing the effects of faction.

84 The influence of factious leaders may kindle a flame within their particular states but will be unable to spread a general conflagration through the other states.

85 A religious sect may degenerate into a political faction in a part of the Confederacy, but the variety of sects dispersed over the entire face of it must secure the national councils against any danger from that source.

As well, there is hope that really radical ideas may take more time to convince a large and diverse country.

86 A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project, will be less apt to pervade the whole body of the Union than a particular member of it...

It is good to leave on a humorous note, even if that humor is a bit wry in view of the fact that all of these “improper or wicked” projects remain current controversies within 21st Century politics. Madison, although he could not have intended humor on quite that prescient scale, was still speaking with tongue tucked firmly in cheek – buried in this innocent statement is a dig at his co-author Hamilton, whose enthusiasm for a National Bank was already well known and a source of contention between himself, Madison and Jefferson. Neither Hamilton nor Jefferson was ever to change his mind in the matter. Madison would.

Discussion Topics



TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Free Republic
KEYWORDS: constitution; federalist; federalist10; federalistpapers; freeperbookclub

1 posted on 04/05/2010 8:13:01 AM PDT by Publius
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To: 14themunny; 21stCenturion; 300magnum; A Strict Constructionist; abigail2; AdvisorB; Aggie Mama; ...
Ping! The thread has been posted.

Earlier threads:

FReeper Book Club: The Debate over the Constitution
5 Oct 1787, Centinel #1
6 Oct 1787, James Wilson’s Speech at the State House
8 Oct 1787, Federal Farmer #1
9 Oct 1787, Federal Farmer #2
18 Oct 1787, Brutus #1
22 Oct 1787, John DeWitt #1
27 Oct 1787, John DeWitt #2
27 Oct 1787, Federalist #1
31 Oct 1787, Federalist #2
3 Nov 1787, Federalist #3
5 Nov 1787, John DeWitt #3
7 Nov 1787, Federalist #4
10 Nov 1787, Federalist #5
14 Nov 1787, Federalist #6
15 Nov 1787, Federalist #7
20 Nov 1787, Federalist #8
21 Nov 1787, Federalist #9

2 posted on 04/05/2010 8:14:57 AM PDT by Publius (The prudent man sees the evil and hides himself; the simple pass on and are punished.)
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To: Publius; All

Oh Boy!!! The GREAT Federalist! The must-read of all the essays!

Pass this along you pingers. This is a very important writing!


3 posted on 04/05/2010 8:24:24 AM PDT by Loud Mime (initialpoints.net - - The Constitution as the center of politics)
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To: Publius
ON THE PRESERVATION OF PARTIES, PUBLIC LIBERTY DEPENDS - A Farmer (John Dickinson)

Listed as "Anti-Federalist No. 10" in the Borden Anti-Federalist collection.
4 posted on 04/05/2010 8:33:13 AM PDT by The Pack Knight (Duty, Honor, Country)
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To: Publius
• At 62 through 65, Madison points to the fine results of people electing officeholders who are full of wisdom. What happens when people elect officeholders whose job is to divide up the money pie so as to distribute it to the voters?

Here we have the difference between intelligence and virtue; it is something that Madison failed to cover in this section.

I have long maintained that the easiest way to be stupid is to consider yourself wise, or wiser than others. The cult belief that "Bush is stupid" is the foundation of today's new socialist faction.

The wisdom of today's political leaders is to design a movement that is pure capitalism on their behalf, and socialism to the citizens:


More later

5 posted on 04/05/2010 8:42:50 AM PDT by Loud Mime (initialpoints.net - - The Constitution as the center of politics)
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To: Loud Mime

My personal favorite is Federalist #46, but this one lays out and defines the terms for the rest of the debate. It’s Professor Madison on the first day of school.


6 posted on 04/05/2010 8:46:38 AM PDT by Publius (The prudent man sees the evil and hides himself; the simple pass on and are punished.)
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To: Publius
At 69, Madison argues that the larger size of a republic permits people to find a better class of officeholder. Why did he fail to get this one right?

I don't take it as a given that he did not get that one right. While I am not overly impressed with the general quality of federal officeholder we have today, I am not certain that the quality would be better in a smaller republic.

While I admit that it is far from a perfect analogy, I think we can look to the relative qualities of state vs. federal officerholders throughout recent history for some amount of evidence on this issue. I find it hard to argue that state officers have been of any better quality than federal officers - in fact, I would argue that they are of substantially lesser quality. I would not particularly want the Governor and legislature of my state, North Carolina, in charge in Washington.

I think there are a lot of causes for the general decline in quality of federal officeholder over the life of our republic. I am not convinced that the size of our republic is one of them.
7 posted on 04/05/2010 8:51:11 AM PDT by The Pack Knight (Duty, Honor, Country)
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To: Publius
By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, 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.

I think he just described the modern day democrat party.

8 posted on 04/05/2010 9:02:22 AM PDT by mc5cents
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To: Publius
At 62 through 65, Madison points to the fine results of people electing officeholders who are full of wisdom. What happens when people elect officeholders whose job is to divide up the money pie so as to distribute it to the voters?

I think Madison's response to this would be that the proposed Constitution did not permit Congress to divvy up and distribute federal monies to the voters. His view of the Taxing and Spending Clause was that the Congress's taxing and spending power was limited to spending in support of Congress's other enumerated powers and to fulfill the responsibilities those powers entailed.

Unfortunately for our republic, Hamilton's more plenipotentiary view of the Taxing and Spending Clause has prevailed.
9 posted on 04/05/2010 9:16:19 AM PDT by The Pack Knight (Duty, Honor, Country)
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To: The Pack Knight

I can’t remember the last time I saw plenipotentiary used in a sentence. Thanks.


10 posted on 04/05/2010 9:33:15 AM PDT by mc5cents
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To: Publius

“Faction” being a term in this paper that I am having a little bit of a hard time nailing down its applicability in todays world...

Even though I have an idea, it is so dynamic, that it blurs from time to time when I read through this paper...

Bottom line, I believe our system of government haas outgrown its britches, and due to the corruptions of these “factions”, I believe it is time to scale it back dramatically to reduce, or better yet, reset the system and get us back on track...

Whether the “factions” are in a minority or a majority, their influence has gotten us into this mess...

No one can completely understand it all, and why it has come to this, but I am really believing we need to reset the system, thats all there is to it...And this essay really helps me grasp that idea...


11 posted on 04/05/2010 9:35:24 AM PDT by stevie_d_64 (I'm jus sayin')
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To: The Pack Knight; Publius; Loud Mime
At 69, Madison argues that the larger size of a republic permits people to find a better class of officeholder. Why did he fail to get this one right?

Madison is correct in that the pool is larger but that is no assurance that the quality of officeholder elected will be good. Others have said it FAR better than I so I will just quote them below.

“No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and Virtue is preserved. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders. “

Samuel Adams, letter to James Warren, November 4, 1775

I submit that today knowledge is far from diffused, virtue has become rare, and that we are seeing the exact result predicted by Mr. Adams.

Nothing is more certain than that a general profligacy and corruption of manners make a people ripe for destruction. A good form of government may hold the rotten materials together for some time, but beyond a certain pitch, even the best constitution will be ineffectual, and slavery must ensue.

John Witherspoon, The Dominion of Providence Over the Passions of Men, 1776

Ditto the above.

Nothing so strongly impels a man to regard the interest of his constituents, as the certainty of returning to the general mass of the people, from whence he was taken, where he must participate in their burdens.

George Mason, speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 14, 1778

Possible beginning of a solution?

12 posted on 04/05/2010 9:41:30 AM PDT by Bigun ("It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." Voltaire)
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To: Bigun

I think that’s probably a better explanation. The problem is not the growth in the quantity of the electorate, but rather a decline in the quality of the electorate.

Our elected representatives are, unfortunately, a reflection on their constituents.


13 posted on 04/05/2010 9:46:22 AM PDT by The Pack Knight (Duty, Honor, Country)
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To: The Pack Knight
The problem is not the growth in the quantity of the electorate, but rather a decline in the quality of the electorate.

I heartily agree and would add that the degradation in the quality of the electorate DID NOT happen by accident!

14 posted on 04/05/2010 9:50:31 AM PDT by Bigun ("It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." Voltaire)
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To: Publius
72 The federal Constitution forms a happy combination in this respect; the great and aggregate interests being referred to the national, the local and particular to the state legislatures.

It is a long, dense, methodical, occasionally divergent, and difficult case to follow, but Madison has at last arrived. A government of governments, in his view, is the best guardian against the stress of faction.

I agree with Mr Madison and live for the day when we are again blessed with such a government! Unfortunately we don't currently enjoy anything like it.

15 posted on 04/05/2010 10:40:58 AM PDT by Bigun ("It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." Voltaire)
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To: stevie_d_64

I beleive the enabler of our incredible federal growth has been the effects of the 17th Amendment. I make a case for it in chap 10 of my book....we now have a government that stands in contradiction to the guarantee within Article IV, Section 4.

I know this is an ambitious argument. But, as Madison wrote, ambition must be made to counteract ambition.


16 posted on 04/05/2010 11:11:07 AM PDT by Loud Mime (initialpoints.net - - The Constitution as the center of politics)
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To: The Pack Knight
I find it hard to argue that state officers have been of any better quality than federal officers...

Patrick Henry noticed the same thing in comparing federal officeholders during Washington's two terms and the officeholders of Virginia. This is why, after initially opposing the Constitution, he later embraced it enthusiastically and supported Adams and Hamilton over Jefferson's and Madison's Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions.

17 posted on 04/05/2010 11:44:31 AM PDT by Publius (The prudent man sees the evil and hides himself; the simple pass on and are punished.)
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To: Publius

Sounds like a great idea for another thread!


18 posted on 04/05/2010 11:48:09 AM PDT by Loud Mime (initialpoints.net - - The Constitution as the center of politics)
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To: Loud Mime
I beleive the enabler of our incredible federal growth has been the effects of the 17th Amendment.

I would locate the blame more closely to the 16th Amendment. The 17th may have redirected the focus of Congress, but the 16th gave them the money to do it.

19 posted on 04/05/2010 11:49:39 AM PDT by Publius (The prudent man sees the evil and hides himself; the simple pass on and are punished.)
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To: Loud Mime

After weeks of little response to these threads, suddenly people are geting interested again. Did something happen today that I missed?


20 posted on 04/05/2010 11:50:58 AM PDT by Publius (The prudent man sees the evil and hides himself; the simple pass on and are punished.)
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To: Bigun
The current role of the federal government in directing money to its clients is a large part of the problem. Virtue disappears when people are bribed on a regular basis and made dependent on those bribes. You'll need to shut off the money faucet and knock the people down 5 or 6 pegs before they willingly embrace virtue again.
21 posted on 04/05/2010 11:54:58 AM PDT by Publius (The prudent man sees the evil and hides himself; the simple pass on and are punished.)
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To: stevie_d_64
...but I am really believing we need to reset the system...

If my gut is correct, the coming collapse of the nation's financial structure and the fiat dollar will provide the reset. But there are going to be a lot of people reaching for that reset button, and all of them will have a different idea of what operating system comes up after the reboot.

The possibility of the Blue Screen of Death is chilling.

22 posted on 04/05/2010 11:59:02 AM PDT by Publius (The prudent man sees the evil and hides himself; the simple pass on and are punished.)
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To: Publius

For my part, I’m back to freeping and have some time to devote to these conversations. That could change tomorrow.

The broader answer may be from prior interest. Some students I have talked to said that Fed 10 was the only one covered by their instructor - - or one of the few.

Face it, the Feds are not easy to read, much less to study. I’ve watched people read the stuff - - a few minutes in and they start thumbing through the article to see how long the paper is. What you have here are people who can still study without hitting facebook and youtube for entertainment.

10 was the first fed that I studied.

It is a very important Federalist to many people - - and it relates well to today’s “regime.” Hang on, I believe that we will see increasing interest in these papers.

Again, thanks to you and Bill for your labors!


23 posted on 04/05/2010 12:08:31 PM PDT by Loud Mime (initialpoints.net - - The Constitution as the center of politics)
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To: Publius; Loud Mime
I would locate the blame more closely to the 16th Amendment. The 17th may have redirected the focus of Congress, but the 16th gave them the money to do it.

AMEN! The 16th amendment is, without question, the greatest mistake of the twentieth century at least and perhaps ever! The 17th isn't far behind however since it fundamentally altered the states relationship with the central government and moved us far along the road to the direct democracy our founders rejected out of hand.

24 posted on 04/05/2010 1:17:26 PM PDT by Bigun ("It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." Voltaire)
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To: Publius; stevie_d_64
...there are going to be a lot of people reaching for that reset button, and all of them will have a different idea of what operating system comes up after the reboot.

That is a fact and given the degraded state of the electorate today I'm not sure we can survive the experience as anything like the Republic our founders envisioned!

25 posted on 04/05/2010 1:20:54 PM PDT by Bigun ("It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." Voltaire)
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To: Publius

Here we disagree. It is the argument that wealth causes corruption versus the argument that lack of character causes corruption.

The 16th is overpowered because of the effects of the 17th. No longer can the States restrain the federal efforts to gain total power, no matter how much it cost. The 16th may have been the gun, but the 17th was the ammo.


26 posted on 04/05/2010 1:35:17 PM PDT by Loud Mime (initialpoints.net - - The Constitution as the center of politics)
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To: Publius

The reset button I am thinking is going to be a multi-faceted operation...

It may very well take a total collapse of our government system in response to a catastophic economic collapse...

Both of which we can survive, only if we have the plan to re-constitute the original plan laid out many years ago, and fully understand that those that have cause it might very well be in our midst as well...We need to tread carefully but with conviction and purpose to totally finish the job, there can be no distractions or timidity by those involved, and who support them in that process...

Expectations should be high, but done in a way that everyone is kept on the same page...I believe we are closer to having to implement this than a lot of people think these days...And we had better be ready to get it done...And not wait to do so...

It’s not only going to effect us in this country either...We had better be ready, with plans ready to offer any country effected as well...

I honestly think it’ll work if we do not allow the very people who cause this to yammer us into inaction and chaos!!! This is the most important thing I can think of to avoid in this process...


27 posted on 04/05/2010 1:36:26 PM PDT by stevie_d_64 (I'm jus sayin')
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To: Publius

“The effect of the first difference is, on the one hand, to refine and enlarge the public views by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations.”

Character matters.


28 posted on 04/05/2010 1:50:30 PM PDT by TASMANIANRED (Liberals are educated above their level of intelligence.. Thanks Sr. Angelica)
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To: Bigun

Sorry I didn’t ping you to #27...I thikn that will give you some additional information to what I am thinking about...


29 posted on 04/05/2010 1:53:32 PM PDT by stevie_d_64 (I'm jus sayin')
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To: EdReform

bookmark


30 posted on 04/05/2010 1:55:07 PM PDT by EdReform (Oath Keepers - Guardians of the Republic - Honor your oath - Join us: www.oathkeepers.org)
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To: stevie_d_64
We need to tread carefully but with conviction and purpose to totally finish the job, there can be no distractions or timidity by those involved, and who support them in that process...

I hear you Stevie but that is FAR easier said than done!

31 posted on 04/05/2010 2:08:53 PM PDT by Bigun ("It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." Voltaire)
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To: The Pack Knight
I think there are a lot of causes for the general decline in quality of federal officeholder over the life of our republic.

Ignorance and Vice

"It is high Time for the people of this country to declare, whether they will be freemen or slaves? It is an important question which ought to be decided. It concerns us more that anything in this life. The Salvation of our souls is interested in this event. For wherever tyranny is established immorality of every kind comes in like a torrent. It is in the interest of tyrants to reduce the people to ignorance and vice. For they cannot live in a country where virtue and knowledge prevail. The religion and public liberty of a people are intimately connected; their interests are interwoven, they cannot subsist separately; therefore they rise and fall together. For this reason, it is always observable, that those who are combined to destroy the people's liberties, practice every art to poison their morals. How greatly then does it concern us, at all events, to put a stop to the progress of tyranny." --

Samuel Adams


32 posted on 04/05/2010 6:59:57 PM PDT by itsahoot (Each generation takes to excess, what the previous generation accepted in moderation.)
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To: Publius
blame more closely to the 16th Amendment

The 16th amendment was very likely the motivation for the 17th amendment. I don't think it matters which is the enabler. Both amendments and Woodrow Wilson started America down that long path to socialism and the destruction of the Founder’s vision for America.

Neither amendment added any new government powers. The Congress always had the power to tax. The difference the 16th amendment made was now they could tax the citizen regardless of the enumeration.

The money in the public treasury, however collected, provides Congress the funds to carry out their obligation to legislate only within their constitutionally granted powers. The "Powers herein granted" were the same and no new powers to legislate were added.

Article 1. Section 1. - All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Article 1. Section. 8.- The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare (but only within the herein Powers granted) of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers (and only the foregoing Powers), and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

The 10th amendment makes a great deal of sense when Americans acknowledge the Constitution limits the powers of the federal government. For American socialist who haven’t acknowledged the limited powers of government the 10th amendment must appear as gibberish.

33 posted on 04/09/2010 6:02:35 AM PDT by MosesKnows (Love many, Trust few, and always paddle your own canoe)
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To: stevie_d_64

With regard to “factions,” a re-reading of George Washington’s Farewell Address helps to put it in perspective, especially as pertains to the situation today.


34 posted on 02/18/2011 9:31:49 AM PST by loveliberty2
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To: loveliberty2

I don’t believe he ever thought that “faction” would be such a devisive and significant factor in today’s situation...

This is all going to get real ugly, real fast, if we are not careful...

And I am not sure if anything can be done...We are damned if we do, and most certainly damned if we do not play this hand correctly...


35 posted on 02/18/2011 6:13:43 PM PST by stevie_d_64 (I'm jus' sayin')
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