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Federalist Paper No.

10

In Essay No. 10, James Madison addressed a popular complaint by the anti-federalists about the

proposed constitution. Anti-federalists were concerned that interest groups would take control over

government. These groups would look out for their best interests, which may not be in the best interest

of the general public.

Madison admitted that these interest groups (factions) did exist and have been a detriment to

other governments. Interest groups existed in the U.S. then and were the main cause of the public

distrust of government. All the same, factions are a necessity and an unavoidable issue if people live and

think freely.

Man is essentially faulty. He may be unreasonable, unwise or selfish. At the very least, a man’s

passions will taint his objectivity. It is only natural that men with varying opinions would divide.

Additionally, rich and poor men would have different views on issues, resulting in two classes.

Therefore, the remedy is not to withdraw liberty, but rather to work with what comes naturally to men.

The main goal of government should be to have all interests considered in policies and

judgements. A true democracy would only be successful with a small group. The more people, the less

control they would have, thereby allowing the majority to oppress the minority. A republic would then

be best for the U.S. The people would elect representatives of the best quality, those who would best be

able to officiate over the public. The key to this particular republic would be in balancing the number of

people with the number of representatives. The constitution breaks this down into local, state, and

federal legislatives to achieve this balance.

A large republic would be even better at controlling factions than a small one, i.e. a union would

be better served than a state. A faction may be able to control a small area, however, the more people

that you govern, the more diverse the opinions will be. Therefore, a faction is more likely to meet with

resistance within a large population. This evens the playing field and works to a greater good for all.
Federalist Paper No. 51

James Madison writes this essay to persuade anti-federalists that a federal government as

outlined would not be too powerful. Admittedly, men would rule by self-interests rather then public

good. A division of power would be needed to put forth a system of checks and balances to avoid such

an issue. The constitution outlines a separation of powers. There would be an executive, a legislative,

and a judicial branch. It would be ideal to have these branches chosen and maintained completely

independently of each other including their salaries. (With some qualifications; The judicial branch

requires a very select people and therefore should be chosen by qualified individuals.)

As in Essay No. 10, Madison reminded readers that men are human and will error in judgement.

The government needs to work with human nature and our propensity to argue. It needs to be able to

control the people as well as itself. The separation of powers would allow for disagreement and

discussions, as well as prevent an overriding control by any one party.

Within a large republic, an absolute separation, although ideal, would not be perfect. The

legislature, representing the vast population would dominate. This would in turn make the executive and

judicial departments too weak. Absolute veto power to the executive branch would likewise provide too

much power. The legislature should be divided in to two separate bodies, one by population and one by

state. Additionally, the people would have two separate governments; state and federal. Each

government, operating independently, would control the other. Likewise, the separate departments in

each government would help to control the government itself. Thus the complex constitution as

proposed provided a “double security” of protection for people’s rights.

The job of the government, according to Madison, was to protect the people from each other.

Unlike a monarchy though, in a large republic the people would hold the power. The numbers and

diversity would be so great that an overpowering majority would be nearly impossible. A central
government with judicial power to hold all groups accountable would be necessary for a federal republic

to thrive in such a large land.