16 February, 2009

Democratic Principles & Federalism (Federalist Papers 9,10, 47-51)

Democratic Principles & Federalism

  • How can Liberties be threatened?
    • From Within- danger from Faction
      • What is a faction?

"By a Faction, I understand a number of citizens, wither amounting to a majority or minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of a passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community." Federalist # 10

  • From Without- Danger from oppressive government
  • What are the solutions to these dangers to liberty?
    • Solution to faction- An extended republic

Federalist 9-10, 51

  • Solution to oppressive government- Slice and dice governmental power

Separation of powers and Federalism

Federalist 47-51, 39

  • Federalist 9
    • Important Aspects of the paper:

The history of past republics has not been good

A solution to the violence and insurrection must be found

Fortunately, there have been improvements to the science of Government

Among them is the enlargement of the orbit

  • List of Improvements

"The regular distribution of power into distinct departments; the introduction of legislative balances and checks; the institution of courts composed of judges holding their offices during good behavior, the representation of the people in the legislative by deputies of their own election" Federalist # 9

  • Federalist 10
    • Important Aspects of the paper:
      • The proposed government had the tendency to break and control the violence of faction
      • The definition of faction is offered
      • Faction seems inevitable and cannot be totally eliminated
      • The most common source of Faction- conflict between the haves and have-nots
      • The extended republic is the key

"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." Federalist #10

"Complaints are everywhere heard from out 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." Federalist #10

"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. " Federalist #10

  • What does Federalist #10 propose as a solution to control for the effects of faction?
    • A: the solution is to be found not in a pure democracy, but a representative republic
    • Democracies have to be small, but representative republics offer two advantages
    • Extended (Large) republics offer two advantages:
      1. Better pool of potential candidates
      2. A greater Varity of interests

"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 it to discover their own strength, and to act in unison with each other." Federalist #10

  • Better Representatives?
    • In a larger territory only men of attractive merit and established character will rise to top and be elected
    • The deliberations of these enlightened statesmen will be better than if the people had deliberated themselves
    • More on this when we talk about Congress

  • Greater variety of interests?
    • The more people you have within a sphere, the greater variety of interests.
    • The greater variety of interests makes it less likely that a majority will form around anything other than the public good (i.e. a conclusion that is in line with the common good or at least not harmful to the minority)

  • Federalist 47
    • Important aspects of the paper:
      • Does the proposed Constitution violates proper separation of powers?
      • How does Publius define tyranny?
        • “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”
      • Does proper separation entail a complete separation of powers between the different branches?
      • Did the British Government or State governments demonstrate complete separation?

  • Federalist 48
    • Important aspects of this paper:
      • Ironically, a proper separation actually entails some kind of connection or blending between the branches
      • Yet, what kind of of blending of powers would be too much as to be an "overruling influence" and how do you prevent this?
      • Will mere words on paper prevent this?
      • What did the Critical Period tell us about the legislative vortex?

  • Federalist 49 & 50
    • Important aspects of these papers:
      • Will the external control of appealing to the people (vial mini-constitutional conventions) be the best way of preventing undue encroachments?
  • Federalist 51
    • Important Aspects of the paper:
      • Seeks to demonstrate that only a properly-structured government possessing the requisite Internal Controls can provide for a proper separation of powers
      • Each branch must have the means and motive to protect its respective powers
      • What does this say about human nature?
      • Does the legislative branch present a special concern for us regarding separation of powers?
      • Here Publius reiterates may of the same points he made in Federalist 10
      • The protection of civil rights will be gained in the same manner in which religious rights are protected- By multiplying the interests (sects )
      • Design a system of government that will police itself against encroachment on powers

1 comment:

  1. How you find ideas for articles, I am always lack of new ideas for articles. Some tips would be great