James Madison’s Federalist 10 was written amid criticisms that a republican form of government had never been successful on a large scale. Madison’s argument was that a well-constructed union could control factions. He argued that in order to control factions from their causes, we would need to either give up liberty or free thought. Since we cannot infringe upon these two natural rights, we must move on to controlling the effects. A republic, Madison argues, would be able to do this because the people choose the representatives, and they choose representatives who they feel best represent their opinions. The representatives would be the voices of their constituents, leaving them with the responsibility of making decisions for the public good.
The Constitution—the foundation of the American government—has been quintessential for the lives of the American people for over 200 years. Without this document America today would not have basic human rights, such as those stated in the Bill of Rights, which includes freedom of speech and religion. To some, the Constitution was an embodiment of the American Revolution, yet others believe that it was a betrayal of the Revolution. I personally believe that the Constitution did betray the Revolution because it did not live up to the ideals of the Revolution, and the views of the Anti-Federalists most closely embodied the “Spirit of ‘76.”
Thomas Jefferson and Niccolo Machiavelli both believe that the actions of the people shape the characteristics of the ruler and define the type of authority that will be held towards the people. Machiavelli, the first great political philosopher of the Renaissance, argues all men are untrustworthy due to their selfish, self-interested and impulsive ways of life in his writing, The Morals of the Prince, and therefore, to keep the people under control the ruler must be prepared to be cruel and instill fear among the people. Opposing Machiavelli is Jefferson. In The Declaration of Independence Jefferson believes people can be trusted since they have the ability to make their own decisions. Whereas Machiavelli supports tyranny, Jefferson believes
Thomas Paine essentially wrote Common Sense for the common man. Being a pamphlet, its structure and simplicity made reading easy for those who were literate. Its minimalism enabled citizens in the colonies to unite under one common cause — independence against Britain. He was inspired by both John Locke’s The Second Treatise of Government as well as Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s On the Social Contract. Each of the philosophies discussed the purpose of government as well as which government was the most ideal. For Paine, government, is “a punisher,” in which society is ruled by in order to protect the properties of one’s natural rights (Paine 3). However, he defends a representative democracy as being the ideal. Likewise, John Locke also argues that governments protect the rights of man. Similarly, to
After a fiercely fought revolution, the newly independent American nation struggled to establish a concrete government amidst an influx of opposing ideologies. Loosely tied together by the Articles of Confederation, the thirteen sovereign states were far from united. As growing schisms in American society became apparent, an array of esteemed, prominent American men united in 1787 to form the basis of the United States government: the Constitution. Among the most eminent members of this convention were Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson. These men, held to an almost godly stature, defined the future of the nation; but were their intentions as honest as they seemed? Joseph J. Ellis’s groundbreaking Founding Brothers
Jefferson was strongly influenced by the belief that all humans have certain rights that cannot be taken away, and that these rights ought to be protected by a government. The resemblance between “the state of nature” and “the Declaration of Independence” are uncanny, Jefferson and Locke are consistently portraying the same ideas whether they mention the transition between the “Law of Nature” to the “Law of a Civil Society” or the concept of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (Jefferson “Declaration of Independence”). The main similarities between the two works are the ideas that mainly focused on equality. However, some major difference that stands out between the two documents are that the Social Contract is based off an agreement between civilians and a higher power, such as a monarchy, where civilians would give up some of their freedom to live in a governed society. While the Declaration of Independence mentions how a monarchy did not protect the rights of the citizens and therefore, developed a government that was based solely on the will of its
The American government acts as the beating heart of the body. The heart allows blood to flow throughout the whole system. Without a heart, blood would remain unable to move as a collective whole. Both authority and its citizens must work simultaneously; one cannot function without the other. Jefferson expands upon the symbiotic relationship and reveals the ideal partnership between the people’s rights and the state. “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” (Jefferson, 1776/2014, para. 2). Authority should not reside over individuals, but with them. A heart cannot run a body alone. Likewise, a government does not operate a nation by itself. Individuals help maintain the justice of authority. To prosper in a just and moral way, America must stand united. Thoreau demonstrates the accountability between the two parties: “The government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted” (Thoreau, 1849/1998, p. 127). The people who compose a nation must not be complacent and inactive. Inactivity prevents progress. Immobile people personify immobile blood. What good is stagnant blood? For the heart to function, the blood must stay in motion, fueling the body. Similarly, Americans’ require a government and their
In this edition of the Federalist papers, Alexander Hamilton stresses over and over again the importance of unity between the states. Without unity, it seems as though our country will cease to exist as we know it. While Hamilton does not come right out and state, we need unity, he does make his point very clear. In using the Constitution as the perfect example of what the United States needed at the time, Hamilton manages to bring everything back to one central theme. We cannot have unity between the states if we do not introduce the Constitution.
The American government that we know today, had many troubles when it first came together when the Constitution was first ratified in 1788. There had been many failed attempts at creating a new and successful government, such as the Articles of Confederation the first plan for the new American government. This proved to be very unsuccessful because the states held all federal power, while the national government had very little. In order to please both the Federalists and the Anti-Federalist, each party agreed to the Constitution with the addition of the Bill of Rights. Documents like the Virginia Declaration of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, and the above documents are heavily influenced by the writings of John Locke, Baron de Montesquieu,
The Federalist No. 10” is a persuasive argument written by James Madison in an attempt to ratify the Constitution. He wrote a series of documents called the Federalist Papers under a pseudonym to convince others to approve of the Constitution. He says that factions are not good for America, neither is a pure democracy. Madison provides extensive arguments and remedies for the problems he is addressing. James Madison is attempting to ratify the Constitution by analyzing the way to deal with factions, comparing a republic to a democracy, and by comparing a small government to a large government.
Following the end of the American Revolution marked a new set of problems for the United States. As impending war debts were threatening to crush the new nation, America knew they needed to address the flaws of the Articles of Confederation through a Constitutional Convention. The United States Constitution of 1787 was created in hopes of developing a stronger and more effective governing body while still upholding America’s virtues of freedom. Unfortunately, with change, comes opposition, and many people feared that the Constitution would be oppressive and undermine the autonomy of the individual states through its strong central government. Because of this, the issues that sparked the greatest controversies during the ratification of the
History is fraught with examples of governments and principles which, in their infancy, were unable to escape controversy and therefore have become the subjects of much political and academic discourse. The Constitutional Convention, convened by the early United States in 1786, is one such example of this phenomena. With two distinct sides arguing very different point, the Constitutional Convention set the stage whereby the longest-lasting written government in the history of the earth would be both drafted and implemented. The Constitutional Convention balanced the desires of both the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists in order to draft, amend, and ratify the Constitution of the United States of America.
While freedom as a concept feels fairly intuitive, nuances in interpretation can change the basis of an argument. John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government and Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America do not define liberty in precisely the same way, which in turn guides two different visions in how a government should function.
Everyone has a perspective of their own about the government whether it be good or bad. Ancient Greek philosopher Plato and English philosopher John Locke both discuss the topic of government in their literatures. In the Republic by Plato, Plato introduces this concept of a just city. In this city, he believes that the older and wisest person(s) should rule as they are very knowledgeable. Everyone is born innately different according to Plato. Only those who are born with true philosophical understanding can rule. In the Second Treatise by John Locke, Locke addresses the state of nature, which is essentially equality and freedom. Even though people have liberty, they still need to obey natural laws. On the contrary of Plato’s just city, Locke believes that absolute authority is not a civil government. A civil society is where the majority rules. In the conclusion of this paper, I will have illustrated that Plato’s government view is more valid than of Locke’s.
At the beginning of U.S. history there were many debates on how the country should be run. People mainly argued about the balance of power between the individual person and the Federal Government. Some people and documents that addressed this issue are the Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson, The U.S. Constitution: Preamble and Bill of Rights, and “Jefferson: The Best of Enemies” by Ron Chernow.