Constitutional Convention: Mistrustful Of Democracy

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Americans in general view America as an ideal democracy in which every citizen has a voice and the views of the public have the power to shape the country. It is somewhat ironic, then, that the Constitutional Convention as a whole was mistrustful of democracy. Perhaps the most prominent holder of this opinion was James Madison, who was very vocal about the oppressive results of majority rule. Madison was of the opinion that the best way to ensure liberty was not leave it in the hands of the general public, but rather to split the federal government and allow each of the resulting branches curtail the power of the others. As Madison said in Federalist No. 51, “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition”. Madison’s views on ambition were integrated into the political structure of the country by limiting democratic citizen participation in government and …show more content…

Madison wrote in Federalist No. 10 that 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.” This belief led the Constitutional Convention to drastically limit popular participation in government action. Even the president is not voted in by popular vote, and is rather selected by electorates, who were themselves originally selected by state legislatures. So essentially, the public would vote for the legislator, who would vote for the electorate, who would finally vote for the president. The justices of the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, are selected by the president and confirmed by congress rather than voted on. The Supreme Court Justices, then, are free to make decisions without fear of losing

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