Can Madison’s system save us?

madison I shall not scruple to add, that such an institution (the Senate) may be sometimes necessary as a defense to the people against their own temporary errors and delusions. As the cool and deliberate sense of the community ought, in all governments, and actually will, in all free governments, ultimately prevail over the views of its rulers; so there are particular moments in public affairs when the people, stimulated by some irregular passion, or some illicit advantage, or misled by the artful misrepresentations of interested men, may call for measures which they themselves will afterwards be the most ready to lament and condemn. In these critical moments, how salutary will be the interference of some temperate and respectable body of citizens, in order to check the misguided career, and to suspend the blow meditated by the people against themselves, until reason, justice, and truth can regain their authority over the public mind? What bitter anguish would not the people of Athens have often escaped if their government had contained so provident a safeguard against the tyranny of their own passions? Popular liberty might then have escaped the indelible reproach of decreeing to the same citizens the hemlock on one day and statues on the next.–James Madison, Federalist 63

An interesting discussion of the dangers of Democracy by Caleb Crain:

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/11/07/the-case-against-democracy

http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa63.htm

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About whungerford

* Contributor at NewNY23rd.com where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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3 Responses to Can Madison’s system save us?

  1. catkestler says:

    Thank you, William for your insight. We must remain #StrongerTogether.

  2. Deb Meeker says:

    What ‘measures’ does Madison speak of? Surely not those raised by Republicans and Conservatives in 2012 :
    http://godfatherpolitics.com/according-to-the-declaration-of-independence-it-may-be-time-abolish-our-current-form-government/

    So many legal ways to reverse our apparent choice for any Presidency like Trump, will be tedious and time consuming: repealing Citizens United, stopping gerrymandering, reinstating the Civil Rights Voting Act in it’s entirety, – those and many other brazen edicts that Madison never dreamed of. Or just perhaps, a lawsuit or two that goes badly for the newly anointed King?

  3. groundhum says:

    He at least seems to have anticipated in Federalist #10:

    “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. 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. 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.”

    So, maybe.

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