Skip Nav

Primary Documents in American History

James Madison – The Federalist Papers (selected quotes)

❶Jones , U.

The Federalist Papers

Navigation menu
James Madison – Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments (1785)
Space details

Madison concludes that the damage caused by faction can be limited only by controlling its effects. He then argues that the only problem comes from majority factions because the principle of popular sovereignty should prevent minority factions from gaining power. Madison offers two ways to check majority factions: Madison states, "The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man", [19] so the cure is to control their effects.

He makes an argument on how this is not possible in a pure democracy but possible in a republic. With pure democracy, he means a system in which every citizen votes directly for laws, and, with republic, he intends a society in which citizens elect a small body of representatives who then vote for laws. He indicates that the voice of the people pronounced by a body of representatives is more conformable to the interest of the community, since, again, common people's decisions are affected by their self-interest.

He then makes an argument in favor of a large republic against a small republic for the choice of "fit characters" [20] to represent the public's voice. In a large republic, where the number of voters and candidates is greater, the probability to elect competent representatives is broader.

The voters have a wider option. In a small republic, it would also be easier for the candidates to fool the voters but more difficult in a large one. The last argument Madison makes in favor of a large republic is that as, in a small republic, there will be a lower variety of interests and parties, a majority will more frequently be found.

The number of participants of that majority will be lower, and, since they live in a more limited territory, it would be easier for them to agree and work together for the accomplishment of their ideas. While in a large republic the variety of interests will be greater so to make it harder to find a majority.

Even if there is a majority, it would be harder for them to work together because of the large number of people and the fact they are spread out in a wider territory. A republic, Madison writes, is different from a democracy because its government is placed in the hands of delegates, and, as a result of this, it can be extended over a larger area.

The idea is that, in a large republic, there will be more "fit characters" to choose from for each delegate. Also, the fact that each representative is chosen from a larger constituency should make the "vicious arts" of electioneering [21] a reference to rhetoric less effective.

For instance, in a large republic, a corrupt delegate would need to bribe many more people in order to win an election than in a small republic. Also, in a republic, the delegates both filter and refine the many demands of the people so as to prevent the type of frivolous claims that impede purely democratic governments.

Though Madison argued for a large and diverse republic, the writers of the Federalist Papers recognized the need for a balance. They wanted a republic diverse enough to prevent faction but with enough commonality to maintain cohesion among the states. He notes that if constituencies are too large, the representatives will be "too little acquainted with all their local circumstances and lesser interests".

No matter how large the constituencies of federal representatives, local matters will be looked after by state and local officials with naturally smaller constituencies. The Anti-Federalists vigorously contested the notion that a republic of diverse interests could survive. The author Cato another pseudonym, most likely that of George Clinton [24] summarized the Anti-Federalist position in the article Cato no.

Whoever seriously considers the immense extent of territory comprehended within the limits of the United States, with the variety of its climates, productions, and commerce, the difference of extent, and number of inhabitants in all; the dissimilitude of interest, morals, and policies, in almost every one, will receive it as an intuitive truth, that a consolidated republican form of government therein, can never form a perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to you and your posterity, for to these objects it must be directed: Generally, it was their position that republics about the size of the individual states could survive, but that a republic on the size of the Union would fail.

A particular point in support of this was that most of the states were focused on one industry—to generalize, commerce and shipping in the northern states and plantation farming in the southern.

The Anti-Federalist belief that the wide disparity in the economic interests of the various states would lead to controversy was perhaps realized in the American Civil War , which some scholars attribute to this disparity. The discussion of the ideal size for the republic was not limited to the options of individual states or encompassing union. In a letter to Richard Price , Benjamin Rush noted that "Some of our enlightened men who begin to despair of a more complete union of the States in Congress have secretly proposed an Eastern, Middle, and Southern Confederacy, to be united by an alliance offensive and defensive".

In making their arguments, the Anti-Federalists appealed to both historical and theoretic evidence. On the theoretical side, they leaned heavily on the work of Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu.

The Anti-Federalists Brutus and Cato both quoted Montesquieu on the issue of the ideal size of a republic, citing his statement in The Spirit of the Laws that:. It is natural to a republic to have only a small territory, otherwise it cannot long subsist. In a large republic there are men of large fortunes, and consequently of less moderation; there are trusts too great to be placed in any single subject; he has interest of his own; he soon begins to think that he may be happy, great and glorious, by oppressing his fellow citizens; and that he may raise himself to grandeur on the ruins of his country.

In a large republic, the public good is sacrificed to a thousand views; it is subordinate to exceptions, and depends on accidents. In a small one, the interest of the public is easier perceived, better understood, and more within the reach of every citizen; abuses are of less extent, and of course are less protected.

Greece and Rome were looked to as model republics throughout this debate, [31] and authors on both sides took Roman pseudonyms. Brutus points out that the Greek and Roman states were small, whereas the U. He also points out that the expansion of these republics resulted in a transition from free government to tyranny.

In the first century of the American republic, No. For instance, in Democracy in America , Alexis de Tocqueville refers specifically to more than fifty of the essays, but No. News and World Report , No. The historian Charles A. Beard identified Federalist No.

In his book An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States , Beard argued that Madison produced a detailed explanation of the economic factors that lay behind the creation of the Constitution.

At the outset of his study, Beard makes his point when he writes that Madison provided "a masterly statement of the theory of economic determinism in politics" Beard , p. Later in his study, Beard repeated his point, only providing more emphasis.

Douglass Adair attributes the increased interest in the tenth number to Charles A. Beard 's book An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution , published in Adair also contends that Beard's selective focus on the issue of class struggle , and his political progressivism , has colored modern scholarship on the essay.

According to Adair, Beard reads No. Garry Wills is a noted critic of Madison's argument in Federalist No. In his book Explaining America , he adopts the position of Robert Dahl in arguing that Madison's framework does not necessarily enhance the protections of minorities or ensure the common good. But these weapons for delay are given to the minority irrespective of its factious or nonfactious character; and they can be used against the majority irrespective of its factious or nonfactious character.

What Madison prevents is not faction, but action. I entirely concur in the propriety of resorting to the sense in which the Constitution was accepted and ratified by the nation. In that sense alone it is the legitimate Constitution.

And if that be not the guide in expounding it, there can be no security for a consistent and stable, more than for a faithful exercise of its powers. If the meaning of the text be sought in the changeable meaning of the words composing it, it is evident that the shape and attributes of the Government must partake of the changes to which the words and phrases of all living languages are constantly subject.

What a metamorphosis would be produced in the code of law if all its ancient phraseology were to be taken in its modern sense! A popular Government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.

The belief in a God All Powerful wise and good, is so essential to the moral order of the world and to the happiness of man, that arguments which enforce it cannot be drawn from too many sources nor adapted with too much solicitude to the different characters and capacities to be impressed with it.

To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators. Besides the danger of a direct mixture of religion and civil government, there is an evil which ought to be guarded against in the indefinite accumulation of property from the capacity of holding it in perpetuity by ecclesiastical corporations.

The establishment of the chaplainship in Congress is a palpable violation of equal rights as well as of Constitutional principles. The danger of silent accumulations and encroachments by ecclesiastical bodies has not sufficiently engaged attention in the U. This right is in its nature an unalienable right. It is unalienable; because the opinions of men, depending only on the evidence contemplated by their own minds, cannot follow the dictates of other men: It is unalienable also; because what is here a right towards men, is a duty towards the Creator.

It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage, and such only, as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent both in order of time and degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society. Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe: And if a member of Civil Society, who enters into any subordinate Association, must always do it with a reservation of his duty to the general authority; much more must every man who becomes a member of any particular Civil Society, do it with a saving of his allegiance to the Universal Sovereign.

True it is, that no other rule exists, by which any question which may divide a Society, can be ultimately determined, but the will of the majority; but it is also true, that the majority may trespass on the rights of the minority. The free men of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise, and entangled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle.

We revere this lesson too much soon to forget it. Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other Sects?

It is moreover to weaken in those who profess this Religion a pious confidence in its innate excellence and the patronage of its Author; and to foster in those who still reject it, a suspicion that its friends are too conscious of its fallacies to trust it to its own merits. Title Page of The Federalist vol. The Federalist Papers were a series of eighty-five essays urging the citizens of New York to ratify the new United States Constitution.

Written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, the essays originally appeared anonymously in New York newspapers in and under the pen name "Publius. A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: Congressional Documents and Debates, This collection contains congressional publications from to , including debates, bills, laws, and journals. Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, to This collection contains documents relating to the work of Congress and the drafting and ratification of the Constitution.

The complete George Washington Papers collection from the Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress consists of approximately 65, documents. Search Washington's papers using the word "Publius" to locate additional documents related to the Federalist Papers.

James Madison Papers, to James Madison is one of 23 presidents whose papers are held in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress. The Madison Papers consist of approximately 12, items. Search the Madison papers using terms such as "Publius" or "Federalist" to locate additional documents related to this topic.

Federalist Papers Authored by James Madison

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

Founding Fathers Home Page > Federalist Papers > Federalist Papers Authored by James Madison James Madison, Fourth President of the United States. Lithograph after an original painting by Gilbert Stuart.

Privacy FAQs

Find out more about the history of Federalist Papers, including videos, interesting articles, pictures, historical features and more. Get all the facts on haiglocporkra.tk James Madison, and John.

About Our Ads

This web-friendly presentation of the original text of the Federalist Papers (also known as The Federalist) was obtained from the e-text archives of Project Gutenberg. For more information, see About the Federalist Papers. No. Title. Author. Publication. Author: James Madison. The Federalist Papers are a series of 85 essays arguing in support of the United States haiglocporkra.tkder Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay were the authors behind the pieces, and the three men wrote collectively under the name of Publius.. Seventy-seven of the essays were published as a series in The Independent Journal, The New .

Cookie Info

The Federalist Papers were a series of eighty-five essays urging the citizens of New York to ratify the new United States Constitution. Written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, the essays originally appeared anonymously in New York newspapers in and under the pen name. The Federalist (later known as The Federalist Papers) is a collection of 85 articles and essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay under the pseudonym "Publius" to promote the ratification of the United States Constitution.