Federalist What is a faction? Where in modern American politics do we see factions? How does Madison propose to quell the impact of factions in government?
In Federalist 10, James Madison discussed the types of factions, parties and interest groups that result from differences in wealth and property, as well as differences of opinion in religion, politics or ideology. He thought that differences in wealth and rank, at least those not based on birth, were determined by the diversity in faculties or abilities in human beings, and that government had to protect such diversity. Certainly, the two major political parties that exist today have significant differences by social class, religion, race, region and income, although there are also a huge number of factions, associations, lobbyists and interest groups outside of these parties. Factions and parties that did not have a majority would always be outvoted, but a majority party would be far more dangerous. Protecting the republic from the dangers of the most popular faction was "the great object to which our inquiries are directed." Moral and religious restraints would not control such a party, but only a structure or system that kept it disunited and prevented it from becoming oppressive. A direct democracy, which was always local and small scale, would always have a majority faction, which no checks to protect individuals or minority groups. For this reason, democracies have always been chaotic and disorderly, and unable to protect property rights. They generally did not survive long in history and almost always ended in violence. In a republic, though, by which Madison meant a system with representatives, especially when it extended over a large territory, would be more orderly than democracy and secure property rights better for the wealthy minority.
2) Federalist 51: What are the two ways that Hamilton or Madison felt that there could be a check and balance system in the federal government (paragraphs 2 and 6)? Paragraph 8, sentence 4 is an extremely compound, confusing sentence. Yet, it holds much of the significance of the essay. What is the subject of this sentence? Rewrite the sentence by removing the superfluous words, while still explaining the majority/minority breakdown of power. I have pulled the sentence out for you and you can read it below.
According to Federalist 51, ach branch of the federal government should be distinctive and able to stand on its own as a check and balance against the other, which is why for example the president and vice president were intended to be appointed by an electoral college rather than elected, while members of the judiciary received lifetime appointments during good behavior, and could not be removed by the voters or the president, or even by Congress except through the impeachment process. Madison and Hamilton assumed that the legislature would be the dominant branch of the federal government, and so it was until the great expansion of the executive branch in both foreign and domestic affairs in the 20th Century. Their solution to possible legislative tyranny was to divide it into two branches, with only the lower house elected by popular vote while the Senate was appointed by the state legislatures for six-year terms. They also gave the president the power to veto Congress, but not the type of absolute veto that the British royal governors had before the Revolution. Instead, they gave Congress the power to override it with a two-thirds vote, with the intention that the executive and legislative branches would serve as a check on each other. Rewriting paragraph 8, sentence 4 in more modern language would read: "all supporters of a republic should prefer a federal system since it would be more difficult to form oppressive combinations of states or confederations, which would threaten the rights of every group of citizens and the stability of the government." Madison and Hamilton were thinking that the large and extensive territory of the United States would also serve as a check and balance, since there would be so many interest groups, parties, factions and regions that they would find it difficult to combine into a majority to oppress the minority.
3) Federalist 78: How did Hamilton envision the strength of the judicial branch of the government? Where should the government, especially the judicial branch, yield its power? In your opinion, has the judicial branch effectively yielded its power? Support your answer.
Hamilton argued in Federalist 78 that the judiciary as naturally weaker than the legislative of executive branch, and this is obviously the case since it has no power to tax, pass laws or create military and police forces on its own. Congress and the president may be able to attack it or disregard its opinions, so logically safeguards had to be put into place to defend it from attack. He insisted that the courts had to be separated from the legislative and executive branches, which had not always been the case during the colonial period or under the British parliamentary system. For this reason, lifetime tenure doing good behavior would protect federal judges from encroachment by the Congress or the executive branch. In addition, Hamilton also seemed to assume that a type of judicial review would exist, and that federal judges would have the power to overturn all laws that were "contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution." Although he did not intend the judiciary to be superior to the Congress, no legislation that ran contrary to the Constitution could be valid. Prior to the Civil War, though, the federal courts were discrete and restrained in overturning laws, although the Dred Scott decision in 1857 was an exception -- and one that was highly unpopular in the North. After 1865, though, as the country industrialized, the role of the federal courts expanded, including issuing numerous rulings and upholding or overturning laws on a wide variety of matters, including labor issues, corporations, commerce, civil rights, women's issues, cultural issues and the rights of criminal defendants. It became far more effective intervening in all these matters than was probably originally intended, even by advocates of a string, centralized state like Hamilton.
NEXT PART (1 page) Next, read Colin Powell's "Our Obligation as Patriots" Answer the following questions: 1) What does Powell mean that Jefferson and others "were willing to sign away everything... To bring those words to life"? 2) Powell concedes that America is not perfect. What do you see as needing improvement in America (politically) and how could you, as a single citizen, address that need? 3) What do you see as the primary goal of America?
Powell is referring to the fact that Jefferson and the other Founders had to fight a Revolution for eight years against the strongest empire in the world to establish the principle of these natural rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Many were wealthy and powerful men, but had they lost, all the wealth and status in the world would not have saved them from being executed as traitors and rebels, which is the usual fate of those on the losing side of revolutions and civil wars. Therefore, they were literally pledging their lives as soon as they signed their names to the Declaration of Independence, which the British government regarded as treason and sedition.
Powell was correct that there are still flaws and injustices in American society, such as racism, poverty and inequality, and lack of equal educational opportunities for all children. Until this is changed, America will not have achieved its primary goal of equal citizenship and opportunity for every person in this country. In the United States over 75% of blacks still live in segregated neighborhoods that are often crowded, dangerous, lacking in social services, employment and educational opportunities. In fact, these segregated areas are racially profiled and redlined, not only by law enforcement but by banks, insurance companies and other businesses and government agencies. Police do not enforce civil rights and open housing laws in this country, nor do they protect blacks from violence and discrimination if they attempt to move into white areas. Blacks are 12% of the general population but over 40% of the prison population due to biased enforcement of the drug laws and the fact that they are at least 40 times more likely to be stopped and searched than whites. Black children are over nine times more likely to have a parent in prison than whites, and three times more likely to live in single-parent families, and the high number of these is one of the major reasons about half of them live in poverty. All of these factors together lead to higher levels of poverty among blacks, and a higher likelihood of being racially profiled by to police, and thus the cycle of poverty and crime continues. None of this can be changed by any single individual, but only by large groups and organizations working together for social, political and economic change, like the civil rights movement of the 1960s,