Madisonian Politics

Topics: United States Constitution, Federal government of the United States, Politics of the United States Pages: 7 (2571 words) Published: May 13, 2013
James Madison and the Current Context of American Politics
James Madison, one of the founding fathers of America, had a lot of influence over how the American political system worked. Being the author of the constitution he basically set up how the entire government would run. Madison was known for having multiple goals of the Constitution. If he were given the chance to voice his opinion on the current condition of American politics, he would have a lot to say. Madison may not have gotten as much recognition as Jefferson or Hamilton, but he definitely had a lot of influence on how politics in America work.

One of James Madison’s major goals of the Constitution was to be able to control the majorities. He feared the rise of a lower class faction that would negatively impact the American government. In order to prevent that he greatly limited the common people’s say in government. In the Constitution, Madison created a political system in which the people vote on representatives to pursue the common interests of the people in government. His beliefs were that a strong, centralized government would be able to prevent the rise of factions. That belief was shown in Federalist 43 where Madison stated: “…violent factions, the natural offspring of free government.” (Matthews, 72) He greatly feared factions because they could destroy all of the work put in to make America a great up and coming nation. Many Americans feared a strong, centralized, and controlling government after recently breaking away from England and the tyrant King George, but Madison continued to push for the strong, American government. Madison convinced people that no one man would control the government and there would be a balance of power among the branches of government. Along with many other Americans he did not want to find himself in a situation where one man makes all of the decisions in government. He pushed for a government with three branches that had a balance of power between them. There were many safeguards put in to prevent one branch of government from overpowering the others. Madison believed: “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection of human nature that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no governments would be necessary.” (Mathews, 174) He set up a system where it was in people’s interest and legal obligation to keep the branches balanced. It is human nature to try to rise up above others so it is very important to balance powers. Without a balance of power one man could rise to power and it could cause yet another revolution that would set America back many years. Overall, it was Madison’s strong belief that a balanced government would keep America powerful and keep the people content.

Another major belief of Madison was the protection of private property under law. If people cannot have their own property, then they will have nothing to work for. Owning property is the main thing that people strive for, and without anything to strive for they will have no motivation to work hard at all. That is why Madison made sure the Constitution protected private property. Madison also believed that “in a word, as a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights.” (Matthews, 118) It was his belief that people’s rights were just as valuable as their property and therefore must be protected as such. Property is essential to America and must be protected for the people.

Being the author of the Constitution, Madison wanted to see as little change as possible to it. He believed that the Constitution properly laid out a government for America. Also he believed that any changes would make the government appear weak, and it would seem that the...
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