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James Madison

Even in spite of all the horse-trading and deal-making that went on at the Constitutional Convention, one could reasonably argue that the law of our land was primarily penned by James Madison, fourth President of the United States. A strong believer in the principle of federalism, Madison clearly and concisely made a strong case for a national government in his now-famous essays, Federalist 10 and 51. Throughout these two works, Madison eloquently explains how a large polity and a representative framework remove the deleterious consequences of earlier (Classical) attempts at republics, in that they "refine and enlarge public debate" and mitigate the adverse effects of "factions," or "sinister interests." His case deserves a hearing by those currently aspiring to eliminate many of the powers of the federal government. (If that doesn't work, perhaps they should consider what happened a last time someone advanced a theory of states' rights and nullification.)

It should be noted that modern telecommunications have eroded some of Madison's arguments for large polities. Now, factions can amass regardless of geographical distance -- thus, the size of the polity is of no consequence. This, coupled with the federal sanctioning of factions under the guise of PACS and the slavish devotion of modern representatives to opinion polls, clearly point to a subversion of the Federal process as Madison intended it to work. Hopefully, as we consider anew the problem of faction, we can broach the subject with as much expertise and conviction as Mr. Madison.

Visit Mr. Madison.

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