All Academic, Inc. Research Logo

Info/CitationFAQResearchAll Academic Inc.
Document

James Madison, Executive Power, and the Question of Consistency
Unformatted Document Text:  dictates of nature.” Witherspoon contended that it was instead the “fruit and evidence of” human nature’s “departure from its original purity.” 4 In order to describe both “the original purity” (what God intended for humanity) and the present state of depravity, Witherspoon utilized Faculty Psychology. The word faculty is derived from the Latin word for power. Therefore, Faculty psychology is the study of the various powers of human nature and their interplay. Faculty Psychology had its roots in Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics and was used by medieval scholastics such as St. Thomas Aquinas, the Protestant Reformers, and Enlightenment philosophers. Witherspoon’s employment of Faculty Psychology represented the synthesis of classical and Christian thought modified by the Enlightenment. 5 Like Christian moral philosophers before him Witherspoon ordered human faculties hierarchically. Some powers of human nature were higher and closer to God. Others were lower and closer to the animals. As in all hierarchies the higher powers are meant to rule. Originally, before the “fall” of Adam, human reason ruled over human passions. The Calvinist John Witherspoon accepted the common explanation that at the “Fall” human reason became subjugated to our inordinate passions. God created our affections and like all creation they were “good,” until they became enflamed by sin. Then they overpowered and dethroned reason in the human psyche. Consequently, although humans, rationally understood what their moral duty was, they rarely did it. Instead their passions enslaved them to avarice, ambition, lust, jealousy, and gluttony. A cursory glance at Madison’s speeches, letters, and political tracts, lends credence to the claims of political scientists and historians who assert that Witherspoon laid the Calvinistic foundation to James Madison’s political thought. On June 6, 1788, in a speech to the delegates of the Federal Convention, Madison introduced his famous diagnosis and prescription for curing the bane of faction in a republic. “All civilized societies…” Madison declared, “divided into different sects, factions, & interests, as they happened to consist of rich & poor, debtor & creditor, the landed, the manufacturing, the commercial interests...the followers of this political leader, the disciples of this religious sect, or that religious sect.” The problem arises for republics when “a majority is united by a 4 John Witherspoon, Lectures on Moral Philosophy, edited by Varnum L. Collins (AMS Press, 1992), 66-68. 5 Daniel W. Howe, “The Political Psychology of the Federalist,” WMQ 44 (1987): 485-509. 5

Authors: Edwards, Gregory.
first   previous   Page 5 of 34   next   last



background image
dictates of nature.” Witherspoon contended that it was instead the “fruit and evidence of” human nature’s
“departure from its original purity.”
In order to describe both “the original purity” (what God intended for humanity) and the present state of
depravity, Witherspoon utilized Faculty Psychology. The word faculty is derived from the Latin word for power.
Therefore, Faculty psychology is the study of the various powers of human nature and their interplay. Faculty
Psychology had its roots in Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics and was used by medieval scholastics such as St.
Thomas Aquinas, the Protestant Reformers, and Enlightenment philosophers. Witherspoon’s employment of Faculty
Psychology represented the synthesis of classical and Christian thought modified by the Enlightenment.
Like Christian moral philosophers before him Witherspoon ordered human faculties hierarchically. Some
powers of human nature were higher and closer to God. Others were lower and closer to the animals. As in all
hierarchies the higher powers are meant to rule. Originally, before the “fall” of Adam, human reason ruled over
human passions. The Calvinist John Witherspoon accepted the common explanation that at the “Fall” human reason
became subjugated to our inordinate passions. God created our affections and like all creation they were “good,”
until they became enflamed by sin. Then they overpowered and dethroned reason in the human psyche.
Consequently, although humans, rationally understood what their moral duty was, they rarely did it. Instead their
passions enslaved them to avarice, ambition, lust, jealousy, and gluttony.
A cursory glance at Madison’s speeches, letters, and political tracts, lends credence to the claims of
political scientists and historians who assert that Witherspoon laid the Calvinistic foundation to James Madison’s
political thought. On June 6, 1788, in a speech to the delegates of the Federal Convention, Madison introduced his
famous diagnosis and prescription for curing the bane of faction in a republic. “All civilized societies…” Madison
declared, “divided into different sects, factions, & interests, as they happened to consist of rich & poor, debtor &
creditor, the landed, the manufacturing, the commercial interests...the followers of this political leader, the disciples
of this religious sect, or that religious sect.” The problem arises for republics when “a majority is united by a
4
John Witherspoon, Lectures on Moral Philosophy, edited by Varnum L. Collins (AMS Press, 1992), 66-68.
5
Daniel W. Howe, “The Political Psychology of the Federalist,” WMQ 44 (1987): 485-509.
5


Convention
All Academic Convention can solve the abstract management needs for any association's annual meeting.
Submission - Custom fields, multiple submission types, tracks, audio visual, multiple upload formats, automatic conversion to pdf.
Review - Peer Review, Bulk reviewer assignment, bulk emails, ranking, z-score statistics, and multiple worksheets!
Reports - Many standard and custom reports generated while you wait. Print programs with participant indexes, event grids, and more!
Scheduling - Flexible and convenient grid scheduling within rooms and buildings. Conflict checking and advanced filtering.
Communication - Bulk email tools to help your administrators send reminders and responses. Use form letters, a message center, and much more!
Management - Search tools, duplicate people management, editing tools, submission transfers, many tools to manage a variety of conference management headaches!
Click here for more information.

first   previous   Page 5 of 34   next   last

©2012 All Academic, Inc.