All Academic, Inc. Research Logo

Info/CitationFAQResearchAll Academic Inc.
Document

James Madison, Executive Power, and the Question of Consistency
Unformatted Document Text:  common interest or passion.” Once that happens, “the rights of the minority are in danger” of being trampled on by the majority. 6 Madison rhetorically asked the convention, “What motives” would “restrain” a passionate majority from abusing the minority once they had the reigns of government in their hand? Experience, he contended had proven that the maxim “honesty is the best policy” could not control a passionate majority bent on depriving others of their private rights. Nor would “respect for character” or even “Religion” prevent an “interested” factions from oppressing the minority. Echoing the faculty psychology he had imbibed at Princeton, he warned the convention, “Conscience, the only remaining tie, known to be inadequate in individuals, in large numbers little is to be expected…The only remedy,” he declared, “ is to enlarge the sphere & thereby divide the community into so great a number of interests & parties, that in the 1 st place a majority will not be likely at the same moment to have a common interest separate from the whole or of the minority, and in the 2 nd place, that in case they should have such an interest, they may not be apt to unite in the pursuit of it.” 7 In Federalist #51, when the Father of the Constitution explained to New Yorkers how the mechanisms of the proposed Constitution would check the tendency of one branch of government to absorb the powers of the other branches, and then tyrannize the citizenry, he again referenced his pessimism about human nature. “The greatest security” he declared, “against the gradual concentration of several powers in the same department consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachment of the others.” Madison was not counting on the virtuous character of the office holders to respect the boundaries of their offices, but on their “personal motives to resist encroachment of the others.” He proclaimed, “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place.” He admitted that for such “devices” to “be necessary to control the abuses of government” was “a reflection on human nature.” 8 6 James Madison, “Madison Speech,” Wednesday, June 6, 1787, in Records of the Federal Convention, hereafter cited as RFC, edited by Max Farrand (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1911),1: 134-136. 7 Ibid. 8 James Madison, “Federalist #51,” in The Federalist Papers (New York: Mentor Books, First Mentor Printing, 1961), 321-322. 6

Authors: Edwards, Gregory.
first   previous   Page 6 of 34   next   last



background image
common interest or passion.” Once that happens, “the rights of the minority are in danger” of being trampled on by
the majority.
Madison rhetorically asked the convention, “What motives” would “restrain” a passionate majority from
abusing the minority once they had the reigns of government in their hand? Experience, he contended had proven
that the maxim “honesty is the best policy” could not control a passionate majority bent on depriving others of their
private rights. Nor would “respect for character” or even “Religion” prevent an “interested” factions from
oppressing the minority. Echoing the faculty psychology he had imbibed at Princeton, he warned the convention,
“Conscience, the only remaining tie, known to be inadequate in individuals, in large numbers little is to be
expected…The only remedy,” he declared, “ is to enlarge the sphere & thereby divide the community into so great a
number of interests & parties, that in the 1
st
place a majority will not be likely at the same moment to have a
common interest separate from the whole or of the minority, and in the 2
nd
place, that in case they should have such
an interest, they may not be apt to unite in the pursuit of it.”
In Federalist #51, when the Father of the Constitution explained to New Yorkers how the mechanisms of
the proposed Constitution would check the tendency of one branch of government to absorb the powers of the other
branches, and then tyrannize the citizenry, he again referenced his pessimism about human nature. “The greatest
security” he declared, “against the gradual concentration of several powers in the same department consists in
giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist
encroachment of the others.” Madison was not counting on the virtuous character of the office holders to respect the
boundaries of their offices, but on their “personal motives to resist encroachment of the others.” He proclaimed,
“Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional
rights of the place.” He admitted that for such “devices” to “be necessary to control the abuses of government” was
“a reflection on human nature.”
6
James Madison, “Madison Speech,” Wednesday, June 6, 1787, in Records of the Federal Convention, hereafter
cited as RFC, edited by Max Farrand (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1911),1: 134-136.
7
Ibid.
8
James Madison, “Federalist #51,” in The Federalist Papers (New York: Mentor Books, First Mentor Printing,
1961), 321-322.
6


Convention
All Academic Convention is the premier solution for your association's abstract management solutions needs.
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 6 of 34   next   last

©2012 All Academic, Inc.