The Federalist Papers were written to persuade the states to ratify the Constitution. James Madison could read Latin, Greek, French, Italian and Spanish. He had read extensively in these languages about the various forms of government and is often called the father of our constitution. He wrote the Tenth Federalist Paper, “The Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection.”
Madison explained how a federation would, “control the violence of faction.” Today, factions are known as special interest groups. He said that factions were a number of citizens with a cause adverse “to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.”
When a faction included a majority, he believed a government of the people would not be able to contain the passions of the group. He said, “It is in vain to say that enlightened statesmen will be able to adjust these clashing interests, and render them all subservient to the public good.”
Continuing, a republic “promises the cure for which we are seeking.” He went on, “The federal Constitution forms a happy combination in this respect; the great and aggregate interests being referred to the national, the local and particular to the State legislatures.”
The influence of factious leaders may kindle a flame within their particular States, but will be unable to spread a general conflagration through the other States. A religious sect may degenerate into a political faction in a part of the Confederacy; but the variety of sects dispersed over the entire face of it must secure the national councils against any danger from that source. A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project, will be less apt to pervade the whole body of the Union than a particular member of it; in the same proportion as such a malady is more likely to taint a particular county or district, than an entire State.
In the extent and proper structure of the Union, therefore, we behold a republican remedy for the diseases most incident to republican government. And according to the degree of pleasure and pride we feel in being republicans, ought to be our zeal in cherishing the spirit and supporting the character of Federalists.
Today, our country has lost the “proper structure of the Union” by allowing central control. We have Congressmen who legislate unconstitutional laws. They have created hundreds of federal agencies with rulemaking authority. We have had Presidents from both parties who sign unconstitutional laws and preside over these rule making by unconstitutional federal agencies. We have a Supreme Court that rules these laws constitutional by using twisted legal logic such as in Wickard v. Filmore.
Madison warns of this:
From this view of the subject it may be concluded that a pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert result from the form of government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.
To prevent the possibility of a violent death of our republic, we must return to the original intent of our Constitution. We must elect politicians who believe in the federalist principle. If this does not suffice then the states, counties, and cities must refuse to cooperate in the federal government execution of unconstitutional laws.
If you like this article, subscribe to receive email updates when a new article is published.