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Federalist paper declaration of independence - Essay Example

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Among the many issues raised by the federalist papers, one of the primary concerns continually brought up and debated was the need to balance the needs for democracy against the risk of the tyranny of the majority. Federalist No. 51 and the second paragraph of the Declaration of…
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Download file to see previous pages s not secured against the violence of the stronger; and as, in the latter state, even the stronger individuals are prompted, by the uncertainty of their condition, to submit to a government which may protect the weak as well as themselves; so, in the former state”. Madison is expressing in this last paragraph the dilemma between majority and minority protection. Too much majority protection, and the society is like an anarchy: The strong form coalitions and rule by force, using the state as a narrowly-concealed bludgeon. But with too much protection for the weak, it is inevitable that “hereditary or self-appointed authority” take over, and a “will... independent of society itself” characterized by a social elite will dominate, which is even worse than the majority tyranny leading to the odious state of anarchy.
Madison then argues that Rhode Island, without reform in the manner prescribed by the Federalist Papers and the eventual Constitution, is an example of this risk of majority tyranny. “[I]f the State of Rhode Island was separated from the Confederacy and left to itself, the insecurity of rights under the popular form of government within such narrow limits would be displayed by such reiterated oppressions of factious majorities that some power altogether independent of the people would soon be called for by the voice of the very factions whose misrule had proved the necessity of it”. Thus, Madison is proposing that Rhode Islands governmental form be used as an example to stray away from, lest the Constitution lead to the same risk of anarchy or majority tyranny.
The “will independent of society”, of course, is the risk of going too far away from the pole of majority power, represented by Rhode Island, and towards a regime more like an authoritarian or monarchic one. The whole objective of the Federalist Papers was to craft another solution, a different way of going between the horns of the dilemma: “[B]y comprehending in the society so ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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