Monday, April 21, 2008

Faction: Federalist 9 and 10

The Federalist was the sales brochure for the United States Constitution authored by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay under the penname Publius. In a sane world, it would be required reading in High School as it represents the what was probably the highest level political thought achieved in the Second Millennium AD.

Hamilton wrote #9 and Madison wrote #10. In #10 Madison speaks of the natural factions that emerge in European society between the classes and proposes a series of elected representatives (‘Representative Republic’) in place of a ‘Democracy’ to manage the naturally-occurring effects of faction in society.

The electorate that Madison tailored the Constitution to was far different from today’s electorate though. It is estimated that only 25% of adult males met the property and/or taxation requirements to be eligible to vote in Madison’s day. A far cry from today’s universal suffrage that has resulted in the current campaign of ‘ask what your country can do for you.’

Madison closes on an eerie note:

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.

Read Federalist #10:

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