FEDERALIST PAPER 51
In James Madison’s “Federalist Paper 51”, one of the most striking aspects of Madison’s language is that it is strongly characterized by fear—fear of the power of government, particularly a democratic government to do harm to the nation as a whole by enacting imprudent laws, fear of the tyranny of the majority, and fear of the power of government and popular factions. Despite the popular image of the Founding Fathers as unapologetic democrats, the image that emerges from Madison’s words is that of a man who was very cautious about the power of a republican form of government to effectively keep order and protect the rights of all of America’s citizens. The government must protect the citizens from themselves, and the government must be designed to protect itself from one branch growing too powerful, in Madison’s vision.
Division of powers, according to Madison, is vital to safeguard against the vices of democracy, as well as the powers of autocracy, and one arm or man becoming too powerful. Madison says that there is a paradox to government—on one hand, it should be of the people, to prevent government from becoming too unrepresentative and greedy, yet government is administered by all too human people, and elected by all too human people. ‘Splitting the difference’ seems to be the logical conclusion he arises at to remedy this paradox: “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflection on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies...