In Federalist number nine five principles that are conducive to good government are discussed. The first is the regular distribution of power into distinct departments (Lawler 16). The federalists felt that the distribution of powers was important so that one department of government did not become more powerful than the other groups. They didnt want a government that was ruled by one person or even one group of people. The first aspect in creating a democratic government was to insure that the people of the government had an influential say in governmental issues as a whole. Insuring that decisions did not depend on one person or group of people, but yet an entire nation opinion.
Publius believed that the idea of distribution of powers would bring about a government that could better serve the people and would be less likely to act like anarchy. The federalists knew that the people would not approve a government that would closely resemble the government of England in which one person ruled and they also themselves did not want this type of government. By distributing the powers into distinct departments, each separate department would have to work together in order to bring about a change in the way the people are ruled and this change would be less likely to be an act of tyranny. Secondly the federalists felt that the legislative checks and balances were an important aspect of government (Lawler 16). The checks and balances were created in order to keep one branch of legislation from acting tyrannically over the other.
If checks and balances were not present it would be easy for a majority to be formed that wouldnt necessarily be in the best interest of the people at large. Checks and balances produced a way in which an attempt to change the government would not be easily done. This was possible because of the many people the proposed change would have to be approved by before it would be implemented into government. The main purpose of the idea of checks and balances was to insure that the legislative branch would not pass any act that was not created for the common good of the people they governed. This secured the fact that if a majority would be formed in the legislation and that majority would vex or oppress the minority, the passing of their idea would be slowed until it could be enlarged or refined and possible stopped completely.
The federalists also felt that the institution of courts composed of judges was an important part of government. Publius felt that this was important in order to keep the legal system of government more effective. It was set up this way in order for the courts to be able to enforce the laws passed by government. The judges were also established to interpret the constitution. This aspect would be part of the checks and balances, by insuring that any law passed by legislation does not violate the constitution.
The courts composed of judges plays an important role in the concept of checks and balances, and also in the enforcement of laws passed by legislation. Publius also felt there was a need for the representation of people in the legislature by deputies of their own election (Lawler 16). This meant that others that would run for election in that area would represent the people in legislation. This was a thoughtful suggestion in the respect that the people would be represented by others who they felt held their common interest. It would be more likely that someone from the area that they are going to represent would better represent the people electing them.
Furthermore, the people would be able to elect a person who they felt would best represent them and their views of government. The federalists thought this was important to insure that all of the governed people would be equally represented, and all people would have an indirect voice in governmental issues. The last and most important principle as viewed by the federalists was the enlargement of the orbit (Lawler 17). They felt this was the most important principle in order to break and control the violence of faction (Lawler 18). It was an obvious problem that any democracy is going to be faced with the issues of faction.
There are two methods of controlling these factions, the first is to remove the causes, and the other is to control its effects (Lawler 19). To be able to remove the cause of faction it would be necessary to destroy liberty, and give every citizen the same options, the same passions, and the same interests. In essence the cure is worse than the problem that faction creates. Publius felt that the most effective way to control faction would be to enlarge the area in which the faction exists. This would produce more faction, which seems like a bad idea, but now in order for a majority to from compromises must be made. So, majorities or factions are not likely to prevail.
If one faction should be more dominant than the others should, it would be more temperate and more likely to be for the common good of the people due to the compromises that had to be made to eventually form that majority. Another idea, which is held by Tocqueville, was very similar to that of the federalist view. He believed that the establishment of three branches of government was a good idea to keep each branch from acting tyrannically. Tocqueville also had a strong liking to the separation of powers to be sure that all the power did not rest in the hands of one individual. Although he knew that the majority had to be tempered, Tocqueville also felt that the majority was omnipotent (Tocqueville, 252).
He realized that nothing could stop an act of a majority if they wanted to get that act implemented into government. The one difference between Tocqueville and Publius was that Publius wanted to set up an extended republic, and Tocqueville thought that local government was more important and should be more powerful than the national government. This view stems from the idea that you cant have free institutions without local government (Tocqueville, 33). Although he viewed the local government as being more important, he still felt that a large democracy was necessary to temper the majority. The view of the progressives was much different than that of either Tocqueville or Publius.
The progressives wanted a government in which the people would directly be the rulers of their government. They wanted the people to be more directly involved by holding a national vote on all issues of government and what the majority wanted would be implemented. They felt this would better secure the rights of individuals in that if the majority of the people wanted or did not want a bill to pass then it wouldnt. By this form of government the progressives felt that the people would be more involved in the government and equality of the people and rights would be more secured. The progressives also wanted to make it easier to amend the Constitution; they felt that people should be able to directly vote on amendments to the Constitution.
The progressive basic idea was that if the people directly voted for actions of government without the presence of a buffer zone, or legislative branch, the people would more effectively be able to secure the rights of individuals. I believe that the views of the federalists would best secure the rights of individuals. The government they wanted to set up seems to be the most effective by providing certain areas of government departments with distinct powers, legislative checks and balances, courts composed of judges, representation of people in the legislative branch, and by extending the orbit. In my eyes all of these factors seem to lead to a good way to secure the rights of individuals. By not giving all the power to one area or person in government the people are more likely to be severed in the most democratic way possible.
The checks and balances also play an important role by ensuring that no person or group of people in legislation will be able to act against the people in a tyrannical manner. The idea of courts composed of judges helps to secure our constitutional rights so that no acts of legislation may violate the rights spelled out in the constitution. Lastly by extending the orbit I feel that the larger the area the more likely we are to get better representatives that will keep the majority from producing acts that violate the rights of the minority. I believe that by setting up an extended republic the rights of individuals would be most effectively secured by keeping governmental powers limited and effectively controlling the effects of faction. I feel that the government the progressives wanted to set up would be the least likely to secure the rights of individuals by letting the people of the nation run the government directly.
In some cases the majority may be for the common good of the people, but if it were not because there are no checks on the majority the minority would be very easily oppressed. I believe that there needs to be the representation of the people so that their views can be enlarged and refined. In the form of government the progressives wanted to put into action, whatever the majority wanted would be implemented into the governmental system. This type of government has no way to secure the rights of the minority and the majority would be able to act like anarchy. I also feel that amending the constitution should not be made easier than it already is, which is what the progressives wanted. I feel that the amending of the constitution should not be up to the people, but should rest in the hands of the people we select to represent us in our government.
205-64-4626 American Government POLS 109 Stack September 30, 1998.