Archive for November, 2009

Federalist Papers 10 and 51. The paper I wrote on them.

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Tommy Caldwell
Political Science

I believe that Madison describes the United States as under the Constitution as combining the best parts of elitism and pluralism at the same time.

In the Federalist Paper number nine, Madison explains the advantages and the main flaws with both a Republic and a Democracy. He explains that the primary advantage of a Democracy is that everybody gets a say in what happens. Each person gets one vote, and everyone is equal. Anybody can make a suggestion and it will be heard and voted on. Thus, democracy is equality. However, the flaw in democracy is derived from its primary advantage. If everybody gets a vote, and anyone can make a suggestion, and everybody is equal, then that means there will be a huge number of people gathered under one roof. Even if they only meet once a year, in a larger nation, it could take weeks or even months just to get through every person’s idea even if each person only gets a few minutes. In addition, it is difficult to keep track of who has spoken and who has not. It would be incredibly difficult to keep track of who voted for what. Nothing would ever get done in a true democracy in a massive nation. The group of people would be nothing more than a vast, unruly mob. It would be too large and confusing to get anything done.
In a republic, the problems of a democracy are not anywhere near as bad. The people elect representatives to vote for them. There are not thousands of people in a huge mob all trying to get what they want done with nothing happening because of the confusion. But being in a republic has problems of its own. In a republic, there are only a few people in charge. While this is much more orderly and easier to keep track of, it also means that only a few people are deciding what happens to all of the masses of people who are not elected as representatives. In a republic, it is easy for the few to rule over the many as tyrants. So while a republic has none of the problems of democracy, it has its own problems that are just as bad if not worse.
A democracy at its worst is a hyper-pluralist government. Huge numbers of people are pulling in every direction, and nothing gets done because of it. A republic at its worst is an elitist government. A very small number of people are deciding the laws and regulations that affect and control huge masses of people.
Our constitution and government setup is a combination of the two. We have both a Senate and a House of Representatives. We have the senate, which is a few voting for the many. The Senate is the elitist part of our government. We also have the House of Representatives. The House of Representatives is the pluralist part of our government. So the legislative body of our government of both elitist and pluralist, because we have both types combined into one with each being equally powerful.
What I believe Madison was trying to say was that our House of Representatives has the job of representing the people. A state gets representatives based on population. Our Senate is a representative of the State, though. Each state, no matter the size, gets two senators. Most of the world at the time was under monarchs and tyrants. A country was a country; there were no states as we know them today. We, however, had our country divided up into states. Each state gets their say, and each citizen gets theirs.
In conclusion, I believe that Madison portrays our government as both elitist and pluralist when he explains the constitution in the Federalist Papers.