Federalist No. 10 (part 1) | US government and civics | Khan Academy
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Federalist No. 10 (part 1) | US government and civics | Khan Academy

– [Narrator] In other videos
we have talked about how ratification of the US
Constitution to replace the Articles of Confederation
was not a slam dunk. After the Constitution
was drafted during the Constitutional Convention in mid 1787, you actually have a
significant group of people who are against the ratification. And we study some of their
writings in another video on the anti-Federalist Papers,
in particular on Brutus I, which is the most prominent of them. In this video we’re gonna
focus on the other side, on the folks who are
aggressively advocating for ratification of the Constitution. Alexander Hamilton, James
Madison, John Jay were some of the most prominent of
these and they were the ones that wrote the Federalist
Papers that were focused on convincing everyone to
adopt the Constitution. And what we’re going to look
at in this video is, perhaps, the most famous of the Federalist Papers, this is Federalist number 10. Or at least an excerpt of
Federalist number 10 that we’re going to look at right over here. It was published November 23, 1787. And if you remember the video
on Brutus I this is only a few weeks after Brutus I,
which is now considered a famous anti-Federalist
Paper was published. So it’s right in this time
period right over here where people are going
back and forth deciding, do we ratify this constitution? And James Madison published
under the pen name Publius. And Publius is making
reference to one of the ancient Roman aristocrats who
overthrew the Roman kingdom in the late sixth century to
establish the Roman Republic. So one way to think about
it is he is viewing himself and the other Federalists
as trying to establish a strong republic. This is in comparison to
Brutus, which we see as the pen name for some of the significant
anti-Federalist Papers, and Brutus played a significant
role in the assassination of Julius Caesar to keep him
from corrupting the republic, ending the republic and
turning it into an empire. But now let’s read this excerpt
of Federalist number 10. And as I read this keep in
mind some of these ideas, these flavors of democracy
that we have talked about in other videos. Does Madison, in Federalist
number 10, does he seem pro-participatory democracy
or anti-participatory democracy? Does he seem to think that
pluralism is a good idea or a bad idea? And is he more pro elite
democracy or anti-elites running a democracy? “To the People of the state of New York.” Like Brutus I, it’s addressed
to the people of the state of New York because one,
New York was a significant state and he’s trying to
convince them, in this case, to support the US Constitution. “Among the numerous
advantages promised by a well “constructed union, none
deserves to be more accurately “developed than it’s tendency
to break and control the “violence of factions.” So a well constructed
union needs to be able to control the violence of a faction. In fact, this is the in
the title, The Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic
Faction and Insurrection. “Complaints are everywhere
heard from our most considerate “and virtuous citizens
that our governments are “too unstable, that the
public good is disregarded in “the conflicts of rival parties, “and that measures are too
often decided not according “to the rules of justice
and the rights of the minor “party, but by the superior
force of an interested and “overbearing majority.” So already outlining some of the problems. This problem of faction,
this problem of majority rule overrunning minorities or
the rights of the minorities. “It is in vain to say that
enlightened statesmen will “be able to adjust these
clashing interests,” the clashing interests of faction, “And render them all
subservient to the public good. “Enlightened statesmen will
not always be at the helm, “it may be concluded
that a pure democracy, “by which I mean a society
consisting of a small number “of citizens who assemble
and administer the government “in person can admit of
no cure for the mischiefs “of faction.” So a pure democracy, which
is about as close as you can get to a participatory democracy,
Madison here is claiming that it can admit of no cure
for the mischiefs of the faction, that it doesn’t
really help the situation. “A common passion or interest
will, in almost every case, “be felt by a majority of the whole, “and there is nothing to check
the inducements to sacrifice “the weaker party or an
obnoxious individual. “Hence it is that such
democracies have ever been “spectacles of turbulence and contention; “have ever been found incompatible
with personal security “or the rights of people; and
have in general been as short “in their lives as they have
been violent in their deaths.” So what does Madison think
of participatory democracies? Right, he doesn’t think
too highly of them. He says, “Look, a majority
is going to take over “and they’re going to
trample over the rights of “everyone else.” So clearly he thinks that
a participatory democracy, not good. “A republic, by which I mean
a government in which the “scheme of representation takes place, “opens a different prospect,
and promises the cure “for which we are seeking.” So in his definition of
republic it’s a situation where you have the people being
represented by others. “The two great points of
difference between a democracy, “or pure democracy, and
a republic are first the “delegation of the government
in the latter to a small “number of citizens elected by the rest.” So he’s saying in a republic
you’re delegating the government to a small
number of citizens elected by the rest. “Secondly, the greater number
of citizens and the greater “sphere of country over which
the latter,” the republic, “may be extended.” So this is interesting because
in Brutus I the argument is made that republics
aren’t good at ruling over large territories. Here Madison is claiming
that a republic is better at ruling over a greater sphere of country, over a greater number of citizens. “The effect of the first difference,” and so this is a notion of
having those representatives, having a representative democracy, “Is to refine and
enlarge the public views, “by passing them through
the medium of a chosen body “of citizens, whose wisdom
may best discern the true “interest of their country
and whose patriotism and “love of justice will be
least likely to sacrifice it “to temporary or partial considerations. “Under such a regulation
it may well happen that the “public voice, pronounced
by the representatives of “the people, will be more
consonant to the public good “than if pronounced by
the people themselves.” So this is really, really
interesting because we already saw that Madison’s not a fan
of participatory democracy and here he’s saying, “Look,
if you take the views and “pass them through the medium
of a chosen body of citizens “that these people might
represent the public good “better than the people themselves.” This is really Madison being
very pro elite democracy. Where you have a limited
number of people who are really participating and
he’s making the argument that they might be better at
representing the needs of the people than the people themselves. “On the other hand, the
effect may be inverted.” So he is giving some
credence to the other side of the argument. “Men of factious tempers,
of local prejudices, “or of sinister designs may,
by intrigue, by corruption, “or by other means first
obtain the suffrages and then “betray the interests of the people. “The question resulting is
whether small or extensive “republics are more favorable
to the election of proper “guardians of the public weal; “and it is clearly decided
in favor of the latter,” so large republics, “by
two obvious considerations. “In the first place, however
small the republic may be, “the representatives must be
raised to a certain number, “in order to guard against
the cabals of a few, “and that however large it
may be, they must be limited “to a certain number in
order to guard against the “confusion of a multitude.” So this is really interesting, he says, “Look, no matter how large
your republic you’re going “to need a certain number
of representatives. “You have too small then
they’re just going to be able “to control everything,
but if you have too many “representatives it’s just
going to be confusing.” “Hence, the number of
representatives in the two cases “not being in proportion to
that of the two constituents,” you’re not gonna keep the
same proportion depending on population, “and being
proportionally greater in the “small republic, it follow
that, if the proportion of “fit characters be not less
in the large than in the “small republic, the former
will present a greater option “and consequently a greater
probability of a fit choice.” So what he’s really saying
is in a large republic you’re more likely to find fit and
good representatives than you will in a smaller republic. Once again, he wants people
who he considers to be elite in some way. The more educated,
whatever you might consider elite to be. For the sake of time I’ll
leave you there in this part one video and in part two
we’ll see James Madison continue to argue, not
only for a republic, but for a large republic
which the US Constitution provides for. Arguing that you’ll have
better people representing in government and you will
also have a more pluralist society, which we’ll see
is very different than the view of the anti-Federalists.


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