Thomas Jefferson v James Madison
This question of direct democracy versus representative government that Dad and I are talking about is not a new one. As I said the founding fathers of this country struggled with the very same question. The Federalist Papers contain James Madison's debate with Thomas Jefferson on this point.
Jefferson wished for a pure democracy whereby the citizens could assemble and administer the government in person. All people could then have a direct say in how they are governed and share in the power that is used to govern. He talked all about a new revolution every 10 years, yadda yadda yadda. No wonder he liked the French-they are still fighting the French Revolution and the Revolutionaries at the Bastille in July 1789 were quoting Thomas Jefferson (who was in Paris at the time as George Washington’s ambassador) as if he were their spiritual leader. So the French? How many constitutions have they had since 1789? Last I counted it was 6, not to mention all that Napoleon crap. (Let’s also not forget the Reign of Terror.) How many have the United States had? One quite successful one.
James Madison believed that we are all prone to faction--"citizens...united and activated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or adverse to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community" (Federalist Papers #10). "No man is allowed to be a judge in his own cause," said Madison, "because his interest would certainly bias his judgment, and, not improbably, corrupt his integrity."
Duh. Madison argued that the remedy to the risk of faction (or"special interests") was a representative government where a small but carefully determined number of citizens are elected by the rest to act on their behalf and in the interest of the public good. He won, Jefferson lost. Basically Thomas Jefferson gained some ground in a 215 year old debate last week with the election of the Terminator.
So everyone, just remember the United States is not a democracy, but a Representative Democracy. (And yes we are a republic too, but so are the commies in China.)
Page rendered at Wednesday, February 24, 2021 9:12:04 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
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