American Heritage: Federalist Papers, no. 10

American Heritage: Federalist Papers, no. 10

Top of Mind with Julie Rose

Guantanamo and Gaza, Movies in China, Drones

Episode: Guantanamo and Gaza, Movies in China, Drones

  • Mar 11, 2015 9:00 pm
  • 21:22 mins

(52:25) Guest: Grant Madsen, BYU History Professor  Marcus Smith joins Grant Madsen to discuss the background of the Federalist Papers, written by James Madison to argue for the Constitution’s ratification. Madison essentially wrote the “rough draft” of the Constitution. He wrote Federalist Paper number 10 to discuss some of the key features of the new document.  Madison ran for his local state house back in the day and lost to a tavern-owner, who gave all the voters free beer. Federalist paper number 10 considers this problem: how elites can “buy” votes and wield disproportionate power.  “The term he used was cancelling ‘local faction’—you can overcome the powers of small groups through large groups.” This contradicted common theories of republican governments, which insisted that functioning Republics must be small. “Imagine whoever the cool kids were in your high school actually were in charge of something,” says Madison. “Imagine if a clique sort of got power, how would they wield it? They’d remember all the people they wanted to get back at, and seize power to do it.” Madison’s idea was more “factions,” not less, actually help cancel out their power. The more people you have competing for the same job, the better candidates you’d get.