- August 29, 2012
- Posted by: essay
- Category: Free essays
1. In spite of a significant contribution of the authors of the Federalist Papers in the development of democracy in the USA, I would still criticize them for their inability to create absolutely equal conditions for all people living in America. In fact, the orientation of the Federalist Papers on the protection of interests of Americans seems to ignore interests of certain groups of the American population, such as slaves or Native Americans. The creation of the Federalist Papers should lead to the consistent change in the attitude of people to each other, while, in actuality, the Federalists Papers led to the independence of the USA but did not really change the attitude of white Americans to slaves. The latter remained depressed and deprived of any rights, while whites have all the rights they can benefit from. By the way, such ignorance of rights of certain groups of the population led to the discrimination and oppression which persisted till the mid-20th century.
2. Nevertheless, the Federalist Papers contain advanced ideas which actually contributed to a consistent improvement of the life of people.
In this respect, it is possible to refer to the Federalist #10, where Madison develops his criticism of f actions. Basically, he argues that factions are interest groups which attempt to meet their goals and use all possible means. Madison warns that factions can have a negative impact on communities and the life of the majority of the population because their interests can be different from interests of the majority of the population. They have political and economic power, but Madison insists on the right of the community and people to protect their interests from the influence of factions. In this regard, he argues that the Republic can be an effective solution of the problem because it is only the Republic that makes policy-makers truly responsible and concerned with interests of the majority of the population.
3. Furthermore, Madison discusses the separation of powers in the Federalist #51. He believes the separation of powers is another essential condition of the development of a new, state in American, which could be different from Britain and free from oppression and violation of rights of people. In this respect, democratic trends are clearly seen in the work of Madison. The separation of powers was really essential for a democratic state because it prevented the misuse of power by either branch of power. In such a way, the separation of powers balanced the relationship between different branches of power and allowed the normal development of the entire country where interests of the nation are prior to personal interests of political leaders or factions. He suggested to distinguish three branches of power: legislative, executive and judicial. These three principal branches of power persist till the present moment and are closely associated with the concept of American democracy, when human rights can be protected effectively and the authorities conduct responsible policies.
4. In the Federalist #54, Madison defends the 3/5 clause. In actuality, the 3/5 clause is extremely discriminatory since it deprives slaves of equal rights and opportunities compared to the whites. According to the 3/5 clause, slaves were consistently limited in their voting rights and, therefore, they could not count for the adequate representation of their interests in the US power. In fact, this discriminatory paper was the result of the impact of the existing culture and social norms, which prevented Madison from the truly adequate assessment of the concept of equal rights in the USA. Traditionally, slaves had no rights in the USA. They were under the command of their masters who decided whether they live or not and what they do. Slaves were absolutely unprotected and Southerners were convinced in their superiority compared to slaves. This attitude prevailed even in many Northern states. As a result, the Federalist #54 was not surprising at the epoch.
Instead, it was perceived as a norm, while the fact that slaves and former slaves would get some voting rights was really shocking for the overwhelming majority of slaveholders and it was a challenge to cultural and social norms at the epoch. This is probably why Madison decided to support 3/5 clause to avoid the strong opposition to his paper and internal conflicts within the American society, which could threaten to the independence of the USA.
5. Alexander Hamilton addressed vitally important issues in his papers, such as the Federalist #70, where he addressed the Presidency. He believed that the Presidency is an extremely important institution, which should head the executive branch of power in the USA. In actuality, Hamilton viewed the President as the head of the executive branch of power and his position should be the top position in the country. Hamilton laid emphasis on the importance of the strong Presidential power. He argued that the President should conduct his policies without any strong rivalry. Otherwise, the work of the executive branch of power would be ineffective, while political conflicts would influence the life of ordinary Americans. Taking into account his views on the Presidency, he would be pleased with the current position of the US President. Basically, the institution of the Presidency meets the demands set by Hamilton, though the power of the President is not as unchallengeable as Hamilton probably wanted because the political opposition in the Congress of restrains the implementation of Presidential policies.
6. Alexander Hamilton pays a lot of attention to the Supreme Court in the Federalist #78, where he discusses in details the role and functions of the Supreme Court. According to Hamilton, the Supreme Court was the leading institution of the judicial branch of power.
However, Hamilton argued that the Supreme Court was not as powerful as the Presidency, for instance, because it was unable to compete with the political power of the President or legislators. Therefore, he warned that the Supreme Court would perform the law enforcement function, but it could hardly have the equal power as executive and judicial powers. Obviously, he would be surprised if he knew what an influence the Supreme Court in the USA today. In fact, the Supreme Court has become a powerful institution which resolves conflicts between citizens and state, and enforces law.
7. The most important event that influenced the thinking of the authors of the Federalist Papers was, beyond a doubt, the independence of the USA. Naturally, they could not accumulate their progressive ideas in a day after the Independence of the USA was granted to the country by Britain, but the struggle of American people for independence and their victory apparently became the most determinant factor that convinced the authors to write the Federalist Papers. At the same time, it is important to stress the influence of progressive European philosophers on American thinkers, including the impact of John Locke and Jean-Jacque Rousseau. Their ideas were modified and developed further by the authors of the Federalist Papers. The independence of the USA gave the authors an excellent opportunity to implement their most daring ideas concerning the establishment of a new social order and creation of a new state, where democracy and equality rule. In such a way, they got a chance to conduct the first experiment, which was probably the most important experiment in the world history at the epoch.
8. In response to Madison’s Federalist #54, I would like to point out that this paper contradicts to the existing traditions and norms, according to which Americans live in the Southern states. Since the beginning of the colonization they used slaves as efficient tools of production, while Madison suggests transforming the role of slaves from thoughtless instruments in hands of civilized slaveholders into free people, who have the same rights as slaveholders do. This is the challenge to traditions of Southern states, which can destruct the USA, because it is an offensive practice that can lead to the loss of control over slaves by slaveholders that will undermine the economy of Southern states and, therefore, the economy of the USA at large. This is why the Federalist #54 should never be implemented. Otherwise, the internal conflicts within the USA are inevitable.