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James Madison, also known as the “Father of the Constitution” was one of the few Founding Fathers who served as the president of the United States and served a pivotal role in constructing the Bill of Rights and the Federalist Papers defining the powers of the Constitution. His strongest argument was establishing the capabilities of the government had on controlling the damages and violence caused by factions. He describes factions as groups of people who share the same beliefs and ideas who gather together to promote their special interests and political opinions. Due to the fact that not everyone has the same lens on life, these factions are usually constantly at odds with one another by working against the public interest thus frequently infringing upon the rights of each other. Given the nature of man, factions are inescapable. As long as humans hold different opinions, hold different amounts of wealth, live different lifestyles, they will continue to clash with those who are different to them. In order to avoid this problem, Madison believed he could fix the situation by offering two solutions either by fixing the issue at hand or to control its effects.
The first solution involved the removal of freedoms from the factions, including the basic rights of speech and assembly. Once these rights were to be removed it would be worse than the root of the problem. Madison described that “liberty is to faction what air is to fire”, without one or the other it would wreak chaos. Once liberty is taken away from the fraction, democracy is completely eradicated. The second method calls for making sure that every individual regardless of opposing views, is demanded to share the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests on almost everything. This would be humanly impossible due to that fact that people aren’t genetically wired to think the same. The causes of factions are part of the nature of man and are practically inevitable.
With nearly all directions of solutions being depleted, Madison established a new form of government. A representative type of government in which the many elect the few who govern. He stated that factions revolve around a constant problem where the majority will always overrule the minority. To fix this, a Republic was created where a representative would be elected and the incorrect opinion of the majority would be voted out ensuring that no corruption could possibly arise. According to Madison, not any type of Republic would deem fit. He believed that one with multiple representatives would achieve greater accomplishments because more qualified individuals, elected by a greater number of citizens, would be the least likely to sacrifice the public good for short-term benefits. Even if one corrupt leader were to be elected, the majority would overpower the bad apple out. With the new number of people being elected into office, more splits of different ideas and beliefs began to form new factions. To further avoid future corruption from a new set of majority groups, the idea of checks and balances became the ultimate solution. Rather than having the Legislative Branch intact all of the nation’s law, the Judicial Branch was created to ensure the laws being made were not unjust or unfair to the people of the society. With the power being divided between the two branches, it reduced the amount of factions and eliminated the possibility of corruption.
In today’s time, the most obvious type of faction is the rivalry between Democrats and Republicans with each group strongly displaying different views on certain things, attracting individuals that favor their decisions. The Democratic Party favors same-sex marriage, labor unions, minorities, and progressive income taxes, while the Republican Party favors a more conservative view with a free market, limited power of government, and the lowering of taxes. The United States pro-choice movement is an inspiring movement concerning the safety and the pledged support that a woman has the legal right to terminate her pregnancy at any given moment regardless of the situation behind it. In the United States, the Democratic Party’s platform endorses the pro-choice movement stating that its “my body, my choice”. However, not all Democrats agree. There is a small pro-life faction within the party named Democrats for Life of America, where their main objective is to encourage the Democratic Party to oppose euthanasia, capital punishment and abortion. Madison’s argument about fixing the issue at hand can clearly apply to this topic. Because there is no definitive right or wrong answer to the topic of abortion, the right for every individual to mind their own privacy is possibly the solution to a complicated topic.
The strong association between the Republican Party and White Supremacy has been a highly profiled coverage in the press and media in recent times. Many of the office leaders within the Republican Party have condemned the attrious and evil acts of those in the KKK or the American Nazi Party. Yet, many of the famous and well known leaders behind those groups have strongly and blatantly connected themselves to the GOP claiming that their views align as one. Neither of Madison’s solutions for fixing the problem or controlling the effects can apply here. Racism cannot be removed nor can the spread of racism be controlled across state lines. Even when fought in Supreme Court Cases, the first amendment will always remain at the top. The publication of the Federalist Papers were done as a deliberate act to unify and ease the stress caused by a newly created nation. The creation of The Constitution ignited a fear within the Anti-Federalists that a central government would be the collapse of a starting nation. Today, many of the factions are seen as non-violent groups who accomplish their desires with either protests or petitions. The advancement in technology has made it easier for people to get their opinions out in more efficient ways through the use of media, TV, newspapers, and the Internet. While Madison’s arguments may not entirely apply to factions today, it is astonishing to believe many of his points remain valid after centuries of a developing world.
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