But what is government homework itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. In framing a government. To be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to controul the governed; and, in the next place, oblige it to controul itself. The proposed Constitution did just that — by so dividing and arranging the several offices that "each may be a check on the other; that the private interest of every individual, may be a sentinel over the public rights.". Analysis, this section is largely an elaboration on arguments made more briefly before. The only new matter introduced in this section consisted of the objections to occasional appeals to the people on constitutional questions, as advocated by jefferson (Chapter 49 and the equal objections to periodical appeals (Chapter 50).
This method would not work either. If the time between periodical appeals were made short, there would be the same objections as against occasional appeals. If the periods were made longer, it might well be that the abuses complained of would have taken such deep root that they could not easily be removed. Certain proceedings in Pennsylvania in were then cited to substantiate this point. In Chapter 51, the only way of assuring the separation of legislative, executive, and judicial powers was to contrive such an inner structure of government that the departments might, "by their mutual relations, be the means of keeping each other in their proper places.". Each department dissertation should have a will of its own, and its members should have no "agency" in appointing members of the others. Those administering each department should have the constitutional means and "personal motives to resist encroachments of the others." Publius continued: Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to controul the abuses of government.
Publius agreed that this was strictly in accord with republican theory, but there were "insuperable objections" against frequent appeals to the people. For one thing, such appeals would imply defects in the government which would deprive it of "that veneration, which time bestows on every thing, and without which perhaps the wisest and freest governments would not possess the requisite stability." Frequent appeals would inflame public passions. The greatest objection against frequent appeals to the people on constitutional questions was that this procedure would not maintain the government's constitutional equilibrium. The legislative branch, being the strongest, would probably be the most frequently charged with encroachments on the others. As the members of the executive and judiciary departments would be fewer in number and less known personally to the public, members of the legislative branch, having been chosen immediately by the people, would have the advantage in swinging public opinion to their point. Frequent appeals to the people were not a proper or effective way of keeping the three main governmental departments within their prescribed constitutional limits. In Chapter 50, in place of " occasional appeals to the people" about constitutional questions, some were arguing for " periodical appeals" as an adequate means of preventing and correcting infractions of the constitution.
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When all of these departments were in the same hands, "whether of one, a few or many, or whether hereditary, self appointed, or elective that was the "very definition of tyranny." Critics of the constitution contended that under it the separation of powers was vague. quot;ng Montesquieu's analysis of the British constitution, lego and citing the constitutions of various states, madison argued that the three main branches of government could not be explosion "totally separate and distinct" if they were to operate together as a whole. Madison said that no main government branch should be directly administered by another, and that none should have an overruling influence over the others; how to obtain a proper balance between the three main departments of government was the problem. Detailing governmental operations under the constitutions of Virginia and Pennsylvania as an example, madison concluded that the separation of powers was a "sacred maxim of free government but the branches could not be "kept totally separate and distinct.". Madison then set out to demonstrate that the separate powers of the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary should be "so far connected and blended, as to give to each a constitutional controul over the others.".
By its very nature, the legislative branch tended to gain a superiority over the two other branches. Its powers were at once broader and less susceptible to precise limits. Besides, it alone bad "access to the pockets of the people." having cited operations under the virginia and Pennsylvania constitutions, madison concluded that a mere definition on paper of the three departments' constitutional limits was not a sufficient guard against encroachments leading toward a "tyrannical. In the same hands.". Chapter 49 begins by"ng from Jefferson, who had declared that whenever any two of the three branches of government agreed that a convention should be called for amending the constitution, "or correcting breaches of it then such a convention should be called.
It even appears, if I mistake not, that in one instance the contemporary legislature denied the constructions of the council, and actually prevailed in the contest. This censorial body, therefore, proves at the same time, by its researches, the existence of the disease, and by its example, the inefficacy of the remedy. This conclusion cannot be invalidated by alleging that the State in which the experiment was made was at that crisis, and had been for a long time before, violently heated and distracted by the rage of party. Is it to be presumed, that at any future septennial epoch the same State will be free from parties? Is it to be presumed that any other State, at the same or any other given period, will be exempt from them? Such an event ought to be neither presumed nor desired; because an extinction of parties necessarily implies either a universal alarm for the public safety, or an absolute extinction of liberty.
Were the precaution taken of excluding from the assemblies elected by the people, to revise the preceding administration of the government, all persons who should have been concerned with the government within the given period, the difficulties would not be obviated. The important task would probably devolve on men, who, with inferior capacities, would in other respects be little better qualified. Although they might not have been personally concerned in the administration, and therefore not immediately agents in the measures to be examined, they would probably have been involved in the parties connected with these measures, and have been elected under their auspices. 2008 Lillian Goldman Law Library 127 Wall Street, new haven, ct 06511. Summary and Analysis Section viii: Structure of New government: Federalists. 4751 (Madison or Hamilton). Bookmark this page, summary, this section of five essays deals largely with the question of establishing a proper and workable system of checks and balances between the several main departments, or branches, of government. In Chapter 47, the author declared that no political maxim was more important for liberty than that the legislative, executive, and judiciary departments should be separate and distinct.
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Had this not been the case, the face of their proceedings exhibits a proof equally satisfactory. In all questions, however unimportant in themselves, or unconnected with each other, the same names stand invariably contrasted on the opposite columns. Every unbiased observer may infer, without danger of mistake, and at the same time without meaning summary to reflect on either party, or any individuals of either party, that, unfortunately, passion, not reason, must have presided over their decisions. When men exercise their reason coolly and freely on a variety of distinct questions, they inevitably fall into different opinions on some of them. When they are governed by a common passion, their opinions, if they are so to be called, will be the same. It trunk is at least problematical, whether the decisions of this body do not, in several instances, misconstrue the limits prescribed for the legislative and executive departments, instead of reducing and limiting them within their constitutional places. I have never understood that the decisions of the council on constitutional questions, whether rightly or erroneously formed, have had any effect in varying the practice founded on legislative constructions.
as applied to the case under consideration, it involves some facts, which i venture to remark, as a complete and satisfactory illustration of the reasoning which I have employed. It appears, from the names of the gentlemen who composed the council, that some, at least, of its most active members had also been active and leading characters in the parties which pre-existed in the State. It appears that the same active and leading members of the council had been active and influential members of the legislative and executive branches, within the period to be reviewed; and even patrons or opponents of the very measures to be thus brought to the. Two of the members had been vice-presidents of the State, and several other members of the executive council, within the seven preceding years. One of them had been speaker, and a number of others distinguished members, of the legislative assembly within the same period. Every page of their proceedings witnesses the effect of all these circumstances on the temper of their deliberations. Throughout the continuance of the council, it was split into two fixed and violent parties. The fact is acknowledged and lamented by themselves.
If the periods be separated by short intervals, the measures to be reviewed and rectified will have been of recent date, and will be connected with all the circumstances which tend to vitiate and pervert the result of occasional revisions. If the periods be distant from each other, the same remark will be applicable to all recent measures; and in proportion as the remoteness of the others may favor a dispassionate review of them, this advantage is inseparable from inconveniences which seem to counterbalance. In the first place, a distant prospect of public censure would be a very feeble restraint on power from those excesses to which it might be urged by the force of present japanese motives. Is it to be imagined that a legislative assembly, consisting of a hundred or two hundred members, eagerly bent on some favorite object, and breaking through the restraints of the constitution in pursuit of it, would be arrested in their career, by considerations drawn from. In the next place, the abuses would often have completed their mischievous effects before the remedial provision would be applied. And in the last place, where this might not be the case, they would be of long standing, would have taken deep root, and would not easily be extirpated. The scheme of revising the constitution, in order to correct recent breaches of it, as well as for other purposes, has been actually tried in one of the States. One of the objects of the council of Censors which met in Pennsylvania in 17, was, as we have seen, to inquire, "whether the constitution had been violated, and whether the legislative and executive departments had encroached upon each other.
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The federalist Papers :. Periodical Appeals to the people considered. From the new York packet. Tuesday, february 5, 1788. Hamilton or madison, to the people of the State of New York: it may be contended, perhaps, that instead of occasional appeals to the people, which are liable review to the objections urged against them, periodical appeals are the proper and adequate means of preventing and. It will be attended to, that in the examination of these expedients, i confine myself to their aptitude for enforcing the constitution, by keeping the several departments of power within their due bounds, without particularly considering them as provisions for altering the constitution itself. In the first view, appeals to the people at fixed periods appear to be nearly as ineligible as appeals on particular occasions as they emerge.