American Government: The Madisonian Model
Almost immediately after the Revolutionary War ended, the members of the Continental Congress faced what one historian called the "unfinished agenda" of determining precisely what form of government would rule the newly-independent colonies (Binder, Online). Merely dividing power between Congress and the states under the 1781 Articles of Confederation had failed to create a government that could cope with all the issues of a growing new nation, in particular because the powers delegated to Congress under the Articles prevented it from discharging its duties. For example, although Congress was responsible for national defense, foreign relations and development of the West, the Articles did not designate the nature of its leadership or grant it the power to tax (Binder, Online). Only with the ratification of the Constitution of the United States of America, written in Philadelphia during the summer of 1787, were the thirteen sovereign states finally transformed into a federal union under a powerful central government (Hassing, Online).
James Madison was instrumental in the drafting of the American Constitution and consequently the form of government currently employed by the United States of America. In the battle to determine the precise wording of the Constitution and thus the form of government that would rule the states, Madison, along with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, wrote the Federalist Papers advocating their position. The most significant for the purposes of this paper are Federalist Nos. 10, 47 and 51.
All democracies face a fundamental problem in deciding how much political participation to allow and by whom. In Federalist No. 10, Madison diagnosed the problems of the newly formed United States of America as ambition, passions, diversity of opinions, and an unequal distribution of property that fueled instability in the states and threatened the public good and rights...