The Federalist Papers

Republicanism as a Safeguard from Faction and Government Unaccountability College

The Federalist was written at a time when republican government, historically, was not popular. It had failed throughout history, and monarchies were thriving in Europe. Yet the Americans, with their extraordinary potential as a nation, proposed to adopt it. Why, when more authoritative regimes were flourishing, would this make sense? Or if it really remained to be seen “whether societies of men are really capable or not, of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend, for their political constitutions, on accident and force” (Federalist 1), why would they not adopt a democracy in which people have the most control over their government? The Federalist Papers’ answers in support of republican government are only made more influential by their defiance of the prevailing form of monarchical rule at the time. Yet this idea, that perhaps what the majority (in this case of nations) believes or is doing is not what is best for all men, is precisely what justifies this organization of government. The Federalist supports republicanism because it secures the good of the society in the face of potentially dangerous popular opinions, and through political responsibility strikes a...

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