The Federalist Papers

Checks and Balances

What problems might arise if the 'people' had to keep the branches of government in line? 

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Since the people are the source of power in a republican form of government, it would seem logical to consult them whenever one branch becomes too powerful or whenever there is a constitutional crisis. But there are problems in relying on the people to keep each branch within its constitutional limits. In the first place, the people cannot prevent the possibility of two branches combining their strength and power against the third branch. In the second place, frequent appeals to the people suggest a serious defect in government. Such appeals threaten the stability necessary to good government because society is always in a state of turmoil. Although Madison concedes that this country has been successful in revising its form of government, too much experimentation can be dangerous. Because the revolution is behind the country, divergent views and strong disagreements are coming to the surface.