Federalist 51 James Madison on Checks & Balances
Main authors of Federalist Essays: James Madison Alexander Hamilton
NEW YORK! Purpose of Federalist Essays:
Thesis of Federalist Essays: • Why is the central government so much more powerful? Because we NEED it to be. • Is it too powerful? No. Its power is LIMITED.
“Ambition must be made to counteract ambition.” CHECKS & BALANCES!
What is human nature? Power-hungry Greedy Self-interested
“If men were angels…” ANARCHY!
“If angels were to govern men…” DICTATORSHIP!
How do “men govern over men?” Job #1: Control the governed. (prevent ANARCHY) Job #2: Get government to control itself. (prevent DICTATORSHIP) CHECKS & BALANCES!
1st example of checks & balances: BICAMERLISM
2nd example of checks & balances: The president can VETO bills passed by the Congress.
Summary: Fed #51 • Strong government is necessary because men are not angels. • Checks & balances are necessary because those who govern can’t be trusted.