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Government by the People, For the People
The new constitution, thought to bring to power a centralized form of
Government, actually establishes a Democratic Republic. In “Federalist #39″, Madison’s
main objective is to explain to the skeptics of the constitution that it truly calls for a
democratic form of government, and not for a strict National one. He does this by
showing his readers two key points; Discussion of the setup and ratification process for
this new constitution, as well as how the Government’s legislative representatives will be
Discussion of the Constitution’s ratification process is one of the key themes that
Madison tries to emphasize. The adversaries of the constitution are afraid that by
establishing a National Government as well as State Governments, the National
Government will rise to absolute power, and the states will lose their sovereignty.
Madison points out that even the way that this new constitution is to be ratified is against
absolute power 100 percent. According to Madison, the constitution will be a fair
representation of the interests of the people, because it will be the people who will ratify it.
He also makes it a point to show that individuals will not be voting on it as members of
one nation, but as members of individual states. While it is the states who make the
deciding votes, the votes themselves will be dictated by the citizens of each separate state.
Therefore, it is the states’ (which represent the interest of the people) decision upon
weather or not to accept this new form of government. The states are still in complete
control of themselves. In this way, Madison shows that the powers entrusted to the
“national” government shall be only those in which the states (citizens) grant them. The
“national” government will be “checked” by that of the states’.
The second point Madison tries to make deals with the Legislative branch of the
federal government. He makes the point that the people will have direct input into
lawmaking. “The House of Representatives will derive its powers from the people of
America; and the people will be represented in the same proportion and on the same
principle as they are in the legislature of a particular State.” To prevent rule by majority,
the senate is set up with equal representation for each state. This balance of power
between the people (House of Representatives) and the appointed officials (Senate)
assures that the central Government will not be able to become sovereign. The states are
in complete control of both the house and senate. This serves as a “check” for central
In conclusion, Madison makes a very effective argument in favor of the
establishment of the new “Democratic Republic.” By making clear points about the
ratification process of the constitution itself, as well as the legislative branch it will
contain, he minimizes the concern that opponents of the constitution have. Mainly, that the
“national” government will become sovereign. Madison proves this theory false, as well as
showing that the Government is a combination of “federal” and “national” ideals.
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