The American System as Explained by James Madison Essay


James Madison also referred to as the “Father of the Constitution” played a very significant role in the planning and ratification of the U.S. Constitution. He advocated for a federalist government characterized by a union of all the states with one central elected leader; the president. Apart from the Executive, the constitution provided for two other branches of government namely the Judiciary and the Legislature as a precaution against the concentration of power in the executive. This paper explores Madison’s arguments about how the federalist government structures can effectively hold the presidency to account.

            In Federalist Number 10, James Madison mainly focuses on the need to guard against factions. Madison attributes the origin of faction to the varying opinions in politics which brings forth disagreements on crucial issues like what religion or regime should be preferred. After exploring a few options which appeared impractical, he concludes that the best way to limit the faction is by controlling its effects.

            He therefore recommends a republic which according to him, is more representative than a democracy and advocates for a larger republic because the number of citizens per representative will be larger hence representing a large sample of people. Further, he believes that greater diversity of parties and interest groups can be achieved better in larger societies thus limiting the possibility of a majority faction coming into existence. In conclusion, Madison argues for a greater union of the states that would result into a more effective government as opposed to the autonomy of states.

            In Federalist Number 51, Madison stresses the need for independence of each of the three branches of government which can be achieved by ensuring no branch has undue influence on member elections of the other two branches. Constitutional safeguards are therefore necessary in mitigating power concentration in any of the three branches. Government is necessary because men abuse power. He pointed out, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary”. The government must be structured in a manner enabling it to control the people and subsequently control itself.

            It is fundamental to check against rulers’ oppression in a representative democracy. In USA, the authority to govern is derived from the society, which in the constitution is divided into numerous groups of people with varying views and opinions thus mitigating any groups’ dominance to minority groups. It is therefore evident that with all the checks and balances outlined above, the presidency is properly held to account at all times by the People, Legislature and the Judiciary at all times.


Madison, J., Hamilton, A. & Jay J. (Ed.). (1987). The Federalist Papers. New York.

Penguin Books.