The founders of the country had envisioned an ideal nation. The operation of the United States as a republic was to be hinged on the public good as opposed to the faction kind of thinking. The above approach was intended to ensure that the public good always prevailed over the individual or personal interests (Linn, Nagler & Morales, 2010). The creation of the country was to be based on the development of small republics which would be ideal in fostering homogeneity in operations. This was posited as an ideal way of hedging the newborn country from the effects of tyranny. This approach resulted in different objections. One of the leading objections came from James Madison who noticed that the representation as defined in the classical republican theory was ineffective in protecting the individuals (Madison, 1787). The main concern was whether the factions or states would act in self-serving manners such that the prosperity of the confederation would fail. The fears noted by the congressman are manifested today hence invalidating the modern citizenry.
The current American society is marred by instances of self-serving attempts. Most of the people are less concerned with the actions of the federal government and are more interested in the legislation in their states. The overall harmony in the state has been adversely affected by the self-serving interest of the states and their legislatures.
Madison noted that the common practice in the states was not in line with the union. As a result, there were instances of retaliation as far as regulations are concerned. States’ interest is often in a clash with the federal interests. In as much as there have been accommodations to the individual state needs after writing the Federalist papers, the republic is different from what it was supposed to be like. The majority of the states tend to act in a perverse manner defeating some of the proposals that are in line with the overall needs of the country.
James Madison came up with the different way of defining a republic. According to his definition, the requirement of a small entity that had to attain a certain level of homogeneity was no longer paramount in the creation of any republic. Any territory made of diverse people such as the United States still qualified to be referred to as a republic (Madison, 1787). The only caveat was how the representation was conducted. He moved away from the common classical theories on republicanism that called for the people to elect their leaders to parliament. This requirement did not augur well with Madison who questioned if the pure election of leaders was an ideal way of ensuring that the interests of all were covered.
His main argument on the alteration of representation was that in large republics, it was difficult for the representational makeup to be effective in the representation of homogeneous interests. Homogeneity of interests is unattainable in the context of large republics (Madison, 1787). There are different factions in the republics.
His approach towards representation was different since, in most of the states and governments, the running perspective was that the factions were defeating the classical perception of the republic. Hence, factions were supposed to be deemed as a bane in the existence of republics. Madison presented a possibility of accepting and accommodating the factions since this was a reality of any republic.
Acceptance of factions has been manifested in the modern day America. Most of the factions are allowed the opportunity to air their grievances. There are ways of representing the special interest groups in the national government. Therefore, the factions have been represented in most of the debates. They are no longer perceived as outside interest groups but are integral. As postulated by Madison, the inclusion of the factions in the government tends to neutralize their effects. As opposed to leaving the special interest groups outside the government, the main mode of operation centers on according them the chance to be part of the government. The elected officials were supposed to consider the interests of the various parties in the process of representing their constituencies.
Just as espoused by Madison, the complexity of the republic was a source of problems and solutions at the time when the author was writing the federalist paper (Elkin, 2015). The people who were of the opinion that the complexity of the country was a problem called for the development of local entities. These entities represent even at this day and they assume the form of states. The development of a complex nation was deemed by others as a possible source of a solution in form of a consolidated system of government. The form of representation used in the United States is also in line with the above provision of the federalist paper. The national or federal system of governance has been used in the representation of the diverse and all-encompassing interests in the United States. This resulted in the development of the federal republic.
The power of the factions and the independent states in the federal republic came from the exercise of vigilance from the voters. However, the American citizenry has little effort to support the policies being developed by the government. The level of ignorance that the voters poses can be manifested in the kind of responses that the Americans issue for some of the questions that will be posed towards them (Somin, 2016). The manifest ignorance can be indicative of a farfetched America from the one that the founders envisioned.
The American public has been largely incapable of putting their head together and working towards a solution (Schudson, 2000). The inability to reason together means that the representation in the parliament and state assemblies is only a work of a certain faction which was less visible at the time when Madison was writing the federal paper and envisioning a republic. Most of the Americans use the democratic right to elect politicians who are supposed to offer their views on how the government is supposed to be run. The politicians that are elected to the Congress and other assemblies at the country and state level tend to work in the interests of selves as well as other external parties and not for the people who elected them since they do not have the understanding of how the system is functioning in the first place. This makes them less represented as opposed to the envisioned level of representation manifested before (Linn, Nagler & Morales, 2010).
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As a result of this aspect in the American citizenry, the model of an ideal democracy whereby the people reasoned together have been lost. Leaders have the leeway to think about the decisions that they would like to make on the behalf of the people. These decisions are rarely representative of the ideals of the people (Schubert, Dye & Zeigler, 2015). Most of the followers just go along with the decisions even when they do not meet their expectations. The disinterest in political developments is the unraveling threat of the fabric that is American democracy.
- Elkin, S. L. (2015). Reconstructing the commercial republic: Constitutional design after Madison. University of Chicago Press.
- Linn, S., Nagler, J., & Morales, M. A. (2010). Economics, elections, and voting behavior. In The Oxford handbook of American elections and political behavior.
- Madison, J. (1787). The Federalist no. 10. November, 22(1787), 1787-88.
- Schubert, L., Dye, T. R., & Zeigler, H. (2015). The irony of democracy: An uncommon introduction to American politics. Nelson Education.
- Schudson, M. (2000). America’s ignorant voters. The Wilson Quarterly (1976-), 24(2), 16-22.
- Somin, I. (2016). Democracy and political ignorance: Why smaller government is smarter. Stanford University Press.