Madison’s Dilemma

?n 1787, J?m?s M?d?s?n, t?g?th?r w?th ?l?x?nd?r H?m?lt?n ?nd J?hn J?y, p?nd?r?d th? f?t? ?f th? n?wly-f?rm?d Un?t?d St?t?s ?f ?m?r?c?. Th? ?r?g?n?l ?rt?cl?s ?f C?nf?d?r?t??n h?d gr?wn t?? l?m?t?d f?r th? r?p?dly-?xp?nd?ng n?t??n, ?nd th? futur?’s ch?ll?ng? ?pp??r?d d?unt?ng. D?l?g?t?s fr?m ?r?und th? Un?t?d St?t?s, ?nclud?ng M?d?s?n, H?m?lt?n ?nd J?y pl?nn?d t? m??t ?n Ph?l?d?lph?? t? dr?ft ? f?d?r?l C?nst?tut??n, ? t?mpl?t? f?r ?m?r?c?’s d?st?ny.

Y?t ?n? pr?bl?m pl?gu?d M?d?s?n, h?v?r?ng ?n th? p?r?ph?ry ?f h?s c?nsc??usn?ss l?k? ? b?th?rs?m? gn?t. Th? pr?bl?m gr?w s? l?rg?, M?d?s?n ?xpr?ss?d ?t thr?ugh s?v?r?l ?ss?ys, ?utl?n?ng ?nd pr?p?s?ng s?lut??ns t? th? pr?bl?m, t?d?y r?f?rr?d t? ?s “M?d?s?n’s d?l?mm?”.

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Th? d?l?mm? spr?ng fr?m th? pr?p?s?d C?nst?tut??n’s gu?r?nt?? ?f p?l?t?c?l fr??d?m ?nd th? ?mpl??d r?ghts ?f p?rs?n?l ?xpr?ss??n. (Th? B?ll ?f R?ghts w?uld n?t b? ?n?ct?d f?r f?ur m?r? y??rs, th?ugh M?d?s?n, d?st?n?d t? b? th? b?ll’s ch??f ?rch?t?ct, c?ns?d?r?d th? p?t?nt??l r?m?f?c?t??ns ?v?n n?w.) M?d?s?n f?r?s?w gr?ups, ?r “f?ct??ns” ?s h? c?ll?d th?m, r?s?ng up t? ?nflu?nc? l?g?sl?t??n ?nd l?g?sl?t?rs. F?cus?d ?n ?n? ?r tw? s?lf?sh ?ssu?s, th?s? f?ct??ns c?uld wr?st c?ntr?l fr?m th? f?d?r?l g?v?rnm?nt, ?n ?ff?ct b?c?m?ng th? d? f?ct? g?v?rnm?nt ?nd pr?c?ss thr?ugh wh?ch publ?c p?l?cy ?s f?rm?d. Th? d?l?mm? l?y ?n c?ntr?ll?ng f?ct??ns. ?f y?u l?m?t f?ct??ns, y?u ?ff?ct?v?ly l?m?t p?rs?n?l fr??d?ms ?nd p?l?t?c?l ?xpr?ss??n, y?t ?f th? f?ct??ns ?r? ?ll?w?d t? ?xp?nd unch?ck?d, th?y c?uld p?t?nt??lly g??n p?w?r t? such ?n ?xt?nt, th?y w?uld l?m?t p?rs?n?l fr??d?ms ?nd p?l?t?c?l ?xpr?ss??n.

H?s s?lut??n, s?nc? ?sp?us?d by n??rly ?v?ry plur?l?st p?l?t?c?, w?s t? f?rm ? r?publ?c?n (sm?ll ‘r’) r?pr?s?nt?t?v? m?d?l ?f g?v?rnm?nt. ?n ?ss?nc?, h? r?l??d ?n th? ?nn?r ch?cks ?nd b?l?nc?s ?f th? syst?m, ?s w?ll ?s th? d?v?rs?ty ?f g?v?rnm?nt ?g?nts t? n?tur?lly “l?m?t” f?ct??n?l gr?wth ?nd p?w?r.

Th?n w? must rush ?h??d n??rly 200 y??rs t? 1971. C?ngr?ss ?n?ct?d th? ?l?ct??n C?mp??gn R?f?rm ?ct, subs?qu?ntly ?m?nd?ng ?t ?n 1974 f?ll?w?ng th? W?t?rg?t? sc?nd?l. Th? ?ct l?m?t?d c?mp??gn sp?nd?ng ?nd c?ntr?but??ns, ?l?ng w?th s?v?r?l ?th?r m??sur?s d?s?gn?d t? pr?m?t? f??r r?pr?s?nt?t??n.

?n th? c?s? ?f Buckl?y v. V?l??, th? Un?t?d St?t?s Supr?m? C?urt struck d?wn th? c?mp??gn sp?nd?ng l?m?ts ?s unc?nst?tut??n?l, but supp?rt?d c?ntr?but??n l?m?ts ?n d?n?t??ns by ?nd?v?du?ls. Wh?l? l?m?t?t??ns t?chn?c?lly ?ppl??d t? ?rg?n?z?t??n?l supp?rt, ?cc?unt?ng m?th?ds ?nd ?nd?p?nd?nt n?g?t?v? c?mp??gns ?ff?ct?v?ly r?m?v?d ?ny l?m?t ?n ?rg?n?z?t??n?l c?ntr?but??ns. Thus, ?s c?mp??gn ?xp?nd?tur?s skyr?ck?t?d, ?nd?v?du?l (l?m?t?d) c?ntr?but??ns c?uld n? l?ng?r supp?rt th? bulk ?f p?l?t?c?l c?mp??gn fund?ng, ?nd c?nd?d?t?s ?ncr??s?ngly turn?d f?r f?n?nc??l supp?rt fr?m th? mult?tud? ?f n?wly-f?rm?d “p?l?t?c?l ?ct??n c?mm?tt??s” ?r P?Cs.

?f ?ll th? Fr?m?rs, J?m?s M?d?s?n ?rgu?bly w?s cl?s?st t? b??ng ? p?l?t?c?l sc??nt?st ?n th? c?nt?mp?r?ry s?ns? ?f th? t?rm. ?n pr?p?r?ng f?r th? Ph?l?d?lph?? C?nv?nt??n, f?r ?nst?nc?, h? m?d? ? th?r?ugh c?mp?r?t?v? study ?f ?nc??nt ?nd m?d?rn c?nf?d?r?c??s. ?n th? F?d?r?l?st ?nd ?ls?wh?r?, h? c?r?fully ?ddr?ss?d th? qu?st??n ?f “h?w ?n ?nst?tut??n?l f??tur? w?uld l??d ? p?l?t?c??n, ? c?t?z?n, ?r ? f?ct??n t? ?ct ?n ? p?rt?cul?r w?y,” ?s K?rn?ll n?t?s ?n th? ?ntr?duct??n (M?d?s?n 2003). ?lth?ugh l?ng r?c?gn?z?d f?r h?s r?l? ?n fr?m?ng th? C?nst?tut??n, M?d?s?n ?s p?l?t?c?l sc??nt?st d?d n?t r?c??v? much ?tt?nt??n unt?l th? m?d-tw?nt??th c?ntury. H?s st?ck n?w ?m?ng p?l?t?c?l sc??nt?sts ?s th? h?gh?st ?t h?s ?v?r b??n. “M?d?rn p?l?t?c?l sc??nt?sts v??w J?m?s M?d?s?n ?s ?n? ?f th?m” (M?d?s?n 2003).

?n?th?r str?k?ng p??nt ?s K?rn?ll’s th?s?s (“‘Th? Tru? Pr?nc?pl?s ?f R?publ?c?n G?v?rnm?nt’: R??ss?ss?ng J?m?s M?d?s?n’s P?l?t?c?l Sc??nc?”) th?t th?r? ?s ? fund?m?nt?l c?ntr?d?ct??n b?tw??n M?d?s?n’s f?ct??n?l c?mp?t?t??n ?rgum?nt ?n F?d?r?l?st N?. 10 ?nd h?s s?p?r?t??n ?f p?w?rs ?rgum?nt ?n F?d?r?l?st N?. 51; th?t N?. 10 r?pr?s?nts M?d?s?n’s g?nu?n? th??r?t?c?l v??w wh?l? N?. 51 “spr?ngs fr?m ? str?t?g?c d?s?r? t? dr?ss up th? C?nst?tut??n ?n f?m?l??r pr?nc?pl?s” (M?d?s?n 2003). K?rn?ll c?nt?nds th?t ?n ? truly r?pr?s?nt?t?v?, d?l?b?r?t?v?, ?nd r?sp?ns?bl? l?g?sl?t?v? b?dy ?n wh?ch ?ll f?ct??ns ?r? r?pr?s?nt?d (F?d?r?l?st N?. 10), m?j?r?ty tyr?nny w?ll b? pr?v?nt?d by f?ct??n?l c?mp?t?t??n w?th?n th? b?dy; ?f th?s ?s ?ch??v?d, th?n c?mp?t?t??n pl?y?d ?ut b?tw??n br?nch?s ?f g?v?rnm?nt (F?d?r?l?st N?. 51) ?s unn?c?ss?ry ?nd d?srupt?v?. K?rn?ll d??s d?m?nstr?t? th?t th? l?g?c ?f N?. 10 ?nd N?. 51 ?r? qu?t? d?ff?r?nt. But M?d?s?n n?v?r cl??m?d th?t ? l?g?sl?tur? ?n wh?ch ?ll f?ct??ns w?r? r?pr?s?nt?d w?s ? c?mpl?t? s?lut??n t? m?j?r?ty tyr?nny. ?n ?nd?p?nd?nt jud?c??ry ?nd ? sm?ll, d?l?b?r?t?v? S?n?t?–h?nc? s?p?r?t??n ?f p?w?rs ?n s?m? f?rm–w?s n?c?ss?ry ?v?n ?f ?n? ?cc?pt?d th? ?rgum?nt ?f F?d?r?l?st N?. 10.

M?d?s?n m?d? ? v?lu?bl? ?nd v?r??d c?ntr?but??n t? ?ur und?rst?nd?ng ?f p?l?t?c?l sc??nc? ?nd w?ll ?l?c?t pr?duct?v? ?gr??m?nts ?nd d?s?gr??m?nts. Th? v?lum? ?s ? wh?l? c?uld h?v? d?n? m?r? t? d?scr?b? h?w M?d?s?n’s p?l?t?c?l sc??nc? ?v?lv?d ?ft?r r?t?f?c?t??n ?s w?ll ?s m?r? t? c?mp?r? M?d?s?n’s p?l?t?c?l sc??nc? w?th th?t ?f c?nt?mp?r?r??s such ?s ?l?x?nd?r H?m?lt?n ?nd J?hn ?d?ms. Th?r?f?r?, th? h?rv?st h?r? ?s fru?tful but n?t y?t ?xh?ust?d.

References

Read, James H. “James Madison: The Theory and Practice of Republican Government”. Presidential Studies Quarterly. Volume 35. Issue 1, 2005.
James Madison: The Theory and Practice of Republican Government. Edited by Samuel Kernell. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2003.

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