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Madisonian Democracy - Essay Sample

5 pages
1189 words
Carnegie Mellon University
Type of paper: 
Term paper
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Madisonian democracy refers to the effort of holding each other accountable in enacting as well as crafting policies that endorse justice. In a bid to prevent one branch of government from exerting too much power, Checks and balances are imperative. Understood as a way of expressing good wishes that are spread among the people and not as a mechanism for feeding self-interest. Such amendments are essential to the civic ethic that goes beyond federalist arrangements and inter-branch relations to the creation of civil society and voter activity. Popular participation in politics is crucial, but not on the voluntarist levels that have come to dictate democratic theory. This essay aims to look into the Civil Rights Movement and the Madisonian Democracy to explain the quality of democracy in America.

Madisons definition of a faction is a group of people whether the majority or minority who are motivated and united by some common interest or passion, contrary to the collective and permanent interests of the community ("Madison and Factions"). This definition stands to encompass any living generation concerning remote past or future generations. Madison undoubtedly felt that one of severest problems posed by either majorities or minority groups was the danger to the population's long-term interests. To avert this issue, Madison awarded some amount of faith in the good judgment of the character of voted leaders. Nonetheless, he also noticed the need for additional institutional precautions, and this justified recommending a country of such vast and diverse territory.

Unfortunately, while the dependence on size is helpful in assuring that different geographic, as well as economic groups, do not turn oppressive, it does not facilitate protection against the inclination of any given generation to discriminate against the voiceless and disadvantaged generations who will succeed them shortly. Future generations remain relatively powerless irrespective of the republic's geographic size and hence requires special structural safeguards ("Madison and Factions").

The other broadly accepted parameter for determining eligibility or equal protection must take into account the closed nature of the class in need of protection. This concern is at times referred by terms such as permanence, insularity, and immutability. Whatever the case, the first perception is that a disfavored group of people deserves a higher level of judicial protection to offer an opportunity to its members to switch from the relevant disadvantaged class to the otherwise favored individuals ("Madison and Factions"). Isolated future generations indisputably establish an unchangeable, closed class in the sense that the members of future generations cannot change their location in time whatsoever. If past generations impose social, economic, or environmental challenges onto posterity, then the members of those future generations by no means whether personal merit or collectively change their lives positively in time to evade the problems and benefit from the current generation's advantages.

One sensitive class recognized under the core guidelines as needing protection is the group of non-residents, persons who do not live within the physical boundaries which the government provides. One way of appreciating the political position of future generations is to view them as particularly a disenfranchised sub-collection of not-yet-residents or non-residents. Under normal circumstances, non-residents are protected due to their inability to voice themselves politically, this then means that 'not-yet-residents' are in greater need of protection. Dicta found in the Supreme Court's abortion rights cases seem to oppose the theory of 14th Amendment clause that mentions the protection of remote generations. For example, In Roe v. Wade, , the court discontinued the debate that a fetus is actually a "person" within the definition of that word according to the 14th Amendment, stressing that in nearly all . . . instances, the use of the word [person] is such that it has application only postnatally.

There exist a relationship between the important political events and eventual policy outcomes of the Civil Rights Movement and the American Madisonian Democratic institutions. The Civil Rights Movement is one of the most painful and at the same time the most beautiful events in United States history. Nonetheless, the hostility of humanity in regards to hatred and violence was evident, but to the contrary as well. People from different backgrounds assembled under front-runners such as the late Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, President John F. Kennedy, and many others to fight for the rights of individuals they never met before. Everyday citizens including James E. Chaney and James Meredith endangered their lives to fight for the minority ("Timeline of Major Events in the American Civil Rights Movement").

An event such as the 14th amendment to the constitution approved on July 9, 1868, was a game changer. This change ensured that all persons born or naturalized in the United States, attained citizenship including recently freed slaves. Additionally, it prevents states from rejecting any individual "life, liberty or property, without due process of law" or to "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. By declaring various roles of the states, the amendment significantly facilitated the protection of civil rights to all American citizens and is mentioned in many court proceedings than any other amendment.

The Grandfather clause was another significant political event in United States history. To minimize the number of colored/ black voters, States especially in the southern part of the country regularly set up a series of obstacles to be dealt with before voting. The hurdles included property ownership qualifications certain taxes, and even literacy tests. The obligation of those requirements also affected the number of poor white voters. Southern lawmakers decided to introduce the grandfather clause," which relieved voters from the limitations only if their grandfathers voted. This move segregated the blacks. The year 1915 saw the grandfather clause canceled by the Supreme Court as it violated the 15th Amendment.

In conclusion, the Civil Rights Movement and the Civil rights policy in the U.S says a lot about the quality of American democracy. The Civil Rights Movement is responsible for many victories. The 14th Amendment, dismantling of Jim Crow segregation in the South, scraping of the grandfather clause, criminalization of racial discrimination, to the awareness of the African American heritage and culture. The 2008 election of Barack Obama, United States first African American president, is an indication of how far the struggle has come. Full economic, social, and political equality should be the main objective of any government. Minorities continue to be imprisoned at alarming rates. Men of color continue being victims of police brutality, while poverty rates among the black community are higher than any other. Stereotypical representations of African Americans prevail in popular culture. Retrospection upon the civil rights in the US, it is evident that baby steps can produce a difference. It took many political events to attain some level of equality. However, America cannot fully achieve greatness until every individual is indeed equal.

Works Cited

"Madison and Factions." Preamble to the Constitution & Environmental Law,

"Madisonian Democracy." Abstract Management, Conference Management and Research Search Engine,

"A Timeline of Major Events in the American Civil Rights Movement." Personal Injury Attorney for All of California,

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