- What concept that we have already discussed does “faction” remind you of?
Faction reminds me of both social classes and the worker vs. capitalist owner divide.
- According to Federalist #10 (written by James Madison), what is the source of wealth (private property)? What factor explains why some people get to possess wealth by owning private property, and others don’t (thus remaining poor)?
James Madison believed that the division between those who amass wealth and those who do not is in their mental abilities and worthiness of wealth. Thus those who are wealthy are more intelligent and deserve to remain protected from those who are poor and lazy, with less worthy interests. Also, if those who are wealthy are more intelligent, they deserve to make the rules not just for them, but for the poor who are unable to truly know what is best for them.
- Do you agree with this explanation of wealth and poverty?
No; this is an absurd justification. Wealth is tied to violence, place within social hierarchy, and therefore generational. Because wealth accumulates through the exploitation of others rather than any value one person is able to contribute, it can’t be a measure of intelligence or hard work but of the cruelty of the capitalist in charge.
- What is the core mission (“first object”) of the US government? Does this surprise you, does it sound different from what our society today seems to suggest the core mission of the government is? Explain.
The core mission of the US government seems to be the “protection of these faculties”, or the protection of differing thought. This is somewhat surprising, but makes sense as freedom of speech is a big point of pride and contention today. Even though Madison writes that this protection is the goal, he then proposes that protection doesn’t mean equality of weight; this is really protection of thought of the minority (again, white wealthy males) against the majority, and not protection of any majority, as would be most valued in a true democracy.
- Given the discussion in questions 1-4, are you surprised that Federalist #10 is not in favor of democracy, and supports a Republican (representative) form of government? Why would the author dislike a (pure) democratic form of government? Hint: think about how this question connects with the social classes…
I am not surprised that Madison supported a representative government. He writes for the protection of thought, but only because he is threatened by the implications for him and the other upper class white males if the majority were allowed a direct say. A republic controls for the dissenting majority because only those with similar fiscal interests would be able to take office, so the voices of the majority “faction” would be watered down through the lens of the elites until their say was insignificant.