Constitution 101

The Problem of Majority Tyranny and the Necessity of Union

Overview

The national government under the Articles of Confederation was weak, and most political power remained in the hands of the states, where the state legislatures dominated.

These virtually unchecked state legislatures passed laws that were characterized by their multiplicity, mutability, and essential injustice.

This experience of a weak national government, on the one hand, and democratic tyranny or majority faction, on the other, taught the Founders that liberty is threatened by government that is too strong, but also by government that is too weak.

The Federalist Papers argue that the Constitution solves the problems of a weak national government and majority faction.

Federalist 10 proposes a two-fold solution to the problem of majority faction: representation and the extended sphere.

Representation will serve to “refine and enlarge the public views,” and in turn makes possible the extended sphere.

The larger amount of territory and greater number of citizens in this extended sphere will produce a “multiplicity of interests,” which will make it difficult, though not impossible, for a majority to feel an unjust impulse.

If an unjust majority impulse does arise, the extended sphere will make it difficult for the majority to turn its unjust impulse into public policy or law.

 

Lecture

Audio-Only Version

Download Audio

 

Recommended Readings

 

Discussion Questions

  1. Why is liberty threatened by a government that is too weak?
  2. What is a faction?
  3. How does a multiplicity of interests contribute to solving the problem of faction?

 

Q & A Session

 

Audio-Only Version

 Download Audio

 

About the Professor

Mickey Craig is the William and Berniece Grewcock Professor of Politics, and the Chairman of the Politics Department at Hillsdale College.

 

Available on the Hillsdale College Site

Quiz

Discussion Board

 

 

constitution-with-flag

navigation aids
to go to the site menu, return to the top then click the 3 bars to the far right

Do know that Hillsdale College has elected NOT to receive government grants nor assistance and is totally reliant upon tuitions, alumni, public donations as well as several other means — you can read more about this on their support page.

Please Consider a Donation for Them Today!

Advertisements

Please Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s