The Federalist Papers (1787-1789)

by: The Founding Fathers

Federalist Essays No.47 - No. 51

Summary Federalist Essays No.47 - No. 51

Even if public opinion did fall on the side of the executive or judicial branch, it is likely that it is motivated to be there out of the persuasions of a strong political party. In any case, the people will decide more on their passions than on their reason leading to unjust balance of power between the branches.

All of the proposed external solutions to fixing a breach of power within mixed branches of government are ineffective. Therefore, it is necessary to structure the government in such a way that internal forces keep each branch of government in their proper place.

Each branch should have a will of its own and should have as little as possible to do with the appointment of members of the other branches. This is not as possible with the judicial branch, which requires particular qualifications as with the executive and legislative branches. These should be chosen from the authority of the people in different channels. Members of each branch should be as independent as possible from the others in terms of payments attached to their office.

The most important internal check on the power of each branch is to provide necessary personal motives to resist encroachments by the others. However, it is not possible to give each branch an equal power of self-defense because the legislative branch in a representative republic must by its nature be the most powerful. Therefore, this branch ought to be further divided into houses that have different processes for elections, different authorities, and that are not connected with each other.

There are two other characteristics of American society that will prevent the breach of power between the branches of government. In the American case, the authority of the people is first divided into a state and federal system of government, and then is further divided into separate departments at each level. Therefore, there is a double level of security to the rights of the people. It is also necessary to protect one part of society against another part. In America, this happens as a result of the diversity of different classes, regions and interests within the nation. The rights or interests of the minority have little chance of being usurped by a unified majority.

The larger the society, the more likely it is to effectively self-govern. And the righteous changes and mixture of federal ideas inherent in the U.S. Constitution will provide for such a large republican government that protects the rights of individuals while providing for the well being of the society.

The Federalist Papers (1787-1789): Popular pages