Friday, September 12, 2008

Madisonian Model

The Madisonian Model of government established a successful system of government by distributing the powers of the federal government, creating a system of checks and balances, and limiting the control the majority factions held over the government. Madison created a model of government that effectively eliminated the threat of tyranny, and that model is still evident in the Constitution today.
James Madison believed that, in order for a government to succeed, the power of government must be outside the hands of the majority factions. Madison’s idea of restricting the amount of power the people have in government decisions is evident today in the electoral process. The American citizens can only directly vote for the members of the House of Representatives, the President is elected by the Electoral College, and the Supreme Court Justices are appointed by the President with the help of the Senate. Therefore, government officials are elected by a small minority, not the people themselves, making it impossible for the majority factions to takeover. Although Madison’s main idea of limiting majority control is still used today, it has changed over time. The seventeenth amendment established the direct election of senators by popular majority, giving the people more power over government officials.
Madison’s proposal of separating powers is also depicted in the Constitution today. The doctrine of separation of powers creates three main branches of government, the Judicial branch, the Executive branch, and the Legislative branch. By dividing the federal governments power equally among the three branches, the power is separated, eliminating the threat of one group having total control.
Madison also created a system of checks and balances in his model to prevent political corruption from forming in anyone of the branches. The system allots each branch the power to check and balance each other. For instance, the president can veto congressional legislation, but the Senate can override that veto. Also, the Supreme Court was given the power of Judicial Review through the case of Marbury v. Madison in 1803, and therefore can declare laws and rulings made by the other branches of government unconstitutional.
Although Madison created a successful model, as with all governments, it has its problems. While the separation of power and the system of checks and balances eliminates the threat of tyranny, because the separate branches have the ability to check each other, political interests may get in the way, resulting in a political gridlock and a very slow legislative process.


Tim Coit said...

Good writing Mckenna, but you need to go back and put in the issues- policy gridlock


Paul said...

Thanks for posting this! I am taking a US Gov. course right now, and you made the Madisonian model pretty easy to understand. maybe you could add in more about checks-and-balances though?