The Arguments of James Madison on the Unequal Distribution of Property in the United States

Category: America, Property Law
Last Updated: 13 Mar 2023
Pages: 5 Views: 70

James Madison, in Federalist No. X writes .. the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property." (Madison) According to Madison the distribution of property will always be unequal as long as there is a democratic government in place. Madison argues it is only a matter of time before there is a common interest or passion shared between the majority of the whole. Thus not allowing there to be an equal representation of what the minority in the whole believes would benefit them as well. Structure of this kind creates corruption within the society and government. Private property is scarce it lands in the hands of a few in society. Which is why private property is used as a tool to manipulate people into seeing property as motivation to show their place and status in society. It ultimately brands the capitalist environment as a democracy, one who tries to sell what they can to the public. It is a tactic that works to better the state.

Though it does seem to create factions in the communities. Madison claims "Among the numerous advantages promised by a well-constructed Union, none deserves to be more accurately developed than its tendency to break and control the violence of faction." (Madison) This mainly creates "bad" factions. Madison claims there needs to be more control over the outcomes of the factions. There are two natural distinctions of inequality according to Madison. The first is natural inequality which can be applicable to age, phenotype, or sexual orientation. The second is political inequality. Citizens rely on the morality of the those in office to make good policies that reflect good judgment. The political inequalities are related to the man made distinctions such as education, religion, property and voting rights. Another prominent distinction is made in the value a society gives faculties. Such as the difference in one's physical ability and mental capability. A physically intense job that requires more labor is usually going to be paid less because it is less mentally intense. A higher paying job is given to those with a higher education. Most of the times factions are made to only benefit the majority. It results in the undermining of the minorities in society. It begins to divide the society, our people against your people. There are various forms of bad factions.

For example, the division in Congress into two branches; the house and senate. It creates the separation of powers. Each branch is elected by different groups of people the government becomes limited as ambition is always checked by the checks to reassure their accountability.. This happens before approving policies. It allows citizens to exercise their man made faculties. However Madison states "The diversity in the faculties of men from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of govermment." (Madison) This reveals the need for government to control differences in society. It also advises the differences can be handled on a more inclusive part of society. In a limited government there is limitation on the ability to make new policies. Madison pushes for the idea of a compound republic because it guards against oppression from the people in power. It also guards from the division in society no one is against one another. It has double security as the people give power to the state. This in part has more inclusion for different interests and sects, "As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other." (Madison) This society promotes immigration as a positive part of a strong state.

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The diversity between people brings different interest and faculties. This is why freedom of religion is important for a republic because it encourages different religions which creates more factions. More faculties leads to more opportunities. It turns out to be a market driven by faculties. For example, there would be choices made out of self love and interest. Factions are seen as inevitable in a democratic society. Simply because a capitalist society requires you to contribute to the market in order to have a role in the community. A citizen is expected to work, then get paid. Once they are paid they will be able to buy property. This is where the unequal distribution of property appears. This system in itself is a faction. Factions work for their own interest, ignoring the rights and interest of other citizens in the community. There are inequalities inevitably created as a product of the society. The society factions start to become gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, and propety. Therefore it creates too many divisions within the govemment and people. As a solution James argues that we need to control the effects of factions. He argues for the aspect of human nature. Naturally we are all different.

Government reflects human nature, the purpose of the govemment is to keep order within people. Madison writes "Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of govenment. What is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? (Madison) This statement can be seen as Madison's point to say there is no distinction between natural law because it was man made. Excluding it from being an authentic natural state. James Madison's argument is that factions are an outcome to the structure of government. A democratic govemment creates interest groups. Part of the reason democracies result in an imbalanced society. The makes a democracy different is there are an abundant amount of checks creating a limited government. A limited government governs less and implies one is free to act. In reality the government restricts the amount of change in society.

The interest groups are part of human nature, people are going to have different interest and status. Faculties are then created by the different abilities citizens hold. An important part of democracy are the goods and services. Value is placed on the goods, it develops the need of supply and demand. The unequal distribution of faculties applies to private property. In a republic the end result is more factions. Society decides what is valued. An extended republic is hard to accomplishment, but once mastered it can be turned to work in favor of the public. There is ordered liberty in an extended republic. This means there is less checking which allows for more policies to get done. There would not be parties because they operate to conduct business. Instead there would be representatives elected by the people to work in favor of the people. In an extended republic it is harder for majorities to form because there is more variety of parties and interests. A republic's end goal is for all the power is given by the people to a single government avoiding separations between governments. To ensure there is no majority group formed.

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The Arguments of James Madison on the Unequal Distribution of Property in the United States. (2023, Mar 13). Retrieved from

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