Food for thought from James Madison, our fourth President:

The security of liberty itself, according to Madison, depends upon protection for the rights of property in the distribution of suffrage.  If all power be allowed to the indigent masses, one of two things will certainly happen: either they will yield to blind passion in legislative attacks upon the more prosperous minority, or else they will become dupes of wealthy miscreants ambitious for power.  In either case liberty will be overthrown: in the first by despotism, the natural fruit of anarchy; in the second, by an oligarchy based upon corruption.


Question:  Do you see any applications in recent US history?






Despotism is a form of government in which a single entity rules with absolute power. That entity may be an individual, as in an autocracy, or it may be a group.


Oligarchy is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with a small number of people. These people could be distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, education, corporate, or military control. Such states are often controlled by a few prominent families who pass their influence from one generation to the next.



Writings (Cong. Ed.) vol. I, p. 188

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