Plato Vs Government

1616 Words7 Pages
James Madison and Plato each had different views on society and how to govern. In each of their respective philosophies the issue of human nature and power in relation to governance arose. Plato, which one could say had a very pessimistic view of human nature, did not believe that democracy was the wisest form of government because humans were naturally flawed and the average person was not intelligent or informed enough to choose the best leader. According to Plato, power was not only an issue, but the desire for power, which runs ramped in democracies, was also an issue. In a democracy anyone can decide to run for office. This is a catalyst for corruption from power seeking individuals. Plato believed a “Philosopher King” should be selected…show more content…
The concept of “federalism” was introduced in the “Federalist Papers” and implemented into The United States Constitution. Federalism is a system of government which the states share power with the federal government. In essence, the states have their own constitution and government, as does the federal government. The states are granted a fair amount of freedom and autonomy but ultimately the federal government has the ultimate authority. This concept was instituted because James Madison believed in strong balanced central government. In James Madison’s essay titled “The Structure of the Government Must Furnish the Proper Checks and Balances Between the Different Department, the 51st essay of The Federalist Papers, he elaborates more on the concept of checks and balances and how it is intended to function in government. Madison believes there should be branches of government and each of these branches should depend on the other as little as possible. The leaders of each branch will naturally act in the best interest of the branch which they belong, essentially disallowing a dangerous concentration of power to accumulate in a single department of government. Each time another department or branch of government would try and encroach another’s power, it would be…show more content…
Since the legislature is to be the strongest branch, Madison was even more paranoid of its need for checks and balances to combat the potential for corruption. Madison believed in a bicameral legislature which consisted of an upper house and lower house, each with different term limits, number of representatives, powers and responsibilities. The upper house would consist of the Senate. Madison dedicated an entire essay, Federalist Paper 62, to the concept of the Senate. The Senate, which is intended to be the more senior house of the legislature had an older age requirement and a longer term of 6 years. This initially implies that the Senate was intended to be less responsive to the people and more stable to deter the House from passing too many laws. Although many of the founders were fearful of a tyrannical government, they were also fearful of oppressive majority rule, given the fact that the average person was not well educated or informed. Senators were originally chosen by state legislatures until the 17th amendment, which allowed for their election by popular vote. The construction of the Senate gives an example of the slight distrust of the people by the founders. There not only needed to be a balance of power to check the government, but

More about Plato Vs Government

Open Document