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Online Great Books Podcast

Dec 3, 2020

This week, Scott and Karl discuss James Madison's Federalist No. 51, titled: "The Structure of the Government Must Furnish the Proper Checks and Balances Between the Different Departments."

In this Federalist Paper, Madison explains and defends the checks and balances system in the Constitution. Of its effectiveness, Scott says, "He doesn't make any errors, he only makes oversights." 

Each branch of government is framed so that its power checks the power of the other two branches; additionally, each branch of government is dependent on the people, who are the source of legitimate authority. For Karl, this is the most important part of this paper: "Government means that the rights of the minority must be preserved, or else it's not a government at all."

Tune in to learn more about "the great difficulty” of founding, and Madison's core arguments for checks and balances in a federalist system of government.