Front Page Titles (by Subject) Majority Tyranny - Literature of Liberty, July/September 1978, vol. 1, No. 3
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Also in the Library:
Majority Tyranny - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, July/September 1978, vol. 1, No. 3 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
This work is copyrighted by the Institute for Humane Studies, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, and is put online with their permission.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
“Majority Tyranny and the Extended Republic Theory of James Madison.” Modern Age 20 (Winter 1976): 40–53.
In the Federalist 10, Madison argued that an extended republic can control the effects of majority factions without violating basic republican principles. Madison believed that little can or should be done to eliminate factions, because they will always be with us. He placed little reliance on appeals to a higher morality or religion in staying the hand of a majority faction. By the same token, he had little faith that written constitutional limitations can block factions.
Madisonian theory presupposes relatively passive government. The theory's main supports are essentially the following: (1) multiplicity and diversity of interests to reduce the possibility of a union of interests through common motives; (2) an independent force, free of the interest bias, that is more likely to reflect the accepted norms of the community in its decision making; (3) representation that will temper deliberations.
Of these, only the first—multiplicity and diversity of interests—is sound.
Since the New Deal, a dramatic shift in our thinking about the legitimate role of government has rendered inoperative Madison's view of the role of government. Equally important in disintegrating the independent forces produced by positive government is “secular liberalism,” which has justified and propelled positive government.
This ideology is poles apart from Madison's theoretical presumptions which were plainly not relativist. Secular liberalism's attachments to pure democracy promise to reduce even further the possibilities of Madison's independent force.