The Federalist Papers – No. 47, No. 48, & No. 51

The Federalist Papers – No. 47, No. 48, & No. 51
Federalist No. 47
Author: James Madison
1. What does James Madison suggest in the second paragraph that begins “one of the principal
objections….” about the three branches of government?
2. What philosopher does James Madison refer to about the subject of separation of powers?
3. What does Montesquieu say about the separation of powers and how it relates to liberty?
4. What had the state of Maryland done for its state government in terms of the separation of
powers concept?
5. In the last paragraph, what does James Madison not want to be seen as an advocate of? Why
do you think that is?
Federalist No. 48
Author: James Madison
1. What do you think Madison means by "free government” and how much do you think
Americans value that ideal today?
2. Do you agree that if one branch of government had an "overruling influence" over how the
others used their power, we couldn't have a "free government"? Why?
3. How well do you think the Constitution resolves the "problem" identified by Madison?
4. Do you think that the way the separation of powers really works today leaves one or more
branches of government more vulnerable to invasion than another? If so, which ones, and
Federalist No. 51
Author: James Madison
1. James Madison’s plan for the distribution of political power in the Constitution was based on
a. concentration of power.
b. judicial power.
c. separation of power.
d. the power to petition.
e. majority power.
2. When James Madison said that “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition,” he meant
a. government must be able to dominate over individuals’ private interests.
b. government must have the ability to check individuals’ private interests, and
individuals must have the ability to check the government’s power.
c. since people are as good as angels, government will never have to worry about
people’s personal ambitions getting out of control.
d. since the elected government will be made of officials who are angelic by nature, few
problems will ever arise.
e. ambitious people will seek public office, motivating all citizens to be ambitious and
3. By a compound republic, James Madison meant a nation in which
a. power is divided between state and local governments.
b. power is divided between state and national governments, and then power on the
estate and national level is divided among separate branches.
c. two nations exist alongside each other.
d. power is concentrated on the local level.
e. the branches of the national government can add to the constitutional power of the
state governments if the branches all agree.
4. James Madison’s positive, optimistic view of human nature was reflected in his ideas for
America’s system of government. True or False?
5. With America divided into many diverse groups, James Madison believed that no single
majority could ever form except on behalf of the public good. True or False?