In APUS last year, we spent time in the post-Revolutionary era discussing Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and key parts of the newly established government. Madison only seemed to be an afterthought. However, Madison was an essential part in crafting the new government, yet understanding his ideals appears to be quite difficult. We spent much of the Jefferson unit in APUS analyzing whether TJ tended to flip-flop on his previous plans, yet Madison's situation seems to be similar to that of TJ. A major proponent of a strong central government in the 1780s, Madison was a key supporter in the Federalist cause, even being called "the quintessential Federalist" in the reading. One of Madison's quotes from his Federalist #10 reminded me of John Locke: "No man is allowed to be a judge in his own cause, because his interest would certainly bias his judgment, and, not improbably, corrupt his integrity." Locke proposed a similar idea with "natural law," in that society would provide for protection (as everyone holds the flaw of objectivity). Madison had feared the power of the people and interest-driven politics, which led him to support a strong central government, with Congress acting as "a disinterested judge" to go through various societal interests. Madison feared the disunity and power of the states, acting in the interests of the corrupted, selfish people. Yet, what made Madison turn back in the 1790s, choosing to support Jefferson and a utopian world centered on the power of the people? The answer is all but clear. Madison felt strongly about various issues in the United States' post-Revolutionary government, searching for government reform in an muddled society, his nightmare. I believe that Madison's change-of-heart is as important (if not, of greater importance) than that of Jefferson - dubbed the "Father of the Constitution," Madison then introduced the Bill of Rights to protect minorities against a majority rule. Despite the little attention Madison's flip received in APUS, his ideas were integral in paving the way to building the post-Revolution era government.
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