Wood argues that although James Madison’s actions in the 1780s and those in the 1790s were inconsistent, Madison himself didn’t drastically change his views. He says that in the 1780s, Madison was ostensibly supporting a very strong national government. Madison strongly advocated the Virginia Plan during the Constitutional Convention, which would have made both houses of Congress based on population. He also supported a national veto for state legislation, and other sometimes bizarre additions to the constitution that would have strengthened the national government.
By the 1790s, however, Madison had turned against Hamilton’s plans for a very strong national government. Wood argues that this change wasn’t so much a change in Madison’s views on how government should work as a realization of what Hamilton’s idea of a government would entail – as Wood says, “...a real modern European type of government with a bureaucracy, a standing army, and a powerful independent executive.” Madison didn’t want this type of national government, but instead a more idealistic republican form with a more judicial way of controlling factions and states. Wood argues that Madison broke away from the Federalists because of this, and “...had no sense of inconsistency in turning against the state that Hamilton was building in the 1790s.”
I think Wood’s analysis of Madison and the evolution of his views on Federalism is applicable to our political culture and system because Madison’s poor opinion of the kind of government the Federalists ended up beginning shows that he’d have a poor opinion of our own government. Also, Wood says that Madison found factions inevitable and therefore realized that people would join interest groups as we see today. However, Madison also thought that people wouldn’t just look out for their own interests but would approach government with a “disinterested” view.
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