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tv   James Madison and the Constitution  CSPAN  November 5, 2014 12:26pm-1:58pm EST

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president of st. john's college. ist my great pleasure to welcome you to the college for great issues forum, sponsored by the friends of st. john's. we have a rich tradition at the college of encouraging life-long learning and inviting our friends, neighbors and wider community to join us for programs such as today's lecture. we gather as fellow learners to seek a greater understanding of enduring and challenging questions. for the past two decades, the great issues forum has brought the campus noted leaders and thinkers. elliott richardson, former attorney general, known as hero of watergate, commentator and political adviser, richard gergen, sandra day o'connor, arthur ashe, thomas king, governor of new jersey and chairman of the 9/11 commission. so, jack, you've got a lot to
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live up to here. well, today i have the privilege of introducing our noted speaker, jack rakove, an exceptional student and teacher of history, a pulleys zero prize-winning author. he'll share his insights on james madison's ticklish experiment at constitution making and will no doubt have us reflect. rakove is the william robertson co-professor of history of american studies and political law at stanford university where he's taught since 1980. he's also taught at colgate university from 1975 to '80. and has been visiting professor at nyu's school of law. he's a visionary scholar and author. his book "original meanings: politics and ideas in the making of the constitution" won the pulitzer prize in history in 1996. he continues to research, write
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and speak prolifically. his principle areas of research include the origins of the american revolution and constitution, the political practice and theory of james madison, and the role of historical knowledge in constitutional litigation. he's the author of six books, most recently revolutionaries: a new history of the invention of america, which was the finalist for the george washington prize. his other publications include "james madison and the creation of the american republic" and "declaring rights: a brief history with documents," among others. rakove is a american of the american academy of arts and sciences, the american philosophical society and a past president of the society for the history of the early american republic. he earned his b.a. from harvard college his ph.d. from harvard university. now, following his remarks at approximately 3:00, i'll come
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back up to welcome questions, which dr. rakove will then take from the audience. as you're thinking about those, you'll also be wanting to think about making your way to the microphones as this lecture and the questions are being filmed for c-span. please join me in welcoming jack rakove. [ applause ] >> well, it's a great pleasure for me to be able to speak at annapolis, sleeping around the corner from what used to be the site of george man's tavr republican, which means a lot to me because where madison, lamb i will ton, dickinson and eight other guys met in mid-september. exactly, more or less at this time.
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in 1786. and mostly because they were -- they really couldn't proceed with their business. they hit upon the idea of calling for a second convention to meet at philadelphia in may 1787. so, sleeping around the corner is a bit of a treat for me. it's also nice to be here at st. john's because i have the university of chicago connection. and there's a major university of chicago link to the history of st. john's. i was actually born at the u of c. and i know a lot about the great curriculum half a century ago when i was applying to college. st. john's was at least a school i thought about, although at least not the one i chose to pursue. it's also, in a sense, nifty because the main text at the seminarians who are here this morning were discussing, that i want to spend a little time talking and referring to this afternoon, was, of course, the federalist, the 85 essays that alexander hamilton, madison and
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john jay wrote to support the ratification of the constitution. and so that -- that work is part of the whole great books curriculum here at st. john's. i've been thinking about the federalist for a long time. my first seminar paper in grad school was about it. i've edited the cambridge companion about the federalist, which will come out in a few years. first we have to get the contract. these are subjects that are important to me individually but also have some connection to both the institution and the city where we're meeting today. we start by saying -- so, let me start by saying something about the title. james madison's ticklish experiment, for those who weren't here this morning is essentially the problem of constitution-making or alternatively the role of the people in constitutional revision. and so what i want to spend this lecture discussing is the nature of constitution-making as a
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process in a madisonian light. that's our general project. i'm going to refer to a couple essays of the federalist that you should have discussed this morning. let me start with a somewhat more general key. what one would usually expect, if you've had any acquaintance with it all, the essays you would know or remember maybe from a.p. u.s. history or an introductory class on american government in college. you probably know federalist 10, which is -- let's get the -- first i have to master this. this is actually the original version of federalist 10. as it appeared in the new york independent gazeteer of 1787, madison's first contribution. if you go to the bottom of the second column from the left, that's where federalist 10 begins to appear. we're not going to bother to decipher the text. like a lot of the slides are going to show us, it could be wholly indecipherable.
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just here for illustrative purposes. that's the federalist for exactly the last century, going back to 1913. as dominated american discussion of the origins of the constitutions. the texts where madison makes his famous arguments about the benefits of having a multiplicity of factions. if we want to preserve liberty, we can't do it by ascribing the same set of motives and purposes and characteristics to every member society. we have to assume that mernsz, like other people, are going to come in all shapes and sizes with a variety of interests and commitments and attachments. and what we really want to do is figure out a way in which we can make republican government secure from the mischiefs of faction. by taking advantage of that diversity. and the basic argument is it will be easier to do that in a large republic, like the perspective united states will be, than in a small republic as maryland was, for example.
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in 1787. so, there will be a real benefit to nationalism. the curious thing about federalist 10 is it's not really an analysis of a constitution. makes some suggestions that, perhaps, we can get a better class of lawmakers in a large republic and large districts, maybe the local demagogues will cancel each other out, of a more patriotic, a more elevated disposition to get elected but it's not a constitutional text. it doesn't discuss the constitution. in a sense it's a prologue to the constitution itself. so, to talk about madison as a constitutionalist, how he thought about constitution-making, the process of adopting a constitution, however important federalist 10 is, we have to move on to other texts. so, this morning, you know, i open -- i gathered there was a
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lot of going back and forth from past to present and maybe a lot of times spent in the present in many of the sessions. but i think there are a couple other places the federalist one has to look to get a better sense of how madison thought about the process of constitution-making. the place i want to start is actually with another federalist, which is not federalist 37, which is not read nearly as often or as closely as federalist 10 has been. i didn't know this until a few years ago but it forms a second introduction to the federalist. when the federalist was published in hard copy, on so to speak as a book in 1778, federalist 1 was obviously the first federalist for volume i. federalist 37 was the introductory essay for volume ii. in a sense, that's right. in federalist 37 madison shifts
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the discussion of constitutionalism -- i should say the constitution the federalist was putting forth from the general advantages of union, which have been alexander hamilton's big subject in the preceding essays to the specific dimensions of the constitution itself. and so what madison wants to do here is refocus the attention of his audience, originally, obviously, readers at the time, but those of us who still study it can find it instructive as well. madison, in a sense, wants to restate the problem. he wants to get contemporaries reading the federalist for illumination to think more seriously about the business of constitution-making. so, what he does here i think is quite interesting. let me say a few words about it. it's going to relate to things i'll go on and talk about as we move on. in effect, madison says, introductory remark, many allowances ought to be made for
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the inharpt nature of the undertaking, referring to the convention. in other words, what he wants citizens at the time and those of us reading it later to think about, he doesn't want us judging the constitution on the basis of any set of fixed axiums we might have, in which we might be committed as a matter of principle. if you want to judge the constitution fairly and accurately, or to use the phrase that he and hamilton would have liked, with moderation. moderation means adopting a reasonable attitude, thinking openly, critically, objectively, and fairly. doesn't mean in the midpoint. can you reach strong conclusions on one side or the other. but you have to reason with moderation. so for madison reasoning with moderation in this context means if you want to judge the constitution fairly and
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accurately, have you to take into account the real difficulties that its framers would have faced. and he identifies four. so, he starts with, you know, kind of -- in a sense, it's obviously a historical one. there's a lack of precedence. there was no real experience. well, there was experience at the state level but there was no real experience of creating a national republic, through a written constitution, acting as supreme law on the dimensions or what the powers that the framers were thinking. there were some negatives examples. madison could identify a lot of those. but the number of successful cases, not only few and far between. it's essentially a null set. there's nothing there really you can look at. one, you have to take into account the lack of precedence. they weren't making it up, but they were on their own. they were innovating. point number one. point number two, combining the requisite stability and energy
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in government with the inviable attention due to liberty and to the republican forum, or to restate this point, the very enterprise of constitution-making in the america republic involved reconciling two main goals, which are not entirely compatible. there's a desire for security and efficiency. the desire for strong effective government. the desire to have a government that's capable of meeting the needs of a modern nation state, which is going to have to compete in the world of nations with powers like france and britain and spain. then as always in a state of decline. and, you know, for the americans to compete, you know, we needed to have an effective government. that was the big lesson to be drawn from the wartime experience. certainly the people around george washington felt very acutely. and yet at the same time, americans were deeply committed to principles of liberty. so, a great lesson to have in mind for our own time. if we think about the constitution since 9/11, think about all the debates we have about how to balance liberty and security. we don't want another 9/11, for
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lots of obvious reasons. but we're not sure how far we want nsa to go, for example, in terms of how much information they're going to collect on us and what use they can make. so, the very enterprise of constitution-making involves reconciling principles that are not themselves entirely compatible. they pull us in different directions. we're committed to both and we may come down on different sides. if you remember the aclu, you know, as i have -- have been, although i wax and wane. i was once employed by them in 1969. i'm not crazy as having snowden as one of aclu's current mascots, or whatever phrase is appropriate. i have somewhat mixed feelings about that. so, we're committed to liberty. we're committed to security. the framers have to work out some unsteady balance between the two of them. the third point is actually the most important, the most
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difficult. making a proper line of partition between levels of branches of government. at this point those of you who read the seminar materials for this morning remember madison goes off in a long reflection about the very difficulty of dividing powers and responsibilities, both among levels of government, nation and state, and among branches of government. and he does this in an interesting way. compares it to moral philosophy and the study of things we find in nature, whereas he says the divisions in nature are perfectly accurate but we lack the means to out serve them fully, with what happens when we have to talk about human institutions. it's actually the most important part of the essay. i wish hi more time to explain it. you just have to take my word for it. where madison really reflects on the very uncertainty which is inherent in political discussion. he draws in some very -- very concise, draws in -- for st. john's students, some lessons
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from loch, particularly loch's lessons on language. why language is so immutable, why language is a problem. the fourth problem he mentions is the interfering pretensions of different interests. we have large states and small states, on the basis of where you live, that's going to affect how you think about political issues. you have precommitments on the basis of who you are. to take this in terms of modern social philosophy, there's no john walfrom which you can step when you think about what your future will be. we all know who we are, what our stakes are and we'll act on that basis. for all these reasons madison says constitution-making is necessarily an imperfect process. and it's a very -- when you think about it, it's a very powerful essay. there's nothing like it in the 30-so volumes we have on the materials of the ratification of
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the constitution. it's a very self-conscious reflection on the very difficult daisht inherent difficulties of constitution-making. so, that's my first point of departure here. the second has to do with the passage from federalist 49. really federalist 49, federalist 50. i'll assume rise those quickly for those who were here this morning and those who are newcomers this afternoon. so, these two essays, this is a long passage, which i better read. it's kind of fine print, as you guys are seeing it. it's a very curious part of the federalist where madison does something kind of funny. it's in the discussion of separation of powers. from what many americans thought mond
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mont skew had said. so madison has two essays where he sets up the problem. how should we think about the separation of powers. then he has this curious diversion where he talks about jefferson proposed revision of the virginia constitution. and jefferson's idea there is when you have big controversies between the departments, the best way to solve them would be to call a convention representing the people as sovereign source of political authority. and the delegates of that convention would come together and they would, you know, work out the issue. maybe they would reformulate the role of institutions. it's to say the people themselves, to use the phrase the framers like, the people themselves would become the constitutional mediators. nobody was talking about this. nobody was thinking about this. nobody other than jefferson had proposed it. and nobody other than madison was really concerned about it.
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so, it's kind of a curious question here, why would madison go out of his way to discuss it? and what importance did he attach to it? i think the general thought is he went out of his way to discuss it because he wanted to say, we can't rely on the people to perform the role jefferson wants it to play. we need some scheme of separated powers to make this work. we can't ask the people to be actively involved in the process of constitutional revision. as important as the people are, as much as the outcome of elections matter, we can't really expect the people to play a mediating role in maintaining the constitution. in this way, as jefferson had proposed. and in the course of doing this, madison writers what i think is a fascinating passage. i like it because it provides me with my title. let me read this out loud. notwithstanding the success which attended the revisions of our established forms of government, meaning the governments of americans created in 1776 and 1777, in which does
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so much honor to the virtue and intelligence of the people of america. it must be confessed that the experiments of are too ticklish of nature to be unnecessarily multiplied. then he gives us a set of reasons for appreciating this thought. he says, we are to recollect all the existing constitutions were formed in the midst of a danger which were oppressed passions mostly to order of conquer. enthusiastic of the people and patriotic leaders which stifled opinions on great national questions. new and opposite forms, meaning opposite for monarchy. produced by universal resentment and indignation against the ancient government. whilst no spirit of party connected to the changes to be made or abuses to be reformed could mingle with levin in the operation. so, very powerful reflection on how americans had thought about their right to alter -- their lacking right to alter and
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abolish governments a decade earlier. back then as madison was saying, we had a lot of success in creating new constitutions. of which wernd be -- we're justifiably proud but we should not be too arrogant or too confident about the achievement we made then. why? because we also have to appreciate that number of exceptional circumstances were operating, that were conducive to a positive result. you know, it was the midst of a revolution. we're all patriots. we were reacting against monarchy. we had great confidence in our leaders and so on. those conditions fit the atmosphere of the revolution a decade earlier. you cannot assume they would be the ordinary stuff of american politics hereafter. if you actually tried to have a procedure of constitutional revision where some issue was deeply contested, we may not have the same set of circumstances prevailing in the future. so, it might be better, it might make more sense operationally to rely on the separation of powers.
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so, these are, i think, two wonderful ways to kind of think about the essays, some you have guys read and discussed this morning. as, you know, introduction to, you know, the larger problem of thinking about how well our constitution is operating today. two deep reflections. one, think about the inherent problems, inherent, in any process of constitutional decision-making. you know, before we reach strong judgments you have to think about the issues the decision-makers have to deal with and they're quite serious. and then, two, think about the dangers of invoking -- you know, invoking popular authority, whether might not be destructive but the overall authority of the regime in that way. so, that's a long introduction. what i want to do now is since the day is presenting device of american politics in madison, i'm going to throw out a few suggestions on my own. none of you has to take any of
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them very seriously, about what i think might be wrong with contemporary politics, where i might start as law-giver, if i had that power. then i want to come back and talk more in detail about madison as a constitution-maker. chris, by the way, when you want to give me the hook, i don't have a watch up here, let me know. i often depend on the kindness of strangers in this respect. so, if i were identifying -- you know, i understand a whole array of topics came up in this morning's seminars. fy were to identify three that really drive me nuts, that i would want to change, let's say in the period of two weeks, if i had the authority, here are my favorites. one is i would absolutely get rid of the filibuster. which i think is unconstitutional. and -- well, i'm not running for office. it's just -- but let me make a quick argument about this.
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so, the filibuster might be acceptable, might -- or let's say some more open-ended rules of debate might be accepted in the senate if you really thought it was about rules of not have e same rules as the house. it should have different rules from the house. but you can make a good argument that what has happened in the modern senate with the 60 vote is that the rule of deliberation and decision have converged. what's not only a rule of deliberation that the senators should be able to debate as long as they can, it's no longer about debate. it's if you can't get closure on a motion, you can't really bring it -- you can't bring it to a vote. that's a rule of decision. it's no longer about deliberation. it's not being done to promote deliberation. it's being done to prevent decision until you reach a certain margin. the constitution is specific about when we need majority. you need two-thirds members in
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both houses. make sure i get this right. for constitutional amendments. two-thirds in the senate for the ratification of treaty. two-third in the senate for conviction of a president or somebody else on impeachment. three-quarters of the states to approve constitutional amendments. it's a very well-known rule of legal interpretation when it says the expression of one is the exclusion of others. when as it explicit about when super majorities are required, it's excluding other cases. on the face of it, notwithstanding the fact that each house has independent authority to set its own rules, this is deeply unconstitutional about that requirement. of course, if you worry about going in the minority, there's advantages to saying, hold on and practice. we deserve majority government. so if i had to identify -- then
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you pay the price at elections. if you get a majority, you have the right to rule. then you deal with the consequences. if the consequence is good, people re-elect you. if not, you will be turned down and some other party will come to power. that's a serious problem. the senate is bad enough as it is because of the equal state vote, which madison was against. makes no sense at all. there's no reason why wyoming should have two senators. i said this to a republican senator from wyoming a couple months ago. i felt good about that. he was a little surprised. but i felt good. in a sense, what's happened is the equal state vote rule, which madison -- that's as far as we ought to go to protect minority interest is the basis for creating additional protection for minorities. it has been squared in the process. i would have a national popular vote for the president in which
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one vote, wherever it was cast, would have the same vote as a vote in any other state. the states would have no actual role in the conduct of presidential elections. a vote would be a vote, would be a vote. for a long time i think particularly since the 2000 election, i thought about this. it's a one person, one vote rule, that a vote should be the same wherever it is cast. last couple years i thought there might be another reason, perhaps a better reason for making this change. it seems if you look at the current american presidency, let's go back to george w. bush -- let's go back to bill clinton and then george w. bush and then obama. all three presidents for different reasons have come to office with the kind of cloud of illegitimacy over them. i think clinton because republicans believed they were going to control the presidency forever after. and because ross perot ran and republicans felt he messed up the election, george bush senior
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should have won re-election. clinton had a cloud to begin with. bush, of course, had the problem of florida and bush v. gore which was problematic. obama i think the problem may have to do with the kind of persistence of racism in american political culture and other factors. in any case, it seems to be the last few presidents have had serious issues maintaining the legitimacy of their elections. and i think the very way in which our elections are conducted with red states, blue states and battleground states has complicated that. it taught us to think about the election of a president as an exercise in a political map where the big majority state goes to one side or the other and there is between an eight or dozen or 15 battleground states contested. the idea we contest on a state by state basis is -- it might be
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the presidency would be a legitimate institution with less controversy if it was elections by a national popular. i would get rid of life tenure for supreme court justices. maybe not for federal. but we know -- one thing we know about the supreme court is the politics of appointment have been highly politicized, probably going back to 1969, probably for the last 49 years. let's go back to when fortis was knocked out and warren burger became chief justice. a curious situation we have is we know how deeply partisan the appointment process has been. we know strong political motives operate. we see cases in which the votes are predictable in terms of the party affiliations, loyalties, commitments of the justices.
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it's strange they should be able to time their appointments to affect -- the conditions under which they will be replaced. justices have an incentive to stay in office to make sure they will be replaced in a sympathetic way. having some system of rotation, give them 18 years, 20, that's a fair amount to do your jurispruden jurisprudence. so those are three vices i just turned out just to be a little provocative and meet the assignment, show you i'm not just an 18th sen trcentury guy. i think about the present. let's go back to my alter ego, james madison. these are my two favorite portraits. this is madison in the early 1790s on the left when he is 40 years old, give or take a year. to me, i like it because it
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shows madison did not always dress in black as people said during his presidency. he had a certain eye for color. got a bit of pumpkin there or whatever. and then the part trortrait was in 1829. i want to urge everybody to visit a great historic site. we trimmed the property back to what it looked like in madison's time. it's a great -- it's a fabulous view of the blue ridge from the front porch. this is done in 1829. i love it for the deep seriousness. sometimes i want to say the bro brooding intelligence. he was brooding about where the union was going. i love the residual power that
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we see in madison in this portrait. madison the animated young man, the member in the early federal congress. madison the aging statesman reflecting deeply on what he had done. it's a place to start. let me say something about madison's mind, subject which interests me a lot. i have quotations from two of my graduate school professors. if you are a historian, it's a great quote to use. he had a historian's mind, which was a great intellectual advantage. i happen to agree by 120%. when you meet people who are historically ill informed, you wonder where did they come from. i like to say, everybody knows that. i'm told, no, that's not the case. i had a historian's mind, which
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was a great intellectual advantage. it enabled him to penetrate to the logic of collective action, even when on the surface there seemed to be nothing but random irrationality in partisan ra wrang wrangling. he looked below the noise. by reflecting upon previous occasions and experiences, he was always able to see a pattern. i think that's a perfectly apt way to think about madison. he was trying to think about the underlying patterns of american politics, just to be upset about the disdense. maryland figures prominently because of its debates over paper money. so madison had a historian's intelligence. this is history. not just random fact checking. history is what we do -- we try to explain why things happen, what are the causes of events.
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that's one great passage. second comes from my own mentor, bernard bayland. pain was an ignoramus. both in ideas and in the practice of politics, next to adams, jefferson, madison or james wilson. and then the sentence i really love. because it's so apt of the challenge of constitution making. he had none of the hard, quiz i cal, grainy quality of mind that led madison to probe the deepest questions of republicanism not as an ideal contrast to corruption, that was a traditional motif, but as an operating, practical every day process of government, capable
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of containing within it the explosive forces of society. that's a great contrast that he sets up. there was a long history of thinking about republicanism in opposition to monarchy. in some practices of italy of what republican government might mean. republicanism was seen as a contrast to the existing regime. that's not all madison thinks about. monarchy is over. we have to think about republicanism as a serious process. those are a couple points of departure, two portraits and two sketches. i want to focus on the document that i know that best illustrates what madison's mind and madison's way of thinking was about. this is a document that historians know as the vices. the prices of the political system of the united states.
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it was written mostly or comprehensively in april 1787. i will say more about this in a few minutes. madison at that point was in new york city. congress could rarely muster a quorum. he had a lot of time free. this is a document which -- it took me a long time to look at it. this is done from the microfilm. wasn'ted to go back and look at the hard copy which i thought i was going to on thursday. so basically, madison has say set of observations. titles are on the left-hand side. you scroll through and without belaboring, you see it's what i think of as a working paper madison has written for himself. did he not like to write for public audiences. writing the federalist was an accident. had he gone back to virginia, he never would have written the federalist. just the fact he stays in new york and is available that leads
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hamilton to recruit him. you see madison, there's corrections. madison leaves places for further expansion. item serve season, we will talk about in a minute, and then item nine which starts -- item 11 which starts here. i have to point this out. you see on the right-hand side you see a big gap. right between the top seven or eight lines and the bottom. i have a young colleague at boston college of law school who is a legal historian. she is finishing a book, which mostly about how madison compiled his notes of debate. she has an interesting theory which i find provocative but don't accept. madison wrote the second part beginning midway on the page in the summer of 1787 when he was at the convention. this is important to us because it's from this part on that
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madison develops the argument that we know from federalist ten, the whole argument about faction. this is its first draft here. the question of did madison work this out before the convention or during the convention, if you are a working historian, it's an interesting question. say more about this as we go on. in any case, this is kind of an example of madison thinking, 12 items, the last of them impoe nens in the laws of the states has no text. i asked my students who write a question on the final exam as to what that text might have been. i want to talk about two of the items here. they really illustrate what i think was the kind of critical facets of madison's character as a constitution maker. i want to think about what i said this morning. constitution making is a difficult enterprise for all the reasons madison laid out. what makes madison so interesting is that i think he was the one member -- not the only member but the one member of the convention who thought
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most completely and comprehensively about what the whole process would entail. from framing an agenda of deliberation to figuring out the best way in which a constitution could be ratified and everything that would take place in between. to call him the greatest law giver is a title i feel fairly good about. i want to call attention to a couple of the things he does here which indicates the depth of his thinking. this is the paragraph ma madison -- the opening of the paragraph he calls want of sanctions to the laws of coercion in the government of confederacy. basic thing you have to know here is that under the articles of confederation, the original federal constitution, before 1787 to '89, for national government to work, congress required compliance of the states. congress would issue recommendations, requisitions,
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resolutions. the states were expected to implement them. they weren't expected to judge and rejudge them to say we like this one or not that one. it's not state sovereignty. they were thought to be obliged to carry things out but in the way most appropriate to their situation. this is what washington and all the military guys around him came to really dislike. it's a federalism of voluntary compliance. there's no coercive mechanism behind it. congress can't act legally binding on citizens in an ordinary way. no authority to coerce the states. madison takes this up in what is i think -- i could go back to -- flip back if i can do this. nope. wrong way. this is item seven, left-hand up to the upper right-hand side. so this is -- it's a single paragraph of analysis addressed to this question.
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this is the opening part. it says a sanction is essential to the idea of law as coercion is to that of government. the federal system being desperate for both wants the great vital prance pals of a political constitution. under the fom of such a constitution, it's nothing more xherns and alliance, but between so many independent and sovereign states. then madison asks the question, when madison asks a question, it's a question. it's analytical. from what cause could so fatal an omission have happened in the articles of confederation? from this point on in the space of six sentences, madison does the most con size and brilliant political analysis i think i have ever seen by anyone in a compressed space. he makes five points. if you look at how he is reasoning. you see the way in which his mind worked and what made him such a leading constitution
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maker. he starts with two observations. well, what did the framers get wrong? why did they not anticipate that this would be a problem? and the short answer is that when they wrote the constitutions back in 1776, the earlier passage we looked at from federalist 49, back then we were all republicans, lower case r, and we all believed in government by the virtue as we all -- we believed in the patriotic impulses that were moving up. we deferred to our leaders. we reunited. we rejected monarchy. we didn't think that it would be necessary to have some enforcement mechanism behind it. madison was reasoning like a historian. he is saying, the reason they got to wrong wasn't just some random decision they made. the real fact was that this actually fit the underlying asem gss of the second.
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a second historical lesson follows. what lessons have we learned since? even during wartime, the system didn't work. when we had an external threat that should have motivated us, the system didn't work very well. in peace time, it's working less well. that's not a surprise. then he asks a question, one of madison's questions, it's really a question. owe says, how could it be otherwise? and at this point he shifts gears intellectually. i have fun with my students getting to ask the question, tell me in what way or discipline -- i know disciplines aren't popular at st. john's. at stanford they count for a lot. in what discipline is he reasoning now? madison comes up with three answers. states have different interests. so they are not equally committed to any given outcome. states are differently situated. they have different characteristics. you can't expect the same compliance with every state. second, within every state you will find what he calls
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popularity to use us say running against washington, the city, not the president. running against washington. within every state you find politicians who will want to criticize compliance with what the national government wants for their own powers and motives. third, what's best he says even when we have -- even when we have a latent disposition to agree on measures, we have doubts about each other's compliance. even when we may actually agree in principal, if we aren't certain if virginia will comply or virginia is not sure maryland will comply, they actually probably maryland and virginia, remember where i am. if you are not sure what your neighbor is going to do, why should you go first? if you think about this, and you have any background in economics or political science, you realize when madison is doing in engaging in game thee receiptic reasoning. game thee receiptic reasoning. meaning exactly what the economists and political
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scientists do now. he is trying -- assuming that federalism -- federalism of voluntary compliance is a game. it's cooperation. everyone should agree to support congress. that way we will have effective national government. but strategically, state by state, there will be different incentives to comply and to shirk. if you think about the factors, this will never fail to render federal measures of -- if we rely on a system of federals and based upon voluntary compliance, it's going to be prone to break down. these are structural conditions. it's not just the lessons of history that madison has spoken about. these are structural conditions that will always exist. therefore, if they always exist, the federal system is not going to work effectively. what's the alternative? the alternative is that we need
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a national government operating by law not on the states but on the population directly. you have to cut the states out of the loop. it's the major transformation i think which sets up the agenda for the federal convention. we're not going to think about a system of compliance of the states with federal measures. we will think about empowering the federal government to act sufficiently for its own purposes. think about that because i need a short break. this is where i like to say, thanks, i needed that. that's point number one. point number two that i want to discuss comes up in item 11. that's the long item i say where the professor and i disagree as to exactly when it was composed. if she's right, it has really interesting um complications for
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the origins of federalist 10 which is the major text for interpreting the federalist. this is where madison -- going into the convention, madison has -- a second major agenda item. the first is we have to change the very nature of federalism. we need a different system. it has to be based on law not voluntary compliance. if it's based on law, then we need a new set of institutions. we need a separate legislature, et executive, the whole architecture of government question comes out of that. madison introduces with item nine and continuing through 11 and 12, introduces a new item. he starts complaining about the states, not as federal units, not in terms of their performance of national duties. he starts criticizing them in terms of their own internal government. he says there are three things
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wrong with them. the first two are kind of right up there in the first passage. the states enacting too many laws. madison was a libertarian in some ways. he sees laws, passage of laws as the expense of liberty. too many laws being passed, maybe because there are too many being passed, they are being changed too often. he starts with two very specific complaints. items nine and ten. their injustice betrays a defect still more alarming. more alarming not because it's a greater evil in itself, but because it brings more into question the principal for public government. the majority rule in such government are the safest guardians both of public good and of private rights. public good and private rights are madison's two big criteria. the collective welfare of the
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whole, what are we committed to as individual liberal citizens. then he asked one of his questions, what what cauto what this evil to be ascribed. the first is to talk about institutions. the second cause, which may have been compiled later, is the people themselves and about the problem of faction within the larger society. this is a great passage because it quietly but powerfully the ground of constitutional thinking had shifted. the problem with constitutionalism for the framers of the constitution going into the convention was essentially a matter of giving the national government adequate authority to do what it was supposed to do. in a lot of ways this say national security question, it's also a matter of commerce and revenue. need not have required a large
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open-ended grant of legislative power. madison is adding a new element. there's a second set of problems here. that has to do with what is going on individually within government within the states. here he has two concerns. one is he is concerned that states will continue to enact legislation that will try to interfere with national policies. but his second concern, the radical breakthrough is he says we need to protect the rights of individuals and minorities within the states taken individually against the rule of faction majorities. meaning madison wants to say it should be a purpose of national government from this point on not merely to be sufficient for its own purposes, we want a national government capable protecting individual minorities within the states against misrule. there's good emphasis to think he cared about his own class, the wealthy, the propertied, those with the largest estate s
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like his father, the largest landowner in orange county, virginia. people like the carols of annapolis, charles, father and son, people of that stature. that's fine. but i think madison writing and extends to slavery in an interesting way. he was never very public in his feelings about slavery. there's an interesting passage where he discusses it and links it up to the problem of libertarianism. the key thing is that there's a vision of national constitution making which is not just about the open overt, obvious purposes of national government. there's a vision here which i think anticipates the 14th amendment from the civil war period. the key proposal that comes out of this discussion for madison going into the convention was to give the national government a veto, but a negative on state laws. meaning madison felt that for
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the union to be secure or to resolve what he called the disgusts against a government, what you wanted was to give congress and perhaps the senate the right to negative legislation. that would help the national government protect itself against the states should the states want to interfere. a great case here is mccullock versus maryland. it's the classic example of a state interfering with national policy. another example could well be brown v. board of education. could well be issues whereby minorities were permanently -- the ability of minorities to exercise their just rights would be permanently impacted because they were the oppressed minority within a state. there's a very expansive vision here of the possibilities of national government. so all this goes i think to a kind of lead to the general set of conclusions that i would like
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to reach. let's get our portrait up here so you are suitably inspired by the gravity of the moment. i spent a lot of time thinking about madison. i spent the last 40-some years doing it. actually, i've been working on the vices of the political system since the early '70s. the nixon years, as i like to say. brings to mind his maryland -- for a while his vice president whose name will not be mentioned here. i've come to see the analysis i gave you, i've come to see recently, it took me a long time to reach that. i spent a lot of time thinking about the genius of constitution making as madison embodies it. i have a number of colleagues who say, not without reason, that madison lost a lot of the things he cared about most. there was no congressional negative on state laws. eventually we get the 14th
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amendment which plays that role. madison lost that. he lost the equal state vote. he was deeply depressed by the idea that rhode island not to mention wyoming later reputive wyoming would have two members -- the same members of the senate of pennsylvania or massachusetts or whatever. he lost another proposal which he was deeply attached was the idea of a counsel revision, a joint executive judicial counsel that review legislation. he felt it would be better to improve legislation before it's enacted than to deal with consequences later. he didn't like the idea of remedying things by post litigation. if you could improve litigation -- improve legislation before it's enacted. he loses those points. look at madison's batting average. his rbi, his on-bat on-base per.
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let's be careful about the father of the constitution stuff. perhaps he was overrated. i don't really agree with that. constitution making is not like baseball. it's an entirely -- it's a bad analogy. it's a different kind of enterprise. what i find really impressive about madison is when you think seriously about his role at every point in the process of constitution revision -- back to 1780s. he didn't sit in congress because of jefferson he knew what was going on here. if you think about his role in the early congress, virginia assembly, at annapolis, looking ahead to philadelphia, framing the agenda for philadelphia, at philadelphia, in the ratification debates, enforcing his colleagues to take up the project of amendments, the bill of rights. he's involved in every phase of the whole project.
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the whole experiment, he was involved in every phase of it. every point his contribution is a major contribution. which is why we're still reading him. i think reading madison is great because he was a powerful -- i still do this my own writings. he's a powerful thinker. it's interesting because he didn't see himself writing for audiences. i think he did his best thinking for himself. some of his best statements when you read them they come in letters, memoranda, like the vices. they are one or two sentence expressions, why couldn't he give us a couple pages on this to expand on this. sometimes madison scholars have to pick up on the odd sentence and run with it a long way. i think we're justified in doing so. i wish he had spent 20 years of his retirement writing memoirs instead of letters and a few odd memoranda to make life easier for us.
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there's this kind of -- this sense of engantment and commitment and deep analysis of what's going on. i find him an impressive character. let's come back to our general sugges subject. i started this on a cautious note. i think we also -- we phase what i would call a madisonian dilemma. if i were the constitution maker, if i were the law giver, think about federalist 38 for those of you who read that this morning, remember madison says the aging confederacies, they had to be formed by a single law giver that had to skip down once his work was done. we have a process of collective deliberation. that's an interesting comparison. if i were the law giver, i could get rid of the senate or the filibuster rule tomorrow and have a national popular vote the week after and put the supreme court on 18 or 20-year terms. then i could go back to california where there's no
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humidity. i'm not sure about the humility side but i know there's no humidity. it's a great place to spend my career. in any case, there is what i like to call a madisonian dilemma. here is my last thought. then we will open this up to questions. no one better illustrates the promise of the american revolution than i think madison, maybe a side kick jefferson. these are guys who had a deep confidence in the capacity of human reason to think about how you might go about altering and abolishing and reforming governments. so we owe a lot to them. if we look around the world today with the countless tales of misery and failed transitions, i don't think we should take the success of the american founding period for granted. it was destined or divined from on high by the powers that be.
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i think -- i don't tli we should under value the significance of what took place here in a comparative perspective. it relied on having a lot of smart people engage in a committed way in framing a government however much i may dislike wyoming having two senators, that's not a crucial part of the story. on the other hand, there's that madison, who was deeply -- both the kind a kind reformer but also deeply conservative. worried about the down side risks, who was not confident about the capacity of ordinary citizens to exercise sew fis sophisticated judgment. he was no democrat with a lower case d. he was founder of the modern democratic party along with jefferson. he was no democrat, at least initially, with a lower case d. he believed people had a right to rule, that elections were consequence shall, people should have authority. but he was very dif i dent on a lot of the particular
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applications. so we have a kind of madisonian dilemma. we should be confident in our ability to improve the rule of government but we have to be nervous about the consequences. i thank you for the patience you have shown me and listening to me. thank you. [ applause ] >> thank you, jack rakove. a very fine talk. an ocecasion for questions. to come forward on either side of the auditorium. will step out of the way. >> thank you. i was struck by your recommendation, if you were rewriting the constitution or
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amending it, about supreme court justices, that you would limit their term to 20 years, let's say. my question is really in three parts. one, i will give it to you hard. >> say again. >> one, i don't always agree with supreme court's decisions. certainly, i think in the last ten years in particular, i think they are becoming politicized. but if you limit their terms, would they not become more politicized if that's the reason that you are advocating a limit? if you have other reasons, i'd like to hear them. number two, would you extend the term limits to all of the federal judiciary down to the
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appellate courts and to the district courts? and number three, i'd like to hear you discuss putting term limits on senators and congressmen. >> right. well, three good questions. you know, i'm being arbitrary here, i suppose. i don't think they would become more politicized. it seems to me that's the point about how the appointment process operates now and has i think for last couple decades. certainly going back to the mid '80s. if you go back further, think about eisenhower appointing a republican -- a democrat and so on. i think have i that right. what's the biggest change that's taken place in the supreme court in the last short period of years? you can make a perfectly -- this is the case made by journalists.
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the replacement of sandra day o'connor, a stanford grad, whose son was my student, of which i am proud, basically replacement of justice o'connor by justice alito. that's changed what's possible in the court. that's what made it possible. i'm not sure how important i think citizens united is. that's a more complicated decision than we appreciate. but the addition of alito to the court shifted the balance. previously, there were two swing justices, kennedy and o'connor. now there's one, although, roberts for his own reasons stepped in in the affordable care -- we don't know his withins, but took that function of the affordable care act. but alito is -- was a well nurtured conservative.
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and as soon as he was on the court, the new majority -- the emerging majority could act on what might really be its agenda. there's a long body of decisions relating to campaign finance regulations and so on that suggested more or less legitimate, some issues, but more or less legitimate. once the vote shifted, the court began fishing. the court indicated it was open for business. on these issues. i'm not sure it would make that much of a difference. seems to me those are the circumstances of what we have now. it's very hard to imagine how you get out of it. i was thinking of giving a deeper thought on this, which is to say, maybe we shouldn't take constitutional law so seriously. maybe the supreme court has just become a continuation of politicians by other means. i don't think that would be a bad answer. if you look at the position of the forminority justices on the
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affordable care act, which i think the majority of -- there's no constitutional objection to the affordable care act, the new deal agriculture case from the 1940s, cleared the way for that in terms of the authority of congress. and yet four justices prepared to strike the act down, even though the act is a reform from existing system. i don't know. i'm skeptical about that. i'm not sure there's an age benefit factor in term s of politicalization. term limits for all judges? i'm not sure about that. i think a lot of judges at the district and appellate court level like the consideration they are giving up more profitable practices often to have that position. they are not the ultimate decision makers. one worries less about their responsibility. it's important that they be
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conscientious. that's secondary to the supremes. as justice jackson said, we're not -- have to make sure i get this right. we're not supreme because we're infallible, we're infallible because we're supreme. we're not infallible because we're -- i'm going to get this mangled. you get the key point. i hope. term limits on others, that's a more complicated question. i was very -- i'm very much against term limits for members of congress. i wrote about this a long time ago back in the '90s when it was a live issue. we're happy re-electing our own members of congress. we want term limits for congress in again but rarely for the people who elect us who we are individually happy to re-elect. americans have the right to elect whoever they want to be re-elected. the first victim of term limits
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in american history, legislatively by the way, was -- anybody know? it's a trick question. we just heard a lot about it. it's madison. madison was term limited out of the congress. that's why it doesn't show up in annapolis when congress moves there because he is term limited out. so if it's bad for madison, i'm not sure it's good for the rest of it. that might be my principal. i don't know. it's not -- there's so many concerns about the extent of congressional corruption. i don't mean that in the narrow literal sense. if you talk to people like my former colleague larry lessig, people worry about the congressional workweek, which is short. now it's about three, three and a half days, if you want to be generous, the amount of time -- it's fine that they go back to the states. it would be nice if they spent more time on their proper
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business and worked out their problems in washington as welg. that one is tougher. about citizens united, so long as it's mentioned, is that it's not clear -- one thing we don't know -- i'm against ideas of a corporation of having rights freedom of speech or religion. that's problematic to me. it's not clear you can spend lots of money on advertising, unlimited amounts and not get what you want. the koch brothers wasted hundreds of millions of dollars so far. that's one of the main outcomes of the last election. i learned this from a colleague, the lifespan of most ads is very short. they don't have much bite at all. you could have that kind of open-ended market for free speech and advertising and not really affect very much. the decision may be bad on the merits. it's not clear how much damage it has done.
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>> you are arguing against faction as an evil in itself. and then you are saying we should abolish the electoral college and simply have a majority vote decide who is the president. >> right. >> as i understand it, the electoral college ensures that the president is in effect the president of the whole country and not just a region of the country. this doesn't look like a problem right now, since we have two strong parties. but it's conceivably we could have four or five parties running in which case a party which was a very radical and active faction could end up securing the presidency with, say, 25% of the vote. >> right. i mean, for starters, you have a national popular vote, what rules do you want to pertain? i assume you want to get to minimist 40 to 45%.
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if you want a runoff, to take non-trivial cases, have a runoff election in two to three weeks, i don't think that would strap us. i'm not proposing a scheme that would allow a small -- a small faction with a narrow plurality to be elected. there's aspects of that -- i think a big part of the development of the two party system -- it's not clear if we would have had a two party system without the presidency. if we had -- the model of parliament democracy in the modern form was not available to us in the 18th century. that's something we don't fully appreciate. the king still played a major role in determining who would be the chief minister. if you were to be the chief minister, had you to be able to command majority of the house of commons but also have the favor of the king and the favor of the
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king could be erratic. nobody in britain in the 18th century thought elections would determine who would be able to form a government. elections were a lot of rottenboros. they don't change very much. the leaders of different factions start negotiating and start with each other and then also with the king. so the americans in 1887, they didn't have the full model that we look at and sometimes envy able to them. i think historically, once we adopted the presidency -- had we not adopted the presidency, we could well have developed a party system that would look much different from what we wound up with. we had a party system from the late 18th century to civil war area which is very mutable. first party system, second party system, third party strict.
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parties forming, collapsing, reforming. the one thing that made them work was to gain the presidency. had you to cooperate on a party basis. i tend to think if we had national popular vote, those factors would work. the coalition forces to require -- would lead to two parties. i think third parties would have the lackluster history they have had the kind of interesting occasionally they might have some affect on the outcome but they have never really -- they haven't had any lasting existence that's amounted to anything. >> just one quick follow-up. if we had a runoff election, madison is worried about tyranny. he says if it's in one hand self-anointed group, if we have a runoff election, those of us who are worried about the influence of money and politics,
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wouldn't that even further enhance the influence of money in politics by forcing more money to come forward within three to four weeks to be raised very quickly and that would -- it would seem to be privilege the person who is the most favored by the wealthy. >> i think that comes back to my remarks on citizen united. we need to have more information. i know this is what my political science colleagues work on. we need more information about what affect does money actually have on the attitudes of ordinary voters. i'm not convinced that the enormous sums of -- i think it remains to be demonstrated, that the expenditure of enormous funds of money in presidential elections, that karl rove was rounding up, it's not clear how much of an affect it had. americans know who they want to vote for for president. those attitudes, those impressions with deeply imbedded in the body politic. i wonder if money is more
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important at the primary level where -- for a variety of reasons. i think it's -- i would be careful about over generalizing. i'm not in favor of the flood of money into american politics. it's a bad thing. it does have all kinds of corrupting affects. but i think its impact on elections is more complicated. i think actually in a national runoff election, i don't think it would be very important. by the time you get to that point, the citizenry would be educated. people you have to worry about are the moderates. by and large, today when we talk about moderates, we mean people that don't know what they think. it's not madison's notion of 18th century moderation. it's not a way of reasoning with moderation about political phenomena. you are in the middle and you don't know what you think. to be honest about it. who could be a moderate today? the differences between the republicans and democrats are so obvious. you would have to be an idiot to
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be a moderate. maybe that goes too far. how could you not make up your mind when the choices are so blatant? you do worry that in some kinds of elections if you have to appeal to that part of the body politic, god help us. people say god looks after fools, drunkards and the united states of america. >> speaking about moderates, how do you and how would madison feel about measures to eliminate jerry manderring? >> well, i think he would be all in favor. again, you have to -- you get involved with political science debate where it's important to know what the effect actually is. a lot of political scientists would say it's easy to make fun of it and denounce it. it's not clear how much of an
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impact it has on overall outcomes. if we had a better system of designing districts, it's not clear it would make that much difference in the politics. having said that, madison -- there sh in the constitution the time place and manner clause which gives congress the authority to override state legislatures in terms of kind of setting the basic rules for electing members of the house of representatives. congress used that authority in 1840 or 1842 to pass a districting act. down to that point, i think maryland may fit this. i'm not sure. a number of the small states still elected the members of the house at large, meaning not by district. i think maryland -- i think maryland had a system dividing into districts, but you would vote state wide for each district. there's a lot of experimentation
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in the beginning. madison this is a good thing. maybe we ought to think about what's the best mode of election. i don't think he was in favor of state wide. virginia used districts from the beginning. pennsylvania was state wide. madison was in favor of having -- of allowing -- of having experimentation but also favored the idea that there should be a congressional right to override rules adopted at the state level. one of his concerns is -- he said this in a letter in '87 or '88 or maybe at the convention, i would have to check, is that state legislatures might well use their authority over districts to -- in a kind of we would say one person one vote way. meaning -- madison voted if you had districts, they should be of equal size. he didn't like the idea of what happened in american politics,
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particularly -- in the 20th century, the original case of -- it was a narrow case involving an odd-shaped district. the practice in american,ed lead case comes out of tennessee where they required redistricting and for state legislative elections and was ignored. the farmers protecting themselves. i think madison liked the idea. it would be consistent with his criticism of -- madison's way of thinking, the state legislatures were the worst institutions in american politics, the ones he wanted to correct for a variety of reasons. electoral manipulation was something he opposed. i feel good about that one. >> that becomes kind of an appropriate lead-in then. i'm curious about what position
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you think states have both state legislatures and states as elements of the national government, especially given your recommendations of eliminating the two senators. >> that's just a personal thing. >> where do states fit into this government? >> i could speak for madison, not just because he's my alter ego. he discusses this, i think, in -- i have to check. maybe in the report of 1800 or elsewhere. it sounded like bill clinton. but it depends what you mean by a state. that's a serious question. here are three definitions that madison plays around with. we might say a state is a territorial unit. it has a geographic integrity. that's one defining characteristic.
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we might say a state is best defined as its government, its institutions and the election of senators by the state legislature would be conceived as a way to coordinate in a general way federal politics between state government and national. i think madison would also say in some ways this is the ladies and gentlemenic of federalist 10. a state is a society which is initially defined by its boundaries. but to know what that state is, you have to know what kinds of social groupings, using that term broadly, it embraces. it's one of the arguments i make against wyoming. anybody here from wyoming? good.
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the lodgic of the equal state vote says in effect that size should be a factor in representation if you don't have it, meaning, small states must have a special interest that has to be protected in terms of having equal state vote. small states don't have an equal state vote, their their basic interests are going to be dominate order overridden or whatever. the problem with that is, if you ever ask the question what are the interests of small states, you can't come up with an answer. don't look so skeptical. let's go across the chesapeake to the eastern shore. there are three states, right, delaware, maryland and virginia. i had a funny conversation about this once. i don't think there are that many differences of opinion. in the 18th century, one would
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have been a large state, virginia. the largest. one would have been a moderate, maryland. delaware is a mistake that was detached from pennsylvania. three counties detach, became a state for no obvious reason. i would assume that on the eastern shore, they have a common interest in chicken farming or oysters or whatever goes there. problem is i was in an airplane coming back from two people who -- is there a branch of the university of maryland on the eastern shore? they said they are very different parts of the eastern shore. i'm not convinced. at least i had to take their position into account. i still think they're wrong. the key thing is size does not determine. let's imagine -- do you own a weapon? do you pack? >> not currently. >> okay.
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very careful answer there. let's say you have a strong stake in the second amendment. you like to hunt or whatever. does it matter whether you come from western pennsylvania, deer hunter, working class culture. heard the face venison belt to describe western pennsylvania to michigan. suppose you come from western pennsylvania or you come from wyoming and the second amendment is your issue. elect obama, second amendment goes down the tubes. obama said that wouldn't be the case. size is not a factor there. i think you can generalize that -- i don't care what variable you pick. those are the interests that determine how we vote. there's never a question which you would ask what's good for small stays and what's good for the large state ss? that's the way it was discussed in 1787. virginia, pennsylvania, massachusetts, largest states, they have different interests.
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massachusetts is about fish. pennsylvania is about wheat. virginia, it's about tobacco. and then other factors like slavery or not slavery, which is non-trivial. i think it's a powerful that's argument. the only time the size of the state matters is when your voting on whether the size of the state should matter. i'm serious about. this you vote on rules of voting, there's no rules of ignorance behind which we can hide. >> you are take size to mean land area not population? >> population. wyoming is big, delaware is small, so is rhode island. >> but massachusetts is big. >> as big as its populace. not that big, you know, not that -- i come from california, just take it from me. actually, i come from illinois. >> nothing's big next to california. >> alaska, but nobody lives
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there. we have a washington monument and a jefferson memorial and a lincoln memorial and we put ulysses grant and andrew jackson and even alexander hamilton on our money. >> yeah. >> why isn't james madison more popular and what dos that say about us? >> two ways to answer that question. stay in a hotel across the street from the madison building, the library of congress. often in washington. so, there is a madison building which appropriately houses the manuscripts, the library of congress manuscript collection, including, of course, madson's notes, you might say that madison's commitment to the learning and the higher education is embodied in that building and may not be a statue or, you know, a monument, but it's -- you know, not inappropriate tribute to who he was and what he was doing. i think the larger question you
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are asking in some sways some ways more biographical and i think madison's problem is he actually had a -- had a very charming personality. in his own age, a great story term, loved to reflect on history, the events which he participated. but he was very much a public man. and if you compare him to those around him, you know, jefferson, say about jefferson, you could write a series of books called "jefferson and" and the number of points to fill out the and wouldn't be infinite but substantial. washington had charismatic status, head of state. with hamilton, very impressive record as a state builder. of course, hamill stone a mored a voen ch-- more adventurous gu risk taker, often bad risks taken. john adams was a raving ego maniac.
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so, they all have -- they all have distinctive personalities. i think madison, in some way, mortgage embodiment a reasonable 18th century gentleman. mary describes lots of adjectives to the convention. so far, not persuaded by any of them. avenues guy with a lot of experience in politics. actually, nobody had better experience delivery of government before 1787 than madison did. the idea the outcome of a particular debate would upset him, he was frustrated by some overall tendencies, but did have a mecurial position, up one day, down the next, i'm pretty skeptical about that well, you know politicians, if you know real politicians, the good ones, there were how to cope what politics was like, i think
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madison that was way. very hard to distinguish him from his public role. we call it the big six, the other five guys i mentioned, all other attributes to their personality, but madison, you really have to love the ideas, i love the ideas, i find him a great guy to work with. and aid love to figure out how we came to those ideas, i don't think there's a matter -- a question of st. john's but wasn't just about reading books, it was because he was politically active and deeply reflective about it. so -- >> when you think madison and yourself think about the solution of california to gerrymandering and punishing having open primary where the two top voters -- regardless of
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party. >> right. i don't have a strong opinion on this. i don't think we know enough about the results, 'cause it's only operated for i think a couple of election cycles now, there's not much evidence that's had much effect. the number of districts where it would actually actual-- for them to work, arguably what has to happen is someone strongly ideological on one hand and somebody the middle of the road but a decisive margin by appealing to the other party and just don't know that many cases because the other problem in california is in terms of state government is because republicans made so many mistakes in california over the last 20 years, it's a solidly democratic state, which is why jerry brown has been so successful, the old barriers put up are no longer effective. it is not clear how much is changing. a nursing experiment. again, like a lot of political scientists, i'm not -- it's not clear there's much evidence it's gonna have much of an effect, at
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least not yet. so i think we need a couple more elections to finds that out. thanks. [ applause ] next on american history tv, author and west point history professor, colonel gregory daddis on u.s. military strategy during the vietnam war, focusing on general william west more land. professor daddis argues general west more land's ideas were conceptually sound but an inability to implement them left to failureses in the unfamiliar battleground of south vietnam. the new york military affairs symposium hosted this convenient. it's about two hours. >> good evening. it's a pleasure to introduce our speaker tonight.
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colonel gregory a. daddis is an academy professor in the department of history at the united states military academy at west point where he currently serves as the head of the american history division. a west point graduate, he's veteran of both operations desert storm and iraqi freedom. he holds a ph.d. from the university of north carolina at chapel hill and is author of "no sure victory, measuring u.s. army effectiveness and progress in the vietnam war" oxford university press, 2011. his newest book "westmoreland's war, reassessing american strategy in vietnam," oxford university press, 2014, was recently selected for inclusion on the chief of staff of the army's professional reading list. colonel daddis is also an important -- important to this organization as liaison between the society for military hior


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