Democracy’s Dilemma

Based on A. C. Grayling, Democracy and Its Crisis (Oneworld Publications, 2017)

Acemoglu and Robinson argue that sustained economic growth requires both inclusive economic institutions and inclusive political institutions. Their modern-day standard for inclusive political institutions is a functioning democracy, but establishing a democracy is often difficult. The Arab Spring, which once seemed to be the harbinger of Middle Eastern democracy, proved to be short-lived. Free elections were held in Egypt, but they brought to power Mohammed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose attempts to impose Islamist principles fractured Egyptian society. He was ousted by a military coup and Abdel Fatah al-Sisi was installed in his place. No free elections have been held since al-Sisi came to power. Other countries fared worse — Libya and Syria fell into civil wars that show no sign of ending — and no Middle Eastern country made the transition to an effective democracy.

We celebrate the Greeks as the inventors of democracy,1 but the Greeks themselves questioned its feasibility. Plato argued in The Republic (380 BC) that democracy would quickly devolve into anarchy. As Grayling explains,

In democracy everyone claims and possesses freedom and the right to make and break laws, and that, said Plato, very soon means anarchy, for such freedom is not freedom but merely license.2

A tyrant would then step in to restore order, and once in place, he would be difficult to dislodge. Plato’s prediction has been fulfilled by present-day Egypt, and also by the French and Russian Revolutions.

Democracies are difficult to establish because they must confront

…the dilemma of deriving authority for government from the people, without making the people the government — that is, … without making the unorganized, uninformed, emotionally motivated, often prejudiced and sometimes intemperate people the government.3

The work-around appears to be a government apparatus that is only indirectly responsive to the will of the people, so that the people’s baser and more intemperate instincts are filtered out. It’s an imperfect solution, but as Winston Churchill observed, it’s the best we’ve got.

English Beginnings

In England the institutions through which democracy would eventually operate predate the democracy itself. The House of Commons and the House of Lords were both in existence by the beginning of the Tudor dynasty (1485).4 Both Houses represented the interests of a wealthy and powerful elite. The House of Lords consisted of the nobility and senior churchmen. The members of the House of Commons were elected, but only men with land holdings in excess of some threshold value were allowed to vote. This requirement was satisfied by only 3% of the male population. Parliament did not have final authority: legislation that had been passed by both Houses was presented to the king, who could and sometimes did veto it.

When did English commoners begin to resent their lack of representation in Parliament? Certainly, not by 1485: a society that still accepted serfdom was not going to chafe over limited suffrage. Grayling looks to the Putney Debates of 1647 for an early instance of advocacy for general male suffrage. The English civil war was in progress, but Charles I had been captured by Parliamentary forces. It was expected that the king would negotiate a settlement with Parliament, and that he would be restored to the throne with more limited powers.5 The New Model Army intended to take a position on these negotiations, but the officers and the men disagreed about what its position should be. The men wanted more extensive reform than the officers. Many of the more radical men were Levellers: their ideas included “universal male suffrage, biennial elections, fairer taxation, equal treatment before the law, legal proceedings to be in English, abolition of monopolies, abolition of religious tithes, religious toleration, and a written constitution.”6 In an effort to unify the army, senior officers met with the men’s representatives in Putney to discuss the army’s position.

Colonel Thomas Rainborough, speaking for the radical faction, advocated general suffrage:

I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live as the greatest he; and therefore truly, Sir, I think it’s clear that every man that is to live under a Government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that Government; and I do think that the poorest man in England is not bound in a strict sense to that government that he hath not had a voice to put himself under.7

Henry Ireton, a senior officer and son-in-law to Oliver Cromwell, spoke in opposition:

I think that no person hath a right to an interest or share in the disposing of the affairs of the Kingdom, and in determining or choosing those that shall determine what laws we shall be ruled by here. No person hath a right to this, that hath not a permanent fixed interest in this Kingdom; and those persons together are properly the represented of this Kingdom, and consequently are to make up the representers of this Kingdom, who taken together do comprehend whatsoever is of real or permanent interest in the Kingdom.8

For Ireton and his fellow officers, general suffrage was a bridge too far. Their one concern was the powers of the king. Asked what the common soldiers had fought for, if not a say in their own government, Ireton replied:

I tell you what the soldier had fought for. The danger that we stood in was, that one man’s will must be a law…The law of this Kingdom should be by a choice of persons to represent, and that choice to be made by the generality of the Kingdom.9

Should legislative power reside with the king, or with an assembly of the people? This is the issue that divided the two sides in the civil war. It divided the philosophers as well.

Thomas Hobbes

Hobbes believed that kings ruled by divine right — he could cite the scriptural evidence10 — but he also believed that a society advanced its own interests by submitting to an absolute ruler. He set out his arguments in Leviathan, which was published in 1651, just as the English civil war was ending.

Hobbes argued that in a society without government, there would be nothing to hold back the baser human instincts and there would be “war of all against all.” Neither life nor property would be secure, and society would be unable to rise above the most primitive conditions:

There is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain; and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.11

Security could be achieved, said Hobbes, if the people jointly agreed to be ruled by an absolute sovereign, for such a ruler

… hath the use of so much power and strength conferred on him, that by terror thereof, he is enabled to form the will of them all, to peace at home, and mutual aid against their enemies abroad.12

There should be no division of power (say, between the king and Parliament) because competing claims on power would impair the government’s ability to act decisively.

Hobbes envisioned the people jointly and unconditionally committing to obey the king, but the king was to make no reciprocal commitment to the people. God imposed upon the king the duty to care for the people. Only God could judge how well the king fulfilled this duty, so the king was answerable only to God for his conduct.

Plato had feared a ruler with absolute power — a tyrant — because he is released from the constraints that check the baser instincts of men. Hobbes was likewise aware of the danger inherent in absolute power:

He that hath strength enough to protect all, wants not sufficiency to oppress all.13

Hobbes embraced absolute power all the same, because he believed that the king was not like other men. God had given the king the duty to care for the people, and the king would recognize this duty and seek to fulfill it. Hobbes’s theory of government is ultimately inseparable from his belief in the divine right of kings.

John Locke

Hobbes believed that life without government would be nasty, brutish and short. For him, the most important attribute of a government was that it be sufficiently powerful to end the chaos. It is perhaps not surprising that he should endorse a ruler with absolute power, to whom the people would owe complete fealty.

John Locke, in his Two Treatises of Government (1689), also imagined what life would be like without government, and found it to be much less terrifying. It would not be lawless: there would be both “natural law” and God’s law. The guiding principle of natural law was that “no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.”14 Provided that they obeyed natural law, people were free to choose how they would live and how they would employ their property.

Natural law is difficult to enforce. It is not codified, so there is no common understanding of it.

For though the law of nature be plain and intelligible to all rational creatures; yet men, being biased by their interest, as well as ignorant for want of study of it, are not apt to allow of it as a law binding to them in the application of it to their particular cases.15

As well, each person was individually responsible for enforcing the law and punishing violators. An attempt to carry out this duty could easily miscarry.

People who have committed crimes will usually, if they can, resort to force to retain the benefits of their crime; this includes using force to resist punishment; and such resistance often makes the punishment dangerous, even destructive, to those who try to inflict it.16

Locke believed that these considerations led people to join together in communities, and to appoint governments to codify the law and enforce it on their behalf. The members of a community are protected by their government, but in exchange, they give up their right to individually interpret and enforce the law.

Locke emphasized that the people do not give up their rights to life, liberty and property: these rights are inalienable.17 The people delegate to the government only the enforcement of these rights. This understanding of government would, in the following century, become a cornerstone of English law. The jurist William Blackstone (1723-80) was one of its leading expositors:

For the principal aim of society is to protect individuals in the enjoyment of those absolute rights, which were vested in them by the immutable laws of nature, but which could not be preserved in peace without that mutual assistance and intercourse which is gained by the institution of friendly and social communities…And therefore the principal view of human law is, or ought always to be, to explain, protect, and enforce such rights as are absolute.18

But every man, when he enters into society, gives up a part of his natural liberty, as the price of so valuable a purchase; and, in consideration of receiving the advantages of mutual commerce, obliges himself to conform to those laws, which the community has thought proper to establish. And this species of legal obedience and conformity is infinitely more desirable, than that wild and savage liberty which is sacrificed to obtain it. For no man, that considers a moment, would wish to retain the absolute and uncontrolled power of doing whatever he pleases; the consequence of which is, that every other man would also have the same power; and then there would be no security to individuals in any of the enjoyments of life. [Civil] liberty, which is that of a member of society, is no other than natural liberty so far restrained by human laws (and no farther) as is necessary and expedient for the general advantage of the public.19

Where there is no law, there is no freedom.20

Locke argued that although the people delegate power to the government, this delegation is neither unconditional nor irrevocable. They are entitled to judge the government’s performance, and they are entitled to replace one government with another.21

Locke also advocated the separation of the state’s legislative and executive branches. The need for a legislative branch is intermittent:

The legislative power is put into the hands of divers persons who, duly assembled, have by themselves, or jointly with others, a power to make laws, which when they have done, being separated again, they are themselves subject to the laws they have made; which is a new and near tie upon them to take care that they make them for the public good.22

The need for an executive branch is ongoing:

The laws…need a perpetual execution, or an attendance thereunto, therefore it is necessary there should be a power always in being which should see to the execution of the laws that are made, and remain in force.23

Good government requires that there be no overlap in the membership of these two branches.

It may be too great temptation to human frailty, apt to grasp at power, for the same persons who have the power of making laws to have also in their hands the power to execute them, whereby they may exempt themselves from obedience to the laws they make, and suit the law, both in its making and execution, to their own private advantage, and thereby come to have a distinct interest from the rest of the community, contrary to the end of society and government.24

Blackstone went further:

In all tyrannical governments the supreme magistracy, or the right both of making and of enforcing the laws, is vested in one and the same man, or one and the same body of men; and wherever these two powers are united together, there can be no public liberty.25

Plato said that absolute power leads to tyranny. Blackstone believed that he knew why: the conjunction of legislative and executive powers in one body.

Montesquieu on the Separation of Powers

Montesquieu was also concerned with the abuse of the powers granted to governments.

Constant experience shows us that every man invested with power is apt to abuse it, and to carry his authority as far as it will go…To prevent this abuse, it is necessary from the very nature of things that power should be a check to power.26

These checks would occur if power were spread across three separate, independent and non-overlapping bodies: the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary. Grayling describes Montesquieu’s system as follows:

The legislature should be bicameral, each of the houses having the power to block laws proposed by the other house. The legislature alone should have the power to raise taxes, which means it can starve the executive of resources if it disapproves of what it is doing. Reciprocally, the executive should have the power to veto legislation proposed by the legislature. And finally, the judiciary should be independent of both the other arms, restricting itself to monitoring application of the law in specific cases in a consistent and transparent way.27

Montesquieu believed that Britain separated the three functions in this fashion, but he misunderstood the British system. He took Parliament to be a legislative body and the king to be the executive, but the Ministers — Ministers of the Crown, to give them their formal designations — have executive duties and are chosen from the governing party in Parliament, so that the governing party has both legislative and executive duties.

Montesquieu’s system was fully implemented by the United States, but the adversarial behaviour of American political parties has significantly reduced its efficacy. When the three functions are controlled by one political party, the much-touted checks and balances vanish (as they have in the Trump administration); and when they are not, the political process too often ends in a stalemate (as it did in the Obama administration).

Montesquieu, like Locke, saw the separation of powers as a means of controlling the self-interested behaviour of members of the government, however they had come to their positions. It acquired a second function in the United States.

Democracy in the United States

Grayling highlights a significant difference between two passages: the beginning of Virginia’s Declaration of Rights, drafted by George Mason in June 1776, and the beginning of the Declaration of Independence, drafted by Thomas Jefferson later in the same month. Here is the first passage:

I That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

II That all power is vested in, and consequently derived from, the people; that magistrates are their trustees and servants, and at all times amenable to them.

III That government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people, nation or community; of all the various modes and forms of government that is best, which is capable of producing the greatest degree of happiness and safety and is most effectually secured against the danger of maladministration; and that, whenever any government shall be found inadequate or contrary to these purposes, a majority of the community hath an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform, alter or abolish it, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the public weal.

And here is the second passage:

We hold these truths to be self-evident:

That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

Both passages incorporate central elements of Locke’s political philosophy: certain rights are inalienable; power is delegated to a government so that it can secure these rights and advance the community’s common interests; the community has the right to judge whether the government’s performance is satisfactory; the community also has the right to replace the government if it is not satisfied with the government’s performance.28

The critical difference between these passages is that Mason refers to “a majority of the community” choosing the government,29 while Jefferson states only that government derives its power from a vague “consent of the governed.” Mason commits to democracy; Jefferson hedges.

Jefferson mistrusted democracy and was not alone in doing so. Certainly, Locke did not advocate it and Montesquieu thought it to be unstable. John Adams agreed with Montesquieu:

Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.30

Democracy, will soon degenerate into an anarchy, such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes, and no man’s life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure.31

The American distaste for democracy was largely based upon the unhappy histories of direct democracies, as is evident from James Madison’s discussion of the ideal number of legislators:

A certain number at least seems to be necessary to secure the benefits of free consultation and discussion, and to guard against too easy a combination for improper purposes; as, on the other hand, the number ought at most to be kept within a certain limit, in order to avoid the confusion and intemperance of a multitude. In all very numerous assemblies, of whatever character composed, passion never fails to wrest the sceptre from reason. Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob.32


James Madison believed that democracy’s ills were largely caused by factionalism. A faction is a group that is united by a common interest and willing to place that interest above the greater interests of the community. Humans have a natural tendency to divide into factions:

So strong is this propensity of mankind to fall into mutual animosities, that where no substantial occasion presents itself, the most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to kindle their unfriendly passions and excite their most violent conflicts.33

Factions frequently promote legislation that serves their own narrow interests.

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. With equal, nay with greater reason, a body of men are unfit to be both judges and parties at the same time; yet what are many of the most important acts of legislation, but so many judicial determinations, not indeed concerning the rights of single persons, but concerning the rights of large bodies of citizens?34

Madison believed that unequal interests in property were “the most common and durable” driver of factionalism and of self-serving legislation.

Shall domestic manufactures be encouraged, and in what degree, by restrictions on foreign manufactures? [These] are questions which would be differently decided by the landed and the manufacturing classes, and probably by neither with a sole regard to justice and the public good. The apportionment of taxes on the various descriptions of property is an act which seems to require the most exact impartiality; yet there is, perhaps, no legislative act in which greater opportunity and temptation are given to a predominant party to trample on the rules of justice. Every shilling with which they overburden the inferior number, is a shilling saved to their own pockets.35

The Americans recognized the damage that factionalism caused. They wanted a “government of the people,” but they wanted one that would constrain factionalism.


The Americans developed what they called a “republican” system. There was separation of powers, exactly as Montesquieu had suggested, but the Americans added a twist of their own. The members of one part of the bicameral legislature, the House of Representatives, were elected by the people. The members of the other part, the Senate, were chosen by the individual state legislatures (whose members were themselves elected officials). Members of the Supreme Court were appointed for life to insulate them from political pressures. The President and the Vice-President were chosen by the Electoral College. Its members were chosen by the individual states: some of them were elected through state-wide elections, but they were more commonly selected by the state legislature. The will of the people was there, but it was heavily diluted.

This system was expressly designed to put distance between the passions of the people and the workings of government. Grayling explains:

Although the “consent of the people” would be sought as part of the authorizing basis for government, the institutions of government would be a combination of elected, indirectly elected and appointed bodies that would “refine and enlarge the public views,” in effect filtering out the self-interest, lack of information, short-termism and prejudice of the many. The idea is one that, so closely as possible without actually saying so, frankly applies the advice of classical antiquity: that government must be in the hands of those competent to do the job.36

The impact of this system was clear to Alexis De Tocqueville:

On entering the House of Representatives of Washington one is struck by the vulgar demeanor of that great assembly. The eye frequently does not discover a man of celebrity within its walls. Its members are almost all obscure individuals whose names present no associations to the mind: they are mostly village lawyers, men in trade, or even persons belonging to the lower classes of society…At a few yards’ distance from this spot is the door of the Senate, which contains within a small space a large proportion of the celebrated men of America. Scarcely an individual is to be perceived in it who does not recall the idea of an active and illustrious career: the Senate is composed of eloquent advocates, distinguished generals, wise magistrates, and statesmen of note…From what cause, then, does so startling a difference arise? The only reason which appears to me adequately to account for it is, that the House of Representatives is elected by the populace directly, and that the Senate is elected by elected bodies.37

Some of the indirectness of the original republican system has been eliminated over the years. Senators are now directly elected by the people. The members of the Electoral College are also directly elected, and in almost all states, all of the electors are awarded to the party that wins the plurality of the votes. Presidential elections have become an awkward parody of first-past-the-post. The lifetime appointment of Supreme Court justices was intended to remove them from political influence, but the duration of their appointment makes their selection especially significant: what’s done today can’t be undone four years from now. The appointment of the justices has become intensely partisan.

While the modern system is more democratic — a broader franchise elects a wider range of officials — it is also more prone to factionalism. American leaders once feared the raw emotions of the people. Now they orchestrate them.

Democracy and Economic Growth

Acemoglu and Robinson have argued that inclusive economic institutions are necessary for sustained economic growth. The development and protection of these institutions requires a steady commitment, so one must ask, what kind of political institution gives rise to such a commitment? The twentieth century provided ample evidence that non-democratic institutions will not do so — but democratic institutions won’t necessarily do so either.

There is more to democratic government than simply the right to vote. The temptation to exercise power in ways that advance self-interests at the expense of national interests must be controlled. As a world-weary John Adams explained,

It is in vain to say that democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious or less avaricious than aristocracy or monarchy…Those passions are the same in all men under all forms of simple government, and when unchecked, produce the same effects of fraud, violence and cruelty. When clear prospects are opened before vanity, pride, avarice or ambition, for their easy gratification, it is hard for the most considerate philosophers and the most conscientious moralists to resist the temptation. Individuals have conquered themselves, nations and large bodies of men, never. 38

A successful democracy must control these temptations on two levels. The first level is the government itself. The members of the legislature, the executive and the judiciary must not be allowed to exercise their powers to advance their own ends. Montesquieu’s separation of powers, under which power checks power, remains an essential part of government. The second level is the people — those “unorganized, uninformed, emotionally motivated, often prejudiced and sometimes intemperate” people who are charged with choosing the government. A democracy must respect the will of the people without bending to its passions. A system in which the people have a limited and sometimes indirect influence on government is essential. Parliamentary governments in the British style, in which there is an elected lower chamber and an appointed upper chamber, are an example of this approach.

  1. The first democracy was established in Athens in 508 BC. The word “democracy” was in use by the middle of the fifth century (it appears in the Histories of Herodotus); it is the conjunction of demos (common people) with kratos (power).
  2. Grayling, Democracy and Its Crisis, p. 19.
  3. Grayling, Democracy and Its Crisis, p. 80.
  4. The names “House of Commons” and “House of Lords” date to 1544, although both bodies had existed in some form since at least 1265. “Commons” does not refer to commoners, in contradistinction to lords: its origin is the Norman French commune, meaning “community.”
  5. This expectation was mistaken: Charles was executed in 1649.
  6. Grayling, Democracy and Its Crisis, p. 34.
  7. Quoted by Grayling, Democracy and Its Crisis, p. 41.
  8. Quoted by Grayling, Democracy and Its Crisis, p. 41. For Ireton, the persons who have a “permanent fixed interest” are “the persons in whom all land lies, and those in Corporations in whom all trading lies.”
  9. Quoted by Grayling, Democracy and Its Crisis, p. 45.
  10. Hobbes believed that everything in the universe was a physical body that had weight and dimensions. God is part of the universe — “the Universe is All, that which is no part of it, is Nothing; and consequently no where” — so God must be material. This claim was widely considered to be tantamount to atheism, but Hobbes considered himself to be a Christian and thought carefully about Christian theology. (Anthony Gottlieb, The Dream of Enlightenment, chapter 2)
  11. Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (1651), chapter 13.
  12. Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (1651), chapter 17.
  13. Thomas Hobbes, De Cive (1642), ch. 6.
  14. John Locke, Second Treatise, chapter 2.
  15. John Locke, Second Treatise, chapter 9.
  16. John Locke, Second Treatise, chapter 9.
  17. “Inalienable” (or its clunky cousin “unalienable”) is the apposite word here, but it is not Locke’s. The Irish philosopher Francis Hutcheson distinguished between alienable and unalienable rights in the early eighteenth century. This distinction was adopted by Thomas Jefferson, who used it to famous effect: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.”
  18. William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England 1:125 (1765).
  19. William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England 1:126 (1765). As an example of a government enacting unnecessarily restrictive laws, Blackstone cites Edward IV’s sumptuary law (1463) limiting the length of the toes of men’s shoes. The fashion for very long toes might have been foolish, he says, but men are entitled to their foolishness. On the other hand, he approves of a law enacted by Charles II that required the dead to be buried in woollen clothing. He argues that this law is “consistent with public liberty, for it encourages the staple trade, on which in great measure depends the universal good of the nation.” This claim is a wonderful example of the “broken window fallacy” (here).
  20. William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England 1:126 (1765).
  21. This point was crucial for Locke, who was greatly concerned with the future of English government. He appears to have begun writing the Two Treatises during the exclusion crisis of 1679-81 (when an attempt was made to remove the future James II from the line of succession), and he published it in the immediate aftermath of the Glorious Revolution. Locke writes in its preface that he hopes Two Treatises would be “sufficient to establish the throne of our great restorer, our present King William; to justify his title to the throne on the basis of the consent of the people, which is the only lawful basis for government, and which he possesses more fully and clearly than any other ruler in the Christian world; and to justify to the world the people of England, whose love of their just and natural rights, and their resolve to preserve them, saved this nation when it was on the brink of slavery and ruin under King James II.”
  22. John Locke, Second Treatise, chapter 12.
  23. John Locke, Second Treatise, chapter 12.
  24. John Locke, Second Treatise, chapter 12.
  25. William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England 1:142 (1765).
  26. Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws (1748), Book 11, Chapter 4.
  27. Grayling, Democracy and Its Crisis, p. 71.
  28. Virginia’s Declaration of Rights incorporates other elements of Locke’s philosophy: “V That the legislative and executive powers of the state should be separate and distinct from the judicative; and, that the members of the two first may be restrained from oppression by feeling and participating the burthens of the people, they should, at fixed periods, be reduced to a private station, return into that body from which they were originally taken…”
  29. Mason further specifies that there should be relatively broad — but certainly not universal — suffrage: “VI That elections of members to serve as representatives of the people in assembly ought to be free; and that all men, having sufficient evidence of permanent common interest with, and attachment to, the community have the right of suffrage…”
  30. John Adams, letter to John Taylor, 17 December 1814.
  31. John Adams, “An Essay on Man’s Lust for Power” (1763).
  32. James Madison, “The Federalist No. 55” (1788).
  33. James Madison, “The Federalist No. 10” (1787).
  34. James Madison, “The Federalist No. 10” (1787).
  35. James Madison, “The Federalist No. 10” (1787).
  36. Grayling, Democracy and Its Crisis, p. 81. The “refine and large” phrase is James Madison’s.
  37. Alexis De Tocqueville, Democracy in America (1835), Book 1, Chapter 13.
  38. John Adams, letter to John Taylor, 17 December 1814.