James Madison on Protecting the Opulent

Posted by admin on Friday, January 24, 2014

James Madison Money Quotation saying during debates about framing the constitution, that the Senate should be charged with the protection of the rich. James Madison said about the government:
 
Landholders ought to have a share in the government, to support these invaluable interests, and to balance and check the other. They ought to be so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority Quote
 

“Landholders ought to have a share in the government, to support these invaluable interests, and to balance and check the other. They ought to be so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority” — James Madison

 

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In this quote, James Madison expresses the view that property owners (“landholders”) should have a role in government in order to represent the interests of property and wealth, and to act as a counterbalance against the potential tyranny of the majority. Some key points in interpreting his perspective:

  • He aimed to convey that the economic elite (“opulent minority”) deserved political influence to safeguard their assets and social status.
  • Madison wanted the system designed to institutionalize checks against the popular would override minority rights, in this case property rights.
  • However, he also believed in broad participation, so this quote alone does not fully represent his more nuanced view of balancing competing interests.
  • Reasonable people can disagree on the appropriate calibration of majority rule and minority protections in a democratic system.

Overall, the quote reflected Madison’s stance that political influence should be apportioned not just by numbers but also economic standing. But a balanced interpretation recognizes this as one viewpoint among others, and that debates continue around balancing political equality and protection of rights in a pluralistic society.

Birthday: March 16, 1751 – Death: June 28, 1836

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