17 - September 17, 2007 MC 201 Lecture: Majority Tyranny in...

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September 17, 2007 MC 201 Lecture: Majority Tyranny in America Enduring Federalist/Anti-Federalist debate (p. 204) ascendancy of Anti-Federalist ideas and party, durability of Federalist institutions (p. 205) Tocqueville on majority tyranny o Tension between equality and liberty o Dangers of majority rule Praise of Federalist institutions, praise of Puritan township government – paradox or continuity? Locus of threat of tyranny – states and townships (p. 287-88 and footnote) unstable, shifting constitutions; frequent elections; direct election of all branches; proliferation of legislation; lack of consistency in policy majority attack on representative government (p. 288) o special American circumstances concept of majority rule, link to equality interests of majority take precedence over minorities crushing of minority interests (p. 290) o Omnipotent majorities Lack of any guarantee against majority tyranny (p. 294) “causes for the mildness of government should be sought more in
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