�Brutus� vs. �Publius� (James Madison), 1787

�Brutus� vs. �Publius� (James Madison), 1787

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8/17/08 12:15 AM Republican Government: Brutus, no. 1 Page 1 of 5 http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/print_documents/v1ch4s14.html 4 Republican Government [Volume 1, Page 124] CHAPTER 4 | Document 14 Brutus, no. 1 18 Oct. 1787 Storing 2.9.10--21 Let us now proceed to enquire, as I at first proposed, whether it be best the thirteen United States should be reduced to one great republic, or not? It is here taken for granted, that all agree in this, that whatever government we adopt, it ought to be a free one; that it should be so framed as to secure the liberty of the citizens of America, and such an one as to admit of a full, fair, and equal representation of the people. The question then will be, whether a government thus constituted, and founded on such principles, is practicable, and can be exercised over the whole United States, reduced into one state? If respect is to be paid to the opinion of the greatest and wisest men who have ever thought or wrote on the science of government, we shall be constrained to conclude, that a free republic cannot succeed over a country of such immense extent, containing such a number of inhabitants, and these encreasing in such rapid progression as that of the whole United States. Among the many illustrious authorities which might be produced to this point, I shall content myself with quoting only two. The one is the baron de Montesquieu, spirit of laws, chap. xvi. vol. I [book VIII]. "It is natural to a republic to have only a small territory, otherwise it cannot long subsist. In a large republic there are men of large fortunes, and consequently of less moderation; there are trusts too great to be placed in any single subject; he has interest of his own; he soon begins to think that he may be happy, great and glorious, by oppressing his fellow citizens; and that he may raise himself to grandeur on the ruins of his country. In a large republic, the public good is sacrificed to a thousand views; it is subordinate to exceptions, and depends on accidents. In a small one, the interest of the public is easier perceived, better understood, and more within the reach of every citizen; abuses are of less extent, and of course are less protected." Of the same opinion is the marquis Beccarari.
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8/17/08 12:15 AM Republican Government: Brutus, no. 1 Page 2 of 5 http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/print_documents/v1ch4s14.html History furnishes no example of a free republic, any thing like the extent of the United States. The Grecian republics were of small extent; so also was that of the Romans. Both of these, it is true, in process of time, extended their conquests over large territories of country; and the consequence was, that their governments were changed from that of free governments to those of the most tyrannical that ever existed in the world. Not only the opinion of the greatest men, and the experience of mankind, are
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�Brutus� vs. �Publius� (James Madison), 1787

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