Framing America Against Tyranny

The Four Ways of James Madison


Federalism was when they decided that it would be better if America was divided into two governments. The federal government was the national government that could regulate trade, declare war, print money and coins and many other things. The other government are the state governments who could set up local governments, hold elections, establish schools, and so on. This idea of federalism protects both of these governments, state and national, from having all the power.
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Separation of Powers

This idea of separation of powers was when they decided to separate the power of the government into three branches; Executive, legislative, and judicial. The executive branch enforces the laws, the legislative branch makes the laws, and the judicial branch interprets the law. With the government divided into three different branches, it makes it so that the power in the national government is divided into three parts not just one.
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Big States Vs Small Sates

The problem in congress back then was that they couldn't decide if they should have the number of representatives in the congress based off the population of that state because then the states with the bigger population would have more power. So the idea was that they would separate congress into two sections, the House of Representatives, who's number of representatives was based off population, and the Senate who had equal representation from each state. This protected against tyranny by making every decision that was made in congress pass through the senate and the house. This made it so that the bigger states (population) didn't have more power than the smaller ones.
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Checks and Balances

The idea of checks and balances relates back to the separation of powers. It says that each branch (legislative, judicial, and executive) have to check each other in order for something to happen. Meaning that along with each branch doing their individual job, their other job is to check the other branches. A few examples of checks and balances are here: The legislative branch can override a presidential veto, the executive branch nominates judges for the Supreme Court, and the judicial branch can declare a law unconstitutional. With checks and balances in place, it protects any of these branches from taking over and becoming too powerful.
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