Brutus 1 & Federalist 51 Discussion Questions
As you read Brutus 1 and Federalist 51, please answer the following questions with specific references to the text.
- Brutus asks the question whether a confederated government is the best for the United States or not. One great republic vs. thirteen confederated republics? Explain his position.
- What is Brutus’s main concern with this government? What two clauses does he specifically mention to support his fear? What do those two clauses mean to the idea of a confederation and the rights of states?
- What does Brutus believe to be the most important power of the legislative branch? Why is this power so important?
- What other powers does the national government possess that worry Brutus?
- Brutus believes that a smaller republic is preferable to a larger one. Why? What advantages are there in a smaller republic? What problems are there in a larger republic?
- In Federalist 51, Madison argues that the new government will not become all powerful. Madison writes, “You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.” How will the government do this? What key features of the constitution will ensure that rights and liberties will be protected?
- What branch does Madison believe to be the most dominant? How can its powers be checked?
- Madison counters Brutus argument concerning the protection of liberties in a large republic. How does Madison refute Brutus’s position? How does a large republic better ensure the rights of citizens?
- Who is right—Madison or Brutus?