Federalist No. 58

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James Madison

Federalist No. 58, authored by James Madison under the pen name Publius, is the fifty eighth of 85 essays. Titled "Objection That The Number of Members Will Not Be Augmented as the Progress of Population Demands Considered", Madison addresses the topic of re-apportionment of new members as population increases.

It was published on February 20, 1788.


At the time, some larger states feared that smaller states had excessive power due to the Senate's two members. Some larger states, who may have at the time only had a small number of representatives, considered the result of population increases on the count of representatives to congress.

Madison argues that too many representatives brings with it the danger of passion, sophistry, ultimately resulting in chaos. He wrote:

The people can never err more than in supposing that by multiplying their representatives beyond a certain limit, they strengthen the barrier against the government of a few.

Like most of the other founders, Madison knew the dangers of too much democracy and the strength of the republican form.

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