Edward McNall Burns (essay date 1938)
SOURCE: Burns, Edward McNall. “Views on Democracy.” In James Madison: Philosopher of the Constitution, 1938. Reprint, pp. 60-90. New York: Octagon Books, 1968.
[In the following essay, Burns compares Madison's views on democracy with those of his contemporaries, notably Thomas Jefferson.]
The subject of this chapter involves first of all a matter of definition. In the modern age the term democracy in the political sense has generally been defined in either of two ways. Since about 1825 it has usually been understood to mean the sovereignty of the majority, with few if any restrictions upon the right of the majority to put its will into effect. Thus defined, it has...
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