Skip to main content
×
Home

Madison v. Hamilton: The Battle Over Republicanism and the Role of Public Opinion

  • COLLEEN A. SHEEHAN (a1)
Abstract

This article examines the causes of the dispute between James Madison and Alexander Hamilton in the early 1790s. Though Hamilton initially believed that Madison's opposition to the Federalist administration was probably motivated by personal animosity and political advantage, in later years he concluded what Madison had long argued: the controversy between Republicans and Federalists stemmed from a difference of principle. For Madison, republicanism meant the recognition of the sovereignty of public opinion and the commitment to participatory politics. Hamilton advocated a more submissive role for the citizenry and a more independent status for the political elite. While Madison did not deny to political leaders and enlightened men a critical place in the formation of public opinion, he fought against Hamilton's thin version of public opinion as “confidence” in government. In 1791–92 Madison took the Republican lead in providing a philosophic defense for a tangible, active, and responsible role for the citizens of republican government.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Mary and Kennedy Smith Fellow, James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08540, and Associate Professor of Political Science, Villanova University, Villanova, PA 19085.
References
Hide All
Allen William B., with Kevin A. Cloonan. 2000. The Federalist: A Commentary. New York: Peter Lang.
Baker Keith Michael, ed. 1976. Condorcet: Selected Writings. Indianapolis: Bobbs–Merrill.
Banning Lance. 1995. The Sacred Fire of Liberty: James Madison and the Founding of the Federal Republic. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Brookhiser Richard. 1999. Alexander Hamilton: American. New York: Free Press.
Dahl Robert. 1956. A Preface to Democratic Theory. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Diamond Martin. 1972. “The Federalist.” In History of Political Philosophy, ed. Leo Strauss and Joseph Cropsey. Chicago: Rand McNally, 63151.
Diamond Martin. 1977. “Ethics and Politics: The American Way.” In The Moral Foundations of the American Republic, ed. Robert H. Horwitz. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 3972.
Diamond Martin. 1992. As Far as Republican Principles Will Admit, ed. William A. Schambra. Washington, DC: AEI Press.
Elkins Stanley, and Eric McKitrick. 1993. The Age of Federalism: The Early Republic, 1788–1800. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Farrand Max, ed. 1966. The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. Vol. 3. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Flaumenhaft Harvey. 1992. The Effective Republic: Administration and Constitution in the Thought of Alexander Hamilton. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Gibson Alan. 1991. “Impartial Representation and the Extended Republic: Towards a Comprehensive and Balanced Reading of the Tenth Federalist Paper.” History of Political Thought 12 (2): 263304.
Gibson Alan. 2002. “Ancients, Moderns and Americans: The Republicanism–Liberalism Debate Revisited.” History of Political Thought 21 (2): 261307.
Hamilton Alexander, James Madison, and John Jay. [1788] 1999. The Federalist Paper, ed. Clinton Rossiter. intro. Charles R. Kesler. New York: Mentor Books.
Hamilton Alexander. 1961–87. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, XXVII vols., ed. Harold C. Syrett. New York: Columbia University Press.
Jacobs Lawrence R., and Robert Y. Shapiro. 2000. Politicians Don't Pander: Political Manipulation and the Loss of Democratic Responsiveness. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Koch Adrienne, ed. 1966. James Madison's Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787, ed. Adrienne Koch. Athens: Ohio University Press.
Koch Adrienne, and Harry Ammon. 1948. “The Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions: An Episode in Jefferson's and Madison's Defense of Civil Liberties.” William and Mary Quarterly V: 14576.
Koch Adrienne, and William Peden, eds. 1972. The Life and Selected Writings of Thomas Jefferson. New York: Modern Library.
Madison James. 1962–91. The Papers of James Madison, 17 vols., ed. William T. Hutchison, William M. E. Rachal, Robert A. Rutland, et al. Chicago: University of Chicago Press (Vols. 1–10); Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia (Vols. 11–17).
Matthews Richard K. 1995. If Men Were Angels: James Madison and the Heartless Empire of Reason. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.
McDonald Forrest. 1974. The Presidency of George Washington. New York: W. W. Norton.
McDonald Forrest. 1979. Alexander Hamilton. New York: W. W. Norton.
McDonald Forrest. 1985. Novis Ordo Seclorum. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.
McLean Iain. 2003. “Before and After Publius: The Sources and Influence of Madison's Political Thought.” In James Madison: The Theory and Practice of Republican Government, ed. Samuel Kernell. Stanford: Stanford University Press 1440.
Meyers Marvin, ed. [1973] 1981. The Mind of the Founder: Sources of the Political Thought of James Madison. Hanover: Brandeis University Press.
Miller Joshua. 1988. “The Ghostly Body Politic: The Federalist Papers and Popular Sovereignty.” Political Theory 16 (February): 99119.
Necker Jacques. [1784] 1785. A Treatise on the Administration of the Finances of France, Vol. I, trans. Thomas Mortimer. London: J. Walter.
Ozouf Mona. 1988. “Public Opinion at the End of the Old Regime.” Trans. Lydia C. Cochrane. The Journal of Modern History 60 (Supplement): S1S21.
Page Benjamin I., and Robert Y. Shapiro. 1992. The Rational Public: Fifty Years of Trends in Americans' Policy Preferences. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Peuchet Jacques. 1789. “Discours préliminaire.” In Police et municipalities. Vol. 9, Jurisprudence, Encyclopédie méthodique. Paris: Charles Panckoucke.
Rakove Jack N. 1990. James Madison and the Creation of the American Republic. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman/Little, Brown Higher Education.
Rakove Jack N. 1996. Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
Read James H. 2000. Power Versus Liberty. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia.
Rosen Gary. 1999. American Compact: James Madison and the Problem of Founding. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.
Schofield Norman. 2002. “Madison and the Founding of the Two-Party System.” In James Madison: The Theory and Practice of Republican Government, ed. Samuel Kernell. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 30227.
Sharp James Roger. 1993. American Politics in the Early Republic: The New Nation in Crisis. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Sheehan Colleen A. 1990. “Madison's Party Press Essays.” Inter-pretation: A Journal of Political Philosophy 17 (Spring): 36771.
Sheehan Colleen A. 1992. “The Politics of Public Opinion: James Madison's ‘Notes on Government.’William and Mary Quarterly XLIX (October): 60927.
Sheehan Colleen A. 2002. “Madison and the French Enlightenment: The Authority of Public Opinion.” William and Mary Quarterly LIX (October): 92556.
Stourzh Gerald. 1970. Alexander Hamilton and the Idea of Republican Government. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Tocqueville Alexis de. [1835, 1840, in 2 vols.] 2000. Democracy in America, ed. Harvey C. Mansfield and Delba Winthrop. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Wiebe Robert H. 1984. The Opening of American Society: From the Adoption of the Constitution to the Eve of Disunion. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
Wiebe Robert H. 1995. Self-Rule: A Cultural History of American Democracy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Wills Garry. 1981. Explaining America: The Federalist. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.
Wills Garry. 2002. James Madison. New York: Henry Holt.
Wood Gordon. 1987. “Interests and Disinterestedness in the Making of the Constitution.” In Beyond Confederation: Origins of the Constitution and American National Identity, ed. Richard Beeman, Stephen Botein, and Edward C. Carter. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
Wood Gordon. [1969] 1998. The Creation of the American Republic, 1776–1787. Chapel Hill, UC: University of North Carolina Press.
Yankelovich Daniel. 1991. Coming to Public Judgment: Making Democracy Work in a Complex World. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
  • URL: /core/journals/american-political-science-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 32
Total number of PDF views: 73 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 534 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 21st November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.