Publication Year

1984

Keywords

politics, Congress, James Madison, government, The Federalist Papers, United States

Disciplines

American Politics | Models and Methods | Political History | Political Science | United States History

Abstract

It is a familiar adage in United States politics that Americans love their Congressman, but hate Congress. The reasons are clear enough; the local Congressman works hard to please his constituents, while Congress as an institution appears slow and ineffective. It is my belief that this same adage ought to be expanded to the American political system as a whole. In this manner, Americans, it can be said, love their political system, with all its ideals, slogans and banners, but hate the politics that makes it work, including the institution of Congress. What seems to be lacking in American political critiques is an understanding that Congress is a part of that very American governmental framework which they treasure. Criticisms of Congress must, however, recognize and center on this fact. Based and built on this reality, criticisms of Congress take on a broader and more meaningful significance as one examines the problems relevant to the American model of government as a whole. Otherwise stated, the roots of the often-cited problems with Congress are not to be found simply resting in Congress as an institution, per se. Rather, they are lodged in the very foundation of American government itself. This foundation is, of course, the United States Constitution and its explication and defense as presented in The Federalist Papers.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status

Political Science

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