Quotations and Literature Forum

It is currently Wed Aug 27, 2014 10:04 am

All times are UTC - 7 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 5 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: tyranny of the minority
PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2002 3:09 pm 
Offline
New member
New member

Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2002 3:00 pm
Posts: 2
Can anyone tell me who first advanced that concept with reference to American democracy.
Thanks, Jim[/b]


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2002 6:49 pm 
Offline
QuoteMaster
QuoteMaster

Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2002 5:38 am
Posts: 269
Location: Carolina coast
I doubt this is the earliest origin, but James Madison may have been the first to discuss tyranny of the minority in reference to American democracy in the The Federalist Papers. I believe his position was that the American Constitution prevented the tyranny of the minority.

"It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. If a majority be united by a common interest, the rights of the minority will be insecure." -- James Madison, Federalist Paper 51

However, he was also concerned with the dangers of tyranny by the majority, as he wrote in A Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments in 1785:
"We maintain therefore that in matters of Religion, no man's right is abridged by the institution of Civil Society and that Religion is wholly exempt from its cognizance. True it is, that no other rule exists, by which any question which may divide a Society, can be ultimately determined, but the will of the majority; but it is also true that the majority may trespass on the rights of the minority. "


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2002 8:15 am 
Offline
New member
New member

Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2002 3:00 pm
Posts: 2
Luna, thank you for your quick response. It gives me a place to start. I'm really looking for the origin of the concept that in the overzealous protection of the minority's rights we can end up with "tyranny by the minority".

I originally thought that John Adams had warned us of the possibility but I could not find a reference by him to it. SoI'll try Madison next.

Thanks again
Jim Mack


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2002 8:50 am 
Offline
QuoteMaster
QuoteMaster

Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2002 5:38 am
Posts: 269
Location: Carolina coast
I think James Madison was as concerned about protecting the minority from the tyranny of the majority as vice versa -- my memory of The Federalist Papers may be vague here; it's been 20 years. But the debate there might yield references to earlier sources.

Another promising place to start might be the legal opinions of Lani Guinier (sp?), one of Clinton's original appointee's for Attorney General (I think it was Attorney General--memory again, that Anheuser's Disease a very rich wit on this forum, Ken Frakes, has mentioned). In fact, I think it was on the basis of her progressive/revolutionary/far-out/radical (the appropriate adjective depends upon one's political perspective) written opinions about rights of minorities that made Clinton back away from her nomination, claiming (a likely tale) that he didn't realize she had written such opinions.

Anyway, as a legal scholar, she's sure to cite relevant precedence that might lead you to the origin.

I'd be fascinated to know what you find.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2002 12:25 pm 
Offline
Member
Member

Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2002 3:01 pm
Posts: 1681
"To avoid domestic tyranny, the people must be armed to stand upon [their] own Defence; which if [they] are enabled to do, [they] shall never be put upon it, but [their] Swords may grow rusty in [their] hands; for that Nation is surest to live in Peace, that is most capable of making War; and a Man that hath a Sword by his side, shall have least occasion to make use of it."
~ John Trenchard & Walter Moyle, "An Argument Shewing, That a Standing Army is Inconsistent With a Free Government, and Absolutely Destructive to the Constitution of the English Monarchy" [London, 1697] ("An Argument")

"A government resting on the minority is an aristocracy, not a Republic, and could not be safe with a numerical and physical force against it, without a standing army, an enslaved press and a disarmed populace."
~James Madison, The Federalist Papers (No. 46).

Do we live in a tyranny of the majority? Yes and no. We also live in a tyranny of the minority. In The Federalist 10, James Madison assures us that a republican form of government is the surest protection against this tyranny of the majority. This is the type of society we actually live in, not just a democracy, but a republic as well.
~Matthew Haynes
http://word.cs.earlham.edu/issues/XVI/1 ... in102.html

The Indian government wearing a pseudo-secular hat has suppressed critical analysis or analytical criticism of all religions except Hinduism, thus instituting a new political concept of tyranny of the minority, which even Madison and Tocqueville did not conceive of. What sin will a power hungry parasite of a politician not commit, to get elected? To paraphrase a famous quote, "Nobody ever went broke by underestimating the honesty and integrity of a politician or the intelligence of the electorate."
~ Gaurang Bhatt, MD
http://www.indianest.com/blunt/00505.htm

Unfortunately, as the past few elections have shown, the true flaw of representative democracies is not that it allows a tyranny of the majority as DeToqueville warned but that it actually allows a tyranny of the minority. In the last presidential election, the majority of Americans did not vote. De Toqueville warned that democracy could result in a tyranny of the majority. Instead, it seems the minority of voters(4) has tyrannized America.
~found at http://www.geocities.com/WallStreet/Exc ... ocrazy.htm

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always vote for the candidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship."
- Sir Alexander Fraser Tytler
(18th century Scottish historian)


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 5 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 7 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group