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james madison

James Madison

The aim of every political constitution is, or ought to be, first to obtain for rulers men who possess most wisdom to discern, and most virtue to pursue, the common good of the society; and in the next place, to take the most effectual precautions for keeping them virtuous whilst they continue to hold their public trust.

The elective mode of obtaining rulers is the characteristic policy of republican government. The means relied on in this form of government for preventing their degeneracy are numerous and various. The most effectual one, is such a limitation of the term of appointments as will maintain a proper responsibility to the people.

– James Madison, Federalist No. 57, “The Alleged Tendency of the New Plan to Elevate the Few at the Expense of the Many Considered in Connection with Representation,” New York Packet, February 19, 1788

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