The Wisdom of James Madison: Two Qualities Needed for Good Government

Posted: August 2, 2013

In Federalist Number 62 James Madison suggests two things that are essential to good government:

“A good government implies two things: first, fidelity to the object of government, which is the happiness of the people; secondly, a knowledge of the means by which that object can be best attained. Some governments are deficient in both these qualities: Most governments are deficient in the first. I scruple not to assert that in the American government too little attention has been paid to the last.”

Madison, known as the Father of the Constitution, knew that America had men and women of good will, but yet the mechanism of government at that time – under the Articles of Confederation – was not serving the people well.

Few of the founders, including Madison, considered the constitution they drafted to be perfect or without need of occasional update. For this reason there is a process whereby the U.S. Constitution can be amended. The Missouri Constitution may also be amended by a vote of the people.

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