The Public Interest

Democratic remedies for democratic disorders

Gertrude Himmelfarb

Spring 1998

A FAMOUS passage in the Federalist Papers calls for “a republican remedy for the diseases most incident to republican government.” The diseases the Founding Fathers had in mind were those associated with factions: the pursuit of special interests to the detriment of the general interest. And the main remedy they proposed was federalism: the general interest to be represented in the national legislature, local and particular interests in the state legislatures.

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