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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions


The Price of Greatness: Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and the Creation of American Oligarchy

by Jay Cost,
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 26, 2018

In 1787, shortly before he arrived in Philadelphia as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, James Madison declared that “the great desideratum” (that is, the essential purpose) of government in a republic was to act as “a disinterested and dispassionate umpire,” securing property and public safety and preventing one faction in society “from invading the rights of another,” to the detriment of the collective good.


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