Why Are Representatives Elected For Two Years? - Federalist #52

Why Are Representatives Elected For Two Years? - Federalist #52

In Federalist #52, James Madison writes about the House of Representatives.

The most important topic Madison discusses is the frequency of elections.

Federalist #52

February 8, 1788

James Madison

In Federalist #52 James Madison begins a new trend in articles.

Instead of looking at politics in the abstract, Madison starts to look at parts of the new Government very particularly.

For this Paper, he looks in depth at the House of Representatives. Specifically, he focuses on the regularity of elections.


House of Representatives

Madison briefly discusses the requirements to become a Delegate to the House of Representatives.

He then moves on to a more pressing issue...elections.

Many Anti-Federalists were concerned about the frequency of elections. Interestingly, depending on who you ask, some people thought elections were too close together while others thought they were too far apart. 


Why Two Years

As the body which was meant to represent the people, the House was to choose Delegates every two years.

Some Anti-Federalists believed this was too long a period, and elections should be held every year. Madison was under the impression that annual elections would prevent the House from having the opportunity to govern, as it would always be in flux.

Other Anti-Federalists thought that elections should be further spaced out.

To this, Madison responded that more distant elections would make things easier if the legislature decided it wanted to become tyrannical.

The period of two years, in Madison’s opinion, was just the right compromise for the nation.


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There are dozens (maybe hundreds) of biographies about James Madison.

Personally, I love everything Richard Brookhiser rights, so if you wanted to learn more about the 4th President I highly recommend his book.

If you’d like a copy you can get it through the Amazon affiliate link below (you’ll support this site, but don’t worry, Amazon pays me while your price stays the same).

James Madison
By Richard Brookhiser

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