Federalist No. 52

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James Madison, author of Federalist No. 52

Federalist No. 52, an essay by James Madison[fn 1], is the fifty-second of The Federalist Papers. It was published in the New York Packet on February 8, 1788, with the pseudonym Publius, under which all The Federalist Papers were published. This essay is the first of two examining the structure of the United States House of Representatives under the proposed United States Constitution. It is titled "The House of Representatives."

The essay is largely concerned with qualifications of representatives and the frequency of their election. The Federalists argued that annual elections would not afford representatives enough time to learn about their office. They proposed biennial elections to allow representatives to gain experience without remaining in office for too long.

The essay also makes reference to the right to vote as laid down in the Constitution, stating:

The definition of the right of suffrage is very justly regarded as a fundamental article of republican government. It was incumbent on the convention, therefore, to define and establish this right in the Constitution. To have left it open for the occasional regulation of the Congress, would have been improper for the reason just mentioned. To have submitted it to the legislative discretion of the States, would have been improper for the same reason; and for the additional reason that it would have rendered (IT)too dependent on the State governments that branch of the federal government which ought to be dependent on the people alone.


  1. it is disputed whether this essay was written by Madison or Alexander Hamilton

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