Political Theory:009059172110437 (forthcoming)

James Wilson
University of Chicago
In this essay, I make the interpretive claim that we cannot properly understand the Federalist without appreciating the extent to which the papers mount a sustained rejection of extra-constitutional democracy—practices in which people aim to assert authority over the terms of common life in ways that are not sanctioned by existing laws. I survey such practices, which were common in America before and after the Revolution. I argue that there is continuity between Publius’s justification for rejecting extra-constitutional democracy and his justification for his preferred system against constitutional alternatives. Adequate analysis and evaluation of the Federalist’s arguments about faction, representation, and institutional design require attention to the double duty the arguments play against constitutional and extra-constitutional opposition. This interpretive argument supports several analytic and evaluative conclusions. First, we must distinguish a new form of “non-hierarchical dualist” constitutionalism, according to which irregular democratic activity need not be limited to extraordinary “constitutional moments” or revolutions. Second, the politically egalitarian character of procedures depends not on the procedures alone, but how the maintenance of such procedures limits other forms of democratic practice. Third, the argument suggests a novel defense of “uncivil” disobedient politics: one grounded not in contributions to democratic deliberation, but in the entitlements of citizens to direct assertions of authority over common life.
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DOI 10.1177/00905917211043796
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Political Liberalism by John Rawls. [REVIEW]Philip Pettit - 1994 - Journal of Philosophy 91 (4):215-220.
Rule Over None II: Social Equality and the Justification of Democracy.Niko Kolodny - 2014 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 42 (4):287-336.
Political Rioting: A Moral Assessment.Avia Pasternak - 2018 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 46 (4):384-418.
Publius and Political Imagination.Jason Frank - 2009 - Political Theory 37 (1):69-98.

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