(Im)perfect Balance? Problems of Relations between the Union, States and the People in the American Political Debate in the Years 1798-1861


  • Rafał Lis Akademia Ignatianum w Krakowie




James Madison, John Calhoun, federalism, states’ legal doctrine, sovereignty of the people


(Im)perfect Balance? Problems of Relations between the Union, States and the People in the American Political Debate in the Years 1798-1861

The aim of the article is to present the controversy related to maintaining the ideal of balance between the two levels of power in the American political system (Union and state), indicated by James Madison in his essay. This balance was strongly justified by the reference to the principle of people’s sovereignty, which was to be threatened by both centrifugal and separatist, as well as centralist and unification tendencies. The review of positions from the years 1798–1861 presented in the article allows us to state that the controversy resulted from Madison’s failure to precisely define the people – especially where exactly they should be placed in the conflict between the two jurisdictions.


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Author Biography

Rafał Lis, Akademia Ignatianum w Krakowie

Adiunkt w Katedrze Myśli Politycznej Akademii Ignatianum w Krakowie. Autor monografii Ku społeczeństwu cywilnemu i bogactwu narodów. Główne koncepcje polityczne i prawne szkockiego Oświecenia (2014) oraz W poszukiwaniu prawdziwej Rzeczypospolitej. Główne nurty myśli politycznej Sejmu Czteroletniego (2015), a także m.in. artykułu Polish Republicanism of the Four Year Seym at a Doctrinal Crossroads („History of European Ideas” 2017, vol. 43, s. 762-775).


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How to Cite

Lis, Rafał. 2020. “(Im)perfect Balance? Problems of Relations Between the Union, States and the People in the American Political Debate in the Years 1798-1861”. Politeja 17 (4(67):74-87. https://doi.org/10.12797/Politeja.17.2020.67.04.



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