This essay explores James Wilson’s approach to the so-called “Madisonian Dilemma. ” I first explain how the tension between majority rule and minority rights was more extreme for Wilson than for most founders. I then show how his view of human nature and moral epistemology allowed him to resolve the dilemma. Although Wilson’s solution may be less realistic than Madison’s, it is still worthy of serious consideration because of its influence on the creation of America’s constitutional system.
Previously published in Southeastern Political Review, December 1997, volume 25, pp. 641-658 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1747-1346.1997.tb00460.x/abstract