People, Power, Politics


1) According to James Madison in the Federalist Papers (#10 and #51), what is a faction and how does it threaten both the

public good and private rights? How does he propose to keep a ruling majority from forming? Why does Madison think that

the country would benefit from being kept m​ore,​rather than less, fragmented?
2) In “The Nature of Disruptive Power,” Frances Fox Piven argues that, in order for people to exercise their power, they

must first overcome “the problem of recognizing the fact of interdependence, and therefore the potential for power from

below, in the face of ruling class definitions which privilege the contributions of dominant groups to social life, and

may indeed even eradicate the contributions of lower status groups” (p. 27). What does she mean by this? Why is

recognizing interdependence so difficult and also so essential to the exercise of power by a group of people who do not

control vast resources or state power? What are some ways in which people recognize this fact of their interdependence?
3) Frederick Douglass concludes his 1852 speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” by arguing that “it is not

light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the

earthquake” (P​eople, Power, and Politics,​p. 98.). First, in the context in which he gave this speech, what is he

referring to? Next, consider his speech, and this claim in particular, with reference to current issues of racial

injustice. Are his claims still relevant? Do we still need “fire” and “thunder”? Why or why not?

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