The trouble with "public bodies": On the anti-democratic rhetoric of the federalist

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This essay investigates the anti-democratic rhetoric of The Federalist. In The Federalist, politics is imagined via the medical logics of the eighteenth century. For Publius, democracy is an incitement to factions and incubator of disease because it requires citizens to gather in deliberative "public bodies." In describing democratic "disease," The Federalist claims that the body politic is always already a threat to itself and frames the role of governance as the management of the emergence of those threats. In so doing, The Federalist forwards an early American rhetoric of misodemia-the hatred of democracy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)505-538
Number of pages34
JournalRhetoric and Public Affairs
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language


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