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Question:

What did James Madison mean when he said, "What is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary."

A Governments provide checks and balances because people are far from perfect.
Explaination

James Madison recognized that people, by nature, would not always follow the rules and would take advantage of others. He believed that government should provide a system of checks and balances so that power could not be held by any one person over the rest. Power must be shared in order to make sure the law works for everyone.