Interest groups, "An organized group of individuals or organizations that make policy-related appeals to the government" (Lowie et al 397), are sometimes called the unofficial fourth branch of the United States government, but are they useful or harmful for our nations democracy. Interest groups are helpful in advancing Americas Democracy by working as powerful checks and balance system against both Congress and the Executive branches. There is countless numbers of these organizations each preserving the interest of countless members of society in order to give Americans a greater say in government. This maintains a government that works for the betterment of the people and not for themselves. .
Interest groups are not a new idea in modern day government. From the founding of the constitution farmers were worried that, "Power could be wielded by organized interests and that the public good would be 'disregarded in the conflict of rival [fractions]'" (Lowi et al 396). This was an issue to freedom in that if the government could regulate and suppress groups of Americans from voicing their opinions in order to interfere with the political process then they could also have the power to suppress freedom. James Madison created the solution to this dilemma, known as Madisonian Theory or pluralism. This theory is that a constitution encourages many different interests that all work to not allow one interest to tyrannize over the others. These multitudes of interests competing against each other will create a balanced and compromising government in the nation. .
Pluralism plays a major role in today's governmental structure. There are interest groups that represent everyone from the wealthiest elite, cooperation's, and the average American's. When it comes to government officials making their decisions it is very easy for them to follow the political golden rule of, " those who have the gold make the rules" (Lowi et al 395).