preview

Federalist #10

Good Essays
In “Federalist #10”, Madison describes the dangerous effects that factions can have on Republican government and on its people. Madison defines a faction as a group of citizens who unite under a shared cause, and work against other groups in order to achieve their means. Their means of achieving their goals may achieve adverse effects upon the rights of other citizens. Put in more modern terms, a faction could be reasonably compared to a special-interest group. The sort of faction that most endangers the liberty inherent in United States society are factions that contain a majority of the whole. The weakness of a popular government is its susceptibility to the effects of factions. However, a well-constructed Union provides numerous advantages, and its ability to break and control factions is its most important and vital to the success of the Union. Factions arise due to the nature of man to be moved by different opinions and passions. Men will be diverse in their opinions as well as their social and economic classes, and just by the mere presence of dividing classes will factions arise. By means of factions, legislative measures are often decided by an overbearing majority, with little or no regard for others who do not share their interests. Protecting against factions will protect those in the minority, and ensure that the public good is served.

Madison is adamant about the dangers of a pure democracy, and the negatives a democracy poses when faced by the dangers of factions. A pure democracy could not function effectively at controlling the effects of factions, as a common sentiment will be felt by the majority of the whole in more cases that not. This would lead to an oppressed and largely ignored minority. Pro...

... middle of paper ...

...ger and more varied group to choose electors from. It follows that the number of suitable and impartial electors would be larger, allowing for fairer legislation. A large republic also makes it more difficult for a common interest in the majority to detract from the rights of the minority. In a larger republic, those who feel a common interest will be less knowledgeable about their power and ability to oppress the minority, and will therefore be less likely to force the effects of factions. This large republic has a few costs. The power of individual states is sacrificed in favor of greater federal power, which was, as a Federalist, Madison’s goal. Another cost is the fact that “men of factious tempers” may be able to deceive the people into electing them, and then distorting the wills of the public, despite all protection put in to prevent this occurrence.
Get Access