James Madison's View of Factionalism

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Partisanship is a natural phenomenon for Human beings; we seek out, long for, and align ourselves with others who share our views. Through these people, we polish our ideas and gain courage from the knowledge that we are not alone in our viewpoint. Factions give breadth, depth, and volume to our individual voice. James Madison, the author of the Federalist #10 underlined the causes of factions, the dangers factions can pose, and solutions to the problem. . Factions can be present in many different settings in society. They can be a passion for different opinions on religions, government, or war. Madison claims that "the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever been formed distinct interests in society." The modern government includes factions as necessary operations, and the regulation of these interest groups form the foremost assignment of legislation. The dangers of faction can somewhat outweigh the good. The framers of the American Constitution feared the power that could possibly come about by organized interest groups. Madison wrote "The public good is disregarded in the conflict of rival factions…citizens…who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community." However, the framers believed that interest groups thrived because of freedom, the same privilege that Americans utilize to express their views. Madison saw direct democracy as a danger to individual rights and advocated a representative democracy to protect individual liberty, and the general public from the effects of such inequality in society. Madison says "A pure democracy can admit no cure for the mischief's of faction. A common passion or interest will be felt by a majority…Hence it is, that democracies have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have, in general, been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths." Madison proposes that there are two methods in which the mischiefs of faction can be cured, one by removing the causes of factions, or the other by controlling its effects. By removing the causes of factions, the liberty that is essential to its existence is destroyed. Madison states that "Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires.

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