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To Madison factions, or groups of citizens with mal-intent for the new government, are a threat to the new government and it is impossible to find an acceptable remedy. Madison considers both liberty and the idea of having opposing opinions to be the key sources to factions. This also proves to be the reason why factions can never be eradicated completely.
To Madison there are “two methods of removing the causes of faction: the on, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests.”(pg. A21) Of course both of these ideas are completely preposterous because they are impossible to be had. Removing liberty in the words of James Madison would be “worse than the disease” (pg. A21) because of the pure fact that to abolish liberty would be to abolish everything fought for in the American Revolution. Madison compares liberty to air in that removing it would rid of the fire, factions, but also kill every life, so basically it is a lose-lose situation.
The latter idea of Madison is to basically have everyone think in a homogenous manner, which of course is impracticable. As Madison puts it “As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed” (pg. A22) Men will always have a difference of opinion because we are always influenced by reason and self-love. Madison continues saying that the causes of factions are “thus sown in the nature of man” (pg. A22) and all we can do is try to control factions but it is impossible to rid of them completely. The federalist paper continues on to Madison’s feelings about having a democracy versus a republic and which he feels is a better decision.
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The federalist papers continue on factions in saying that with a pure democracy there is no ability to control factions, but in a republic they can be controlled. Madison states that “it may be concluded that a pure democracy….who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction.” (pg. A23) The reason being that a common feeling will be felt by a majority of the population, and with nothing to check on the population, will result in a radical change to the government. This is what Madison lays is the reason for pure democracies “short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”(pg. A24) A republic though, offers “the cure for which we are seeking.” (pg. A24) and offers what a democracy cannot.
Madison clearly states the difference between the two forms of government saying that “first; the delegation of the government, in the latter, to a small number of citizens elected by the rest; secondly, the greater number of citizens, and greater sphere of country, over which the latter may be extended.”(pg. A24) A republic though has to be kept in check with the amount of people in it because it cannot be too big or to little or it will not be affective. Madison says quite clearly that “The federal Constitution forms a happy combination in this respect.” (pg. A24) so the problem of size is clearly not a problem. Having a republic also offers the opportunity to put factions in their place and keep them in check, where a democracy would not.
Madison clearly states that “the causes of factions cannot be removed, and that relief is only to be sought in the means of controlling its effects.” (pg. A23) A republic offers the manner in which to control faction’s harsh intents and diminish the threat to government. When a faction is less than the majority the relief is supplied by the government in that the factions “sinister intent” will be taken down by a regular vote. With a larger republic there will be too many for just one person to bribe and there will be more people to filter through during elections. Also in a republic there runs another problem for factious leaders, getting their idea to spread due to having a large government. Madison states that factions will be “less apt to pervade the whole body of the Union than a particular member of it,” (pg. A25) Along with this idea comes the factor of how big is too big.
To Madison there is a line in which there is too big, or too small, a Union and it is basically turns into a Goldy Locks and the Three Bears type issue here. When a Union gets to be to big there is no commonality within the government to keep cohesion between the states. When a Union gets to be too small there becomes the issue of not being able to control factions.
Madison concludes with saying that “we behold a republican remedy for the disease most incident to republican government.” (pg. A25) meaning that with the government we have set place the factions can be, and will be controlled in a balanced manner along with a respectable government.