federalist paper 10 factions

Federalist Papers No. 10 (1787)

federalist paper 10 factions

To the People of the State of New York:

AMONG the numerous advantages promised by a wellconstructed Union, none deserves to be more accurately developed than its tendency to break and control the violence of faction. The friend of popular governments never finds himself so much alarmed for their character and fate, as when he contemplates their propensity to this dangerous vice. He will not fail, therefore, to set a due value on any plan which, without violating the principles to which he is attached, provides a proper cure for it. The instability, injustice, and confusion introduced into the public councils, have, in truth, been the mortal diseases under which popular governments have everywhere perished; as they continue to be the favorite and fruitful topics from which the adversaries to liberty derive their most specious declamations. The valuable improvements made by the American constitutions on the popular models, both ancient and modern, cannot certainly be too much admired; but it would be an unwarrantable partiality, to contend that they have as effectually obviated the danger on this side, as was wished and expected. Complaints are everywhere heard from our most considerate and virtuous citizens, equally the friends of public and private faith, and of public and personal liberty, that our governments are too unstable, that the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties, and that measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority. However anxiously we may wish that these complaints had no foundation, the evidence, of known facts will not permit us to deny that they are in some degree true. It will be found, indeed, on a candid review of our situation, that some of the distresses under which we labor have been erroneously charged on the operation of our governments; but it will be found, at the same time, that other causes will not alone account for many of our heaviest misfortunes; and, particularly, for that prevailing and increasing distrust of public engagements, and alarm for private rights, which are echoed from one end of the continent to the other. These must be chiefly, if not wholly, effects of the unsteadiness and injustice with which a factious spirit has tainted our public administrations.

By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.

There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects.

There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction: the one, 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.

It could never be more truly said than of the first remedy, that it was worse than the disease. Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.

The second expedient is as impracticable as the first would be unwise. As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other; and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves. The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government. From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results; and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties.

The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man; and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity, according to the different circumstances of civil society. A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good. So strong is this propensity of mankind to fall into mutual animosities, that where no substantial occasion presents itself, the most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to kindle their unfriendly passions and excite their most violent conflicts. But 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 formed distinct interests in society. Those who are creditors, and those who are debtors, fall under a like discrimination. A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, with many lesser interests, grow up of necessity in civilized nations, and divide them into different classes, actuated by different sentiments and views. The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government.

No man is allowed to be a judge in his own cause, because his interest would certainly bias his judgment, and, not improbably, corrupt his integrity. With equal, nay with greater reason, a body of men are unfit to be both judges and parties at the same time; yet what are many of the most important acts of legislation, but so many judicial determinations, not indeed concerning the rights of single persons, but concerning the rights of large bodies of citizens? And what are the different classes of legislators but advocates and parties to the causes which they determine? Is a law proposed concerning private debts? It is a question to which the creditors are parties on one side and the debtors on the other. Justice ought to hold the balance between them. Yet the parties are, and must be, themselves the judges; and the most numerous party, or, in other words, the most powerful faction must be expected to prevail. Shall domestic manufactures be encouraged, and in what degree, by restrictions on foreign manufactures? are questions which would be differently decided by the landed and the manufacturing classes, and probably by neither with a sole regard to justice and the public good. The apportionment of taxes on the various descriptions of property is an act which seems to require the most exact impartiality; yet there is, perhaps, no legislative act in which greater opportunity and temptation are given to a predominant party to trample on the rules of justice. Every shilling with which they overburden the inferior number, is a shilling saved to their own pockets.

It is in vain to say that enlightened statesmen will be able to adjust these clashing interests, and render them all subservient to the public good. Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm. Nor, in many cases, can such an adjustment be made at all without taking into view indirect and remote considerations, which will rarely prevail over the immediate interest which one party may find in disregarding the rights of another or the good of the whole.

The inference to which we are brought is, that the CAUSES of faction cannot be removed, and that relief is only to be sought in the means of controlling its EFFECTS .

If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is supplied by the republican principle, which enables the majority to defeat its sinister views by regular vote. It may clog the administration, it may convulse the society; but it will be unable to execute and mask its violence under the forms of the Constitution. When a majority is included in a faction, the form of popular government, on the other hand, enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other citizens. To secure the public good and private rights against the danger of such a faction, and at the same time to preserve the spirit and the form of popular government, is then the great object to which our inquiries are directed. Let me add that it is the great desideratum by which this form of government can be rescued from the opprobrium under which it has so long labored, and be recommended to the esteem and adoption of mankind.

By what means is this object attainable? Evidently by one of two only. Either the existence of the same passion or interest in a majority at the same time must be prevented, or the majority, having such coexistent passion or interest, must be rendered, by their number and local situation, unable to concert and carry into effect schemes of oppression. If the impulse and the opportunity be suffered to coincide, we well know that neither moral nor religious motives can be relied on as an adequate control. They are not found to be such on the injustice and violence of individuals, and lose their efficacy in proportion to the number combined together, that is, in proportion as their efficacy becomes needful.

From this view of the subject it may be concluded that a pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert result from the form of government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; 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. Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.

A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking. Let us examine the points in which it varies from pure democracy, and we shall comprehend both the nature of the cure and the efficacy which it must derive from the Union.

The two great points of difference between a democracy and a republic are: 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.

The effect of the first difference is, on the one hand, to refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations. Under such a regulation, it may well happen that the public voice, pronounced by the representatives of the people, will be more consonant to the public good than if pronounced by the people themselves, convened for the purpose. On the other hand, the effect may be inverted. Men of factious tempers, of local prejudices, or of sinister designs, may, by intrigue, by corruption, or by other means, first obtain the suffrages, and then betray the interests, of the people. The question resulting is, whether small or extensive republics are more favorable to the election of proper guardians of the public weal; and it is clearly decided in favor of the latter by two obvious considerations:

In the first place, it is to be remarked that, however small the republic may be, the representatives must be raised to a certain number, in order to guard against the cabals of a few; and that, however large it may be, they must be limited to a certain number, in order to guard against the confusion of a multitude. Hence, the number of representatives in the two cases not being in proportion to that of the two constituents, and being proportionally greater in the small republic, it follows that, if the proportion of fit characters be not less in the large than in the small republic, the former will present a greater option, and consequently a greater probability of a fit choice.

In the next place, as each representative will be chosen by a greater number of citizens in the large than in the small republic, it will be more difficult for unworthy candidates to practice with success the vicious arts by which elections are too often carried; and the suffrages of the people being more free, will be more likely to centre in men who possess the most attractive merit and the most diffusive and established characters.

It must be confessed that in this, as in most other cases, there is a mean, on both sides of which inconveniences will be found to lie. By enlarging too much the number of electors, you render the representatives too little acquainted with all their local circumstances and lesser interests; as by reducing it too much, you render him unduly attached to these, and too little fit to comprehend and pursue great and national objects. The federal Constitution forms a happy combination in this respect; the great and aggregate interests being referred to the national, the local and particular to the State legislatures.

The other point of difference is, the greater number of citizens and extent of territory which may be brought within the compass of republican than of democratic government; and it is this circumstance principally which renders factious combinations less to be dreaded in the former than in the latter. The smaller the society, the fewer probably will be the distinct parties and interests composing it; the fewer the distinct parties and interests, the more frequently will a majority be found of the same party; and the smaller the number of individuals composing a majority, and the smaller the compass within which they are placed, the more easily will they concert and execute their plans of oppression. Extend the sphere, and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests; you make it less probable that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens; or if such a common motive exists, it will be more difficult for all who feel it to discover their own strength, and to act in unison with each other. Besides other impediments, it may be remarked that, where there is a consciousness of unjust or dishonorable purposes, communication is always checked by distrust in proportion to the number whose concurrence is necessary.

Hence, it clearly appears, that the same advantage which a republic has over a democracy, in controlling the effects of faction, is enjoyed by a large over a small republic,–is enjoyed by the Union over the States composing it. Does the advantage consist in the substitution of representatives whose enlightened views and virtuous sentiments render them superior to local prejudices and schemes of injustice? It will not be denied that the representation of the Union will be most likely to possess these requisite endowments. Does it consist in the greater security afforded by a greater variety of parties, against the event of any one party being able to outnumber and oppress the rest? In an equal degree does the increased variety of parties comprised within the Union, increase this security. Does it, in fine, consist in the greater obstacles opposed to the concert and accomplishment of the secret wishes of an unjust and interested majority? Here, again, the extent of the Union gives it the most palpable advantage.

The influence of factious leaders may kindle a flame within their particular States, but will be unable to spread a general conflagration through the other States. A religious sect may degenerate into a political faction in a part of the Confederacy; but the variety of sects dispersed over the entire face of it must secure the national councils against any danger from that source. A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project, will be less apt to pervade the whole body of the Union than a particular member of it; in the same proportion as such a malady is more likely to taint a particular county or district, than an entire State.

In the extent and proper structure of the Union, therefore, we behold a republican remedy for the diseases most incident to republican government. And according to the degree of pleasure and pride we feel in being republicans, ought to be our zeal in cherishing the spirit and supporting the character of Federalists.

Additional Text

Written by James Madison, this essay defended the form of republican government proposed by the Constitution . Critics of the Constitution argued that the proposed federal government was too large and would be unresponsive to the people.

In response, Madison explored majority rule v. minority rights in this essay. He countered that it was exactly the great number of factions and diversity that would avoid tyranny. Groups would be forced to negotiate and compromise among themselves, arriving at solutions that would respect the rights of minorities. Further, he argued that the large size of the country would actually make it more difficult for factions to gain control over others. “The influence of factious leaders may kindle a flame within their particular States, but will be unable to spread a general conflagration through the other States.”

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federalist paper 10 factions

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Federalist 10

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  • November 22, 1787

Introduction

Federalist 10 was written by James Madison and is probably the most famous of the eighty-five papers written in support of ratification of the Constitution that are collectively known as the Federalist Papers. The Federalist essays were formally addressed to the people of New York and were intended to influence the New York ratifying convention. Other essays had been written that defended the Constitution primarily by attacking those who opposed it. What made the Federalist unique was that it defended the proposed Constitution by explaining in careful detail its provisions and the principles behind them.

Though Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison collaborated on the essays that make up the Federalist, the three men wrote collectively under the pseudonym “Publius,” indicating their intention to speak in a single voice through the essays. Federalist 10 specifically deals with Publius’ treatment of factions and how a republican government can be constructed to protect against this dangerous malady. Factions, to Publius, were considered the bane of republican government, especially when a faction became a majority within the population. Factions were groups of people united by a common interest or passion adverse to the rights of other people in society. This oppressive nature of factions is what made them so dangerous and why Publius devoted so much time to discussing how to check and control them. In addition, Publius understood political parties to be factions and, in fact, uses “party” as a synonym for “faction” throughout Federalist 10 .

Source: The Federalist. Gideon Edition, eds. George W. Carey and James McClellan (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2001), 42–49.

. . . By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or minority of the whole, 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.

There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: The one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects.

There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction: The one, 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.

It could never be more truly said, than of the first remedy, that it is worse than the disease. Liberty is to faction, what air is to fire, an aliment, [1] without which it instantly expires. But it could not be a less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.

The second expedient is as impracticable, as the first would be unwise. As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other; and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves. The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties, is the first object of government. From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results; and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties.

The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man; and we see them every where brought into different degrees of activity, according to the different circumstances of civil society. A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders, ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions, whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other, than to co-operate for their common good. So strong is this propensity of mankind, to fall into mutual animosities, that where no substantial occasion presents itself, the most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to kindle their unfriendly passions, and excite their most violent conflicts. But 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 formed distinct interests in society. Those who are creditors, and those who are debtors, fall under a like discrimination. A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a monied interest, with many lesser interests, grow up of necessity in civilized nations, and divide them into different classes, actuated by different sentiments and views. The regulation of these various and interfering interests, forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of government….

It is in vain to say, that enlightened statesmen will be able to adjust these clashing interests, and render them all subservient to the public good. Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm: nor, in many cases, can such an adjustment be made at all, without taking into view indirect and remote considerations, which will rarely prevail over the immediate interest which one party may find in disregarding the right of another, or the good of the whole.

The inference to which we are brought, is, that the causes of faction cannot be removed; and that relief is only to be sought in the means of controlling its effects .

If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is supplied by the republican principle, which enables the majority to defeat its sinister views, by regular vote. It may clog the administration, it may convulse the society; but it will be unable to execute and mask its violence under the forms of the constitution. When a majority is included in a faction, the form of popular government, on the other hand, enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest, both the public good and the rights of other citizens. To secure the public good, and private rights, against the danger of such a faction, and at the same time to preserve the spirit and the form of popular government, is then the great object to which our inquiries are directed. Let me add, that it is the great desideratum, [2] by which alone this form of government can be rescued from the opprobrium under which it has so long labored, and be recommended to the esteem and adoption of mankind.

By what means is this object attainable? Evidently by one of two only. Either the existence of the same passion or interest in a majority, at the same time, must be prevented; or the majority, having such co-existent passion or interest, must be rendered, by their number and local situation, unable to concert [3] and carry into effect schemes of oppression. If the impulse and the opportunity be suffered to coincide, we well know, that neither moral nor religious motives can be relied on as an adequate control. They are not found to be such on the injustice and violence of individuals, and lose their efficacy in proportion to the number combined together; that is, in proportion as their efficacy becomes needful.

From this view of the subject, it may be concluded, that a pure democracy, by which I mean, a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert, results from the form of government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party, or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is, that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; 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. Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed, that, by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.

A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking. Let us examine the points in which it varies from pure democracy, and we shall comprehend both the nature of the cure and the efficacy which it must derive from the union.

The two great points of difference, between a democracy and a republic, are, 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.

The effect of the first difference is, on the one hand, to refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice, will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations. Under such a regulation, it may well happen, that the public voice, pronounced by the representatives of the people, will be more consonant to the public good, than if pronounced by the people themselves, convened for the purpose. On the other hand, the effect may be inverted. Men of factious tempers, of local prejudices, or of sinister designs, may by intrigue, by corruption, or by other means, first obtain the suffrages, and then betray the interests of the people….

The other point of difference is, the great number of citizens, and extent of territory, which may be brought within the compass of republican, than of democratic government; and it is this circumstance principally which renders factious combinations less to be dreaded in the former, than in the latter. The smaller the society, the fewer probably will be the distinct parties and interests composing it; the fewer the distinct parties and interests, the more frequently will a majority be found of the same party; and the smaller the number of individuals composing a majority, and the smaller the compass within which they are placed, the more easily will they concert and execute their plans of oppression. Extend the sphere, and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests; you make it less probable that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens; or if such a common motive exists, it will be more difficult for all who feel it to discover their own strength, and to act in unison with each other. Besides other impediments, it may be remarked, that where there is a consciousness of unjust or dishonorable purposes, communication is always checked by distrust, in proportion to the number whose concurrence is necessary….

The influence of factious leaders may kindle a flame within their particular states, but will be unable to spread a general conflagration through the other states; a religious sect may degenerate into a political faction in a part of the confederacy; but the variety of sects dispersed over the entire face of it, must secure the national councils against any danger from that source: a rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project, will be less apt to pervade the whole body of the union, than a particular member of it; in the same proportion as such a malady is more likely to taint a particular county or district, than an entire state….

  • 2. A thing needed or desired.
  • 3. To coordinate or organize.

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The first amendment, historic document, federalist 10 (1787).

James Madison | 1787

After the Constitutional Convention adjourned in September 1787, heated local debate followed on the merits of the Constitution. Each state was required to vote on ratification of the document. A series of articles signed “Publius” soon began in New York newspapers. These Federalist Papers strongly supported the Constitution and continued to appear through the summer of 1788. Hamilton organized them, and he and Madison wrote most of the series of eighty-five articles, with John Jay contributing five. These essays were read carefully and debated in newspapers, primarily in New York. The Federalist Papers have since taken on immense significance, as they have come to be seen as the definitive early exposition on the Constitution’s meaning and giving us the main arguments for our form of government. In Federalist 10, Madison fulfills the promise made in Federalist No. 9 to demonstrate the utility of the proposed union in overcoming the problem of faction. Madison’s argument is the most systematic argument presented in the Federalist Papers , with syllogistically developed reasoning sustained virtually throughout.

Selected by

federalist paper 10 factions

William B. Allen

Emeritus Dean of James Madison College and Emeritus Professor of Political Science at Michigan State University

federalist paper 10 factions

Jonathan Gienapp

Associate Professor of History at Stanford University

Among the numerous advantages promised by a well-constructed Union, none deserves to be more accurately developed than its tendency to break and control the violence of faction. The friend of popular governments never finds himself so much alarmed for their character and fate, as when he contemplates their propensity to this dangerous vice. …

The valuable improvements made by the American constitutions on the popular models, both ancient and modern, cannot certainly be too much admired; but it would be an unwarranted partiality, to contend that they have as effectually obviated the danger on this side, as was wished and expected. Complaints are everywhere heard from our most considerate and virtuous citizens, equally the friends of public and private faith, and of public and personal liberty, that our governments are too unstable; that the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties; and that measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice, and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority. These must be chiefly, if not wholly, effects of the unsteadiness and injustice, with which a factious spirit has tainted our public administrations.

By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or minority of the whole, 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.

There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction. The one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects. There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction. The one, 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.

It could never be more truly said, than of the first remedy, that it is worse than the disease. Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it would not be a less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.

The second expedient is as impracticable, as the first would be unwise. As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self­love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other; and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves. The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to an uniformity of interests. The protection of those faculties is the first object of government. From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results; and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties.

The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man; … and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other, than to co-operate for their common good. So strong is this propensity of mankind, to fall into mutual animosities, that where no substantial occasion presents itself, the most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to kindle their unfriendly passions and excite their most violent conflicts. But 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 formed distinct interests in society. Those who are creditors, and those who are debtors, fall into a like discrimination. A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, with many lesser interests, grow up of necessity in civilized nations, and divide them into different classes, actuated by different sentiments and views. The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation and involves the spirit of the party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of government. …

It is vain to say, that enlightened statesmen will be able to adjust these clashing interests and render them all subservient to the public good. Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm. …

The inference to which we are brought is, that the causes of faction cannot be removed; and that relief is only to be sought in the means of controlling its effects.

If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is supplied by the republican principle, which enables the majority to defeat its sinister views, by regular vote. It may clog the administration; it may convulse the society; but it will be unable to execute and mask its violence under the forms of the constitution. When a majority is included in a faction, the form of popular government, on the other hand, enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest, both the public good and the rights of other citizens. To secure the public good, and private rights, against the danger of such a faction, and at the same time to preserve the spirit and the form of popular government, is the greatest object to which our inquiries are directed. ...

By what means is the object attainable? Evidently by one of two only. Either the existence of the same passion or interest in a majority, at the same time must be prevented; or the majority, having such coexistent passion or interest, must be rendered, by their number and local situation, unable to concert and carry into effect schemes of oppression. …

From this view of the subject, it may be concluded, that a pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure from the mischiefs of faction. …

A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking. Let us examine the points in which it varies from pure democracy, and we shall comprehend both the nature of the cure and the efficacy which it must derive from the union. The two great points of difference, between a democracy and a republic, are, 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 the greater sphere of country, over which the latter may be extended.

The effect of the first difference is, on the one hand, to refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice, will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations. Under such a regulation, it may well happen, that the public voice, pronounced by the representatives of the people, will be more consonant to the public good, than if pronounced by the people themselves, convened for the purpose.... The question resulting is, whether small or extensive republics are most favorable to the election of proper guardians of the public weal; and it is clearly decided in favor of the latter by two obvious considerations.

In the first place, it is to be remarked, that however small the republic may be, the representatives must be raised to a certain number, in order to guard against the cabals of a few; and that however large it may be, they must be limited to a certain number, in order to guard against the confusion of a multitude. Hence, the number of representatives in the two cases not being in proportion to that of the constituents, and being proportionately greatest in the small republic, it follows that if the proportion of fit characters be not less in the large than in the small republic, the former will present a greater probability of a fit choice.

In the next place, as each representative will be chosen by a greater number of citizens in the large than in the small republic, it will be more difficult for unworthy candidates to practice with success the vicious arts, by which elections are too often carried; and the suffrages of the people being more free, will be more likely to center in men who possess the most attractive merit, and the most diffusive and established characters. …

The other point of difference is, the greater number of citizens, and extent of territory, which may be brought within the compass of republican, than of democratic government; and it is this circumstance principally which renders factious combinations less to be dreaded in the former, than in the latter. .. Extend the sphere, and you will take in a greater variety of parties and interests; you make it less probable that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens; or if such common motive exists, it will be more difficult for all who feel it to discover their own strength, and to act in unison with each other. …

Hence, it clearly appears, that the same advantage, which a republic has over a democracy, in controlling the effects of faction, is enjoyed by a large over a small republic - enjoyed by the union over the states composing it. …

In the extent and proper structure of the union, therefore, we behold a republican remedy for the diseases most incident to republican government.

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AP® US History

Federalist number 10: ap® us history crash course review.

  • The Albert Team
  • Last Updated On: March 1, 2022

Federalist Number 10 - AP® US History Crash Course Review

It’s no question that the Founding Fathers played an important role in American history. When it comes to the people who did so much for the founding of our nation, how can you keep track of everything they did? Luckily for you, we have all the tools you need to master the Fathers’ contributions to the American government. In this APUSH crash course review, we will talk about one of the key documents that could appear on the AP® exam: Federalist Number 10.

What is Federalist Number 10?

Federalist No. 10 is an essay written by James Madison, which appeared in The Federalist Papers . The papers were a collection of 85 articles and essays written by Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay in 1787 and 1788. They argued for the ratification of the Constitution and were published under the pseudonym Publius (the Roman Publius helped overthrow the monarchy and establish the Roman Republic).

Federalist Number 10 - AP® US History

The essay’s main argument was that a strong, united republic would be more effective than the individual states at controlling “factions” – groups of citizens united by some cause “adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the… interests of the community.” In other words, they were groups of people with radical ideas that weren’t good for everyone as a whole.

Factions are controlled either by removing the causes or controlling the effects. Essentially, this means that the government can either solve the problem with which the faction is concerned, or wait for the faction to act and repair the damage. Madison believed that removing the causes was impractical. Why? Well, he says, to get to factions’ ideas at the source, you would either have to take away their liberty or make it so everyone has the same opinions.

Taking away liberty was out of the question for Madison – he wrote, “Liberty is to faction what air is to fire.” Fire needs air to exist, but so do humans. Madison means that taking away liberty would destroy the factions, but it would also destroy others’ happiness. The second option – giving everyone the same opinions – is also impossible. As long as humans have the ability to reason, Madison says, they will form different opinions. Therefore, Madison argued instead that factions must be controlled by responding to them. He wanted to do this by giving them representation in a republican government.

The Constitution called for a republic, which elects representatives for the people. This is in contrast to a “pure democracy,” which would use the popular vote. Madison believed a republic would be able to extend the government to more free citizens of greater parts of the country, who wouldn’t necessarily be able to assemble, which would be required under a pure democracy.

According to Federalist No. 10, a large republic will help control factions because when more representatives are elected, there will be a greater number of opinions. Therefore, it is far less likely that there will be one majority oppressing the rest of the people.

Why is Federalist Number 10 Important?

Federalist No. 10 is possibly the most famous of The Federalist Papers , and is even regarded as one of the highest-quality political writings of all time. Some people even called James Madison the “Father of the Constitution” because of his essays’ influence.

Because Federalist No. 10 and the other Federalist Papers were published under a pseudonym, there was controversy surrounding them. You’re right. In fact, an entire group of Americans called the Anti-Federalists spoke out against these writings. In response to The Federalist Papers , Anti-Federalists even published an impressive collection of political writings called The Anti-Federalist Papers .

Anti-Federalists opposed making the government stronger, in the fear that giving more power to a president might lead to a monarchy. Instead, they wanted state governments to have more authority. This policy was outlined in the Articles of Confederation, the predecessor to the Constitution.

Federalist No. 10 may have had an influence on the eventual ratification of the Constitution, especially in New York. However, it is hard to measure its influence for sure. What is for sure is that debaters used many of the Federalist’s writings as a kind of handbook on how to argue in favor of the Constitution.

What You Need to Know for the APUSH Exam – Multiple-Choice

AP® exam multiple choice

The multiple-choice section of the APUSH exam could ask you either about specific details, like the contents of Federalist No. 10, or about broader implications, like its impact on ratification debates. You should be familiar with no only Federalist No. 10, but The Federalist Papers as a whole and the other authors, John Jay and Alexander Hamilton.

The multiple-choice section of the APUSH exam now asks you to respond to “stimulus material.” This means there will be sets of questions asking you about a primary or secondary source, such as a quote, painting, map, chart, etc.

Federalist No. 10 might be one of those primary documents. Luckily, you won’t have to identify it – the source will be written below the excerpt. However, you should read over Federalist 10 at some point during your studying, so you’re already familiar with the phrasing. That way, you can focus on the questions sooner, instead of having to digest all the material for the first time.

College Board has not released past multiple-choice questions of this type, but here is a question similar to the ones that could appear on the APUSH exam:

According to Federalist No. 10, Madison thought the most effective way to control factions was

(A)  eliminating the source of their grievances

(B)  forming a representative republic that would prevent oppression of their opponents

(C) adhering to the strong state powers outlined in the Articles of Confederation

(D) prohibiting faction assemblies

(E)  installing a pure democracy in which every man had equal political influence

The correct choice is B. Although Madison proposed the strategy in choice A as a potential option, he ultimately discredited it. Choice D is incorrect because Madison opposed taking away the factions’ liberty, as it was like “air is to fire.” Choices C and E directly contradict Madison’s position as a Federalist – instead, they represent the Anti-Federalist side of the debate.

What You Need to Know for the APUSH Exam – Essays and Document-Based Questions

The Free-Response Questions and DBQs on the APUSH exam will ask you to connect founding documents such as Federalist No. 10 with other events in the broader scope of American history. Madison’s essay or one of the other Federalist Papers could even be one of the sources for a DBQ.

Here is an example of a Free-Response Question  where you could tie in Federalist No. 10 into your answer:

Analyze the ways in which the political, economic, and diplomatic crises of the 1780’s shaped the provisions of the United States Constitution.  

If you want to write about Federalist No. 10 and the other essays from The Federalist Papers in your response, you could do so in your discussion of the political crises of the 1780’s. Talk about the debate over the Articles of Confederation between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists , and how Federalist No. 10 was used to convince Americans of the need to ratify the Constitution.

Of course, you will also need to bring in details about economic and diplomatic crises at this time, so Federalist No. 10 is only one piece of the puzzle. For more details on how to bring in those other aspects, check out our other APUSH crash courses and the College Board’s detailed scoring guidelines .

Congratulations – you’ve made it through our APUSH crash course on Federalist No. 10! Now you can feel confident tackling questions about one of the most important founding documents. With these tools in hand, you’re well on your way to a 5 in May.

Let’s put everything into practice. Try this AP® US History practice question:

APUSH Practice Question

Looking for more APUSH practice?

Check out our other articles on  AP® US History .

You can also find thousands of practice questions on Albert.io. Albert.io lets you customize your learning experience to target practice where you need the most help. We’ll give you challenging practice questions to help you achieve mastery of AP® US History.

Start practicing here .

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2 thoughts on “federalist number 10: ap® us history crash course review”.

I think it was James Madison who wrote Federalist No. 10, right? There are some points where this article says Hamilton, instead of Madison.

Good catch on the mix up; corrected!

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IMAGES

  1. 😀 Federalist paper 10 analysis. SparkNotes: The Federalist Papers (1787

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  2. Federalist Paper Number 10 by Elliott McCummings

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  3. Explaining Federalist Paper #10: US Government Review

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  4. Behind the Scenes: The Federalist Today

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  6. Solved: Federalist Paper No. 10 According To Madison: What...

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  1. The Federalist Papers No. 67

  2. The Federalist Papers No. 61

  3. Federalist 54

  4. 【Readalong: The Federalist Papers #15-20】Preserving the union

  5. Federalist 10, 39, and 51

  6. The Federalist Papers No. 63

COMMENTS

  1. What Is “Federalist No. 10” About?

    Federalist Paper No. 10, written pseudonymously by James Madison in support of the new United States Constitution, is about how to guard the new government of the union against factions, or groups of citizens with special interests.

  2. What Is Madison’s Thesis in Federalist Paper Number 10?

    James Madison’s thesis in Federalist Paper Number 10 is that a strong national government is better able to guard against the destructive effects of special interest groups and factions than smaller republics. Madison wrote the essay to per...

  3. Why Were the Federalist Papers Written?

    The Federalist Papers were written in an attempt to get the New York citizens to ratify the United States Constitution in 1787. The papers were made up of 85 essays. When reviewing the U.S.

  4. Federalist Papers No. 10 (1787)

    Written by James Madison, this essay defended the form of republican government proposed by the Constitution. Critics of the Constitution argued that the

  5. Federalist No. 10

    Federalist No. 10 is an essay written by James Madison as the tenth of The Federalist Papers, a series of essays initiated by Alexander Hamilton arguing for

  6. The Federalist Papers No. 10

    By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse

  7. Federalist 10

    Federalist 10 was written by James Madison and is probably the most famous of the eighty-five papers written in support of ratification of the Constitution

  8. Federalist 10, Explained [AP Government FOUNDATIONAL

    ... foundational document for AP Government: Federalist 10. This document comes from a series of essays published by Alexander Hamilton

  9. Federalist No. 10

    The main point of Federalist Paper 10 is that a strong federal government can protect liberty because it guards against the dangers of control

  10. Federalist Nos. 1-10

    By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse

  11. Federalist 10 (1787)

    In Federalist 10, Madison fulfills the promise made in Federalist No. 9 to demonstrate the utility of the proposed union in overcoming the problem of faction.

  12. Federalist No. 10: Are Factions the Problem in Creating Democratic

    the problem in public administration? In Fed- eralist No. 10, James Madison addresses the issue of factions in a democratic republic. His.

  13. Federalist Number 10: AP® US History Crash Course Review

    Madison means that taking away liberty would destroy the factions, but it would also destroy others' happiness. The second option – giving

  14. Federalist #10

    Papers, Madison argues for the need for separation of powers. Going.