Posted: June 22nd, 2021
Federalist Paper #10 Essay In perhaps the greatest installment of the federalist papers, James Madison describes how factions, which work against the interest of the public, can be controlled through a constitutional government. Factions are defined by Madison as groups of people that gather together to promote their own economic interests and political opinions (gradesaver. com). These factions often work against each other, and infringe upon the rights of others. Most people are concerned with the instability that rival factions can cause. State governments have done little to aid in the disbanding of factions.
The situation is so dire that, people are disillusioned with all the politicians and blame the government for their problems (gradesaver. com). According to Madison, factions are inevitable. As long as people share a common belief, they will come together and fight for what they think is right. The reason most people formed factions in the eighteenth century, though, was the distribution of property. Even today, property is divided unequally. Men with more talent or ability tend to possess more land than those who were less gifted. Subsequently, there are many different kinds of property.
Men have different wants or needs depending on the type of property they own. For example, the interests of a landowner might be different than that of a businessman (gradesaver. com). It is the governments’ job to manage the conflicting interests of property owners, and to regulate discrepancies between those with and without property. To Madison, there are only two ways to keep factions in check. Remove their causes, and control their effects (gradesaver. com). Unfortunately, the only real ways to manage factions are to either make everyone have the same opinion, or throw away liberty.
Destroying liberty would be worse than, “the disease itself”, and making everyone have the same opinion would be as impossible as trying to tell an atheist there really is a god. Therefore, it is in the nature of man to create groups or factions. That’s why the government created a constitution that could handle the damage caused by factions. The fathers of the U. S. constitution established themselves as a representative government for a reason. Pure or direct democracies cannot possibly control conflicts between factions (gradesaver. com).
The biggest factions will always dominate, and there would be no way to protect the weaker ones against an obnoxious individual or strong majority (gradesaver. com). Pure democracies cannot protect property rights, and have always been defined by the conflict they cause. Madison hopes that good men will be elected into office so that those who govern the country will be fair and honest. The opposite is possible though. Some Men are members of particularly large factions who have prejudices or evil motives, and could influence the people of the United States through intrigue or corruption.
Although this could happen, it is very unlikely. The likelihood that qualified men will stay in office is higher because the country is big, and there will be more representatives chosen by a greater number of citizens. A representative government is needed in larger countries to protect against the rule of a mob (gradesaver. com). In conclusion, Madison presents these arguments because he believes that the majority of people will not listen the, “prophets of gloom” who say the new government won’t succeed. Because we feel pride in being Americans, we should cherish and support the idea of being a federalist.
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