Federalist Paper #10

…Federalist Paper #10 by James Madison…

This is the beginning of an examination of Federalist Paper #10 which is the skeleton or back-bone of the Constitution of the U.S. It is a personal reflection and by no means an “educated” through academia style learning but a blood-line and living experience education. This is not only in my blood-line but it is how I was brought up through family discussions, a way of life if you will. I didn’t “go” to school to learn this, this is how I lived and what I was taught by listening to my elders around camp-fires, dining room tables, small talk and drunken arguments. As I recall there were rare times of “I’m right and you are flat-ass wrong”. It was more an examination of the finer points, the what about what ifs. It might also help you to understand that in these discussions politics was but one subject being discussed, they also included science, religion, music, economics and who was going on the next beer/KFC/ run. There are those that claim to “practice” politics. I live it. There have been times in the past when I hid from this exposure and there have been times when I lived in denial but with our country so poorly educated and in such disarray I thought it might be a good time to raise the “communities” awareness to the real struggle we face, not the one’s playing out on t.v. or most media outlets. A good time to raise the level of our game, if you will. By many, Federalist Paper #10 is the reasoning, the why and how come, the Constitution was framed and written the way it was. In order to understand the Constitution you must first understand #10 and then you’ll be able to understand the Constitution and rest of the Federalist Papers. If you truly need to get to nitty-gritty of it all I suggest you also read the papers replying to the Federalist Papers. They will demonstrate why the Federalist Papers reign supreme to this day. After serious consideration I will not be pulling #10 apart and “explaining” it to you. On the page titled “U.S. Politics/commentary”, I posted that HRC is in fact a republican and that Mr. Sanders is a democrat, I think with a careful reading of #10 you’ll understand my reasoning. If not then I suggest you go to wikipedia and look up republic, republican and republicanism; man has been discussing this since time began, it is nothing new. What is new is the “factions” of the far right and how extreme they are within the realm of realistic governance within a republic such as ours. You might also look into the reason(s) for the writing of The Federalist Papers, why they are addressed to the people of New York and why I say that to this very day Washington D.C. is but an extension of the Hudson River Valley. Reading the page titled “My Family” My Family  may provide a few clues to help you get started.


…a friend of mine and I were just exchanging emails, one of the subjects covered was translating poetry…oh how lucky you are dear reader…when I transferred #10 from wikipedia to this page it happened to end up in the form it’s in, instead of paragraphs on a page in a book…education during the time of Madison certainly covered poetry, how to read it, write it, understand it in it’s classical form; unlike today…but…if you read it like a poem it will be so much easier for you to understand and in the form it is on this page will aid you in this, it is very poem like in so many ways, almost “classical” in nature, it has a built-in rhythm or flow of thought…this may very well be why #10 is so important…


The Federalist (Dawson)/10 – Wikisource, the free…
The Federalist
From Wikisource
< The Federalist (Dawson)


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. 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
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, 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
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 preëminence 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 coöperate 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
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
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
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 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
practise 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
Fœderal 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
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 to 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
Republicans, ought to be our zeal in
cherishing the spirit, and supporting the
character, of Fœderalists.

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