|Federalist Paper No. 10 – The Size and variety of the union as a check on faction
1) Who wrote Federalist Paper No. 10? What was his nickname?
James Madison, the Father of the Constitution
2) What are some of the problems caused by factions?
They created instability, injustice, and confusion. They have been the mortal diseases under which popular governments have everywhere perished.
3) What were some concerns of the people at this time about the government?
a) governments were too unstable
b) that the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties
c) the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority
4) What is the definition of a faction according to the author?
“…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.”
5) How do you limit factions?
a) removing causes - can’t do this in a democratic society
b) controlling its affects
6) Why can’t you remove the causes of factions in a democratic society?
a) Can’t destroy the freedom of speech & petition
b) Every person in society will not have the same ideas, interests and opinions
“The latent causes of factions are thus sown in the nature of man…”
7) What is the most common cause of factions?
“But the most common and durable cause 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.”
8) Why will a pure (direct) democracy NOT work?
“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 us nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual.”
9) Why is a republic preferable to a democracy?
“…the greater number of citizens and greater sphere of country, over which the latter may be extended.”
“…by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of the country, and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations.”
10) Why is a more extensive republic preferred to a smaller one?
“…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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
Best way to control the effects of factions:
1) Create a republic. This will allow for the election of enlightened leadership that will
be more likely to look to the long term and do what is best for the public good, instead of what is politically expedient at that time.
2) Create a large republic. This will make it hard for a single majority to unite around
one common idea.
3) Create other safeguards. Provide other safeguards into the structure and institutions
of government that will further limit the power of factions. Some examples include: checks and balances, separation of powers, and federalism.