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The Federalist Papers 10 and 51 (1788)

Analysis of Federalist #51

❶The Federalist Papers , as a foundation text of constitutional interpretation, are commonly cited by American jurists and court systems in general.

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by James Madison

Factions are bad news to a just government. They end up causing instability, injustice, and confusion. Lots of governments have fallen to one group gaining too much power over the whole. Sadly, America also has factions. Try not to panic. People are worried that the common good is being ignored in favor of the conflicts between rival factions.

Not only that, but also the rights of the minor party are getting steamrolled by the power of the majority. But what are factions, anyways? They're a group of citizens, however big or small, who are united by a specific interest that puts them against another group of citizens and their specific interests. There are two ways to stop factions: Remove its causes, or control its effects. The downside to the first thing is that factions are a by-product of having opinions in general and the freedom to express them.

You can't go into someone's brain and get rid of their opinions—in maybe, but at least not in —and getting rid of people's freedom of expression kind of flies in the face of the whole democracy thing. It would be like launching your house into space to put out a fire. Fire can't burn without that pesky oxygen pesky freedom, in this analogy , but you also need oxygen to breathe.

What gets even worse is that everyone has an interest. It was much reprinted, albeit without his introduction. The first date of publication and the newspaper name were recorded for each essay. Of modern editions, Jacob E. Cooke's edition is seen as authoritative, and is most used today.

Hamilton there addressed the destructive role of a faction in breaking apart the republic. The question Madison answers, then, is how to eliminate the negative effects of faction.

Madison defines a faction as "a number of citizens, whether amounting to a minority or majority 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".

At the heart of Madison's fears about factions was the unequal distribution of property in society. Ultimately, "the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property," Madison argues Dawson , p. Since some people owned property and others owned none, Madison felt that people would form different factions that pursued different interests.

Providing some examples of the distinct interests, Madison identified a landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, and "many lesser interests" Dawson , p.

They all belonged to "different classes" that were "actuated by different sentiments and views," Madison insists Dawson , p.

In other words, Madison argued that the unequal distribution of property led to the creation of different classes that formed different factions and pursued different class interests. Moreover, Madison feared the formation of a certain kind of faction. Recognizing that the country's wealthiest property owners formed a minority and that the country's unpropertied classes formed a majority, Madison feared that the unpropertied classes would come together to form a majority faction that gained control of the government.

Against "the minor party," there could emerge "an interested and overbearing majority," Madison warns Dawson , p. Specifically, Madison feared that the unpropertied classes would use their majority power to implement a variety of measures that redistributed wealth.

There could be "a rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project," Madison warns Dawson , p. In short, Madison feared that a majority faction of the unpropertied classes might emerge to redistribute wealth and property in a way that benefited the majority of the population at the expense of the country's richest and wealthiest people. Like the anti-Federalists who opposed him, Madison was substantially influenced by the work of Montesquieu, though Madison and Montesquieu disagreed on the question addressed in this essay.

He also relied heavily on the philosophers of the Scottish Enlightenment , especially David Hume , whose influence is most clear in Madison's discussion of the types of faction and in his argument for an extended republic.

Madison first assessed that there are two ways to limit the damage caused by faction: He then describes the two methods to removing the causes of faction: After all, Americans fought for it during the American Revolution. The second option, creating a society homogeneous in opinions and interests, is impracticable. The diversity of the people's ability is what makes them succeed more or less, and inequality of property is a right that the government should protect.

Madison particularly emphasizes that economic stratification prevents everyone from sharing the same opinion. Madison concludes that the damage caused by faction can be limited only by controlling its effects. He then argues that the only problem comes from majority factions because the principle of popular sovereignty should prevent minority factions from gaining power.

Madison offers two ways to check majority factions: Madison states, "The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man", [19] so the cure is to control their effects. He makes an argument on how this is not possible in a pure democracy but possible in a republic. With pure democracy, he means a system in which every citizen votes directly for laws, and, with republic, he intends a society in which citizens elect a small body of representatives who then vote for laws.

He indicates that the voice of the people pronounced by a body of representatives is more conformable to the interest of the community, since, again, common people's decisions are affected by their self-interest. He then makes an argument in favor of a large republic against a small republic for the choice of "fit characters" [20] to represent the public's voice. In a large republic, where the number of voters and candidates is greater, the probability to elect competent representatives is broader.

The voters have a wider option. In a small republic, it would also be easier for the candidates to fool the voters but more difficult in a large one. The last argument Madison makes in favor of a large republic is that as, in a small republic, there will be a lower variety of interests and parties, a majority will more frequently be found. The number of participants of that majority will be lower, and, since they live in a more limited territory, it would be easier for them to agree and work together for the accomplishment of their ideas.

While in a large republic the variety of interests will be greater so to make it harder to find a majority. Even if there is a majority, it would be harder for them to work together because of the large number of people and the fact they are spread out in a wider territory. A republic, Madison writes, is different from a democracy because its government is placed in the hands of delegates, and, as a result of this, it can be extended over a larger area.

The idea is that, in a large republic, there will be more "fit characters" to choose from for each delegate. Also, the fact that each representative is chosen from a larger constituency should make the "vicious arts" of electioneering [21] a reference to rhetoric less effective.

For instance, in a large republic, a corrupt delegate would need to bribe many more people in order to win an election than in a small republic. Also, in a republic, the delegates both filter and refine the many demands of the people so as to prevent the type of frivolous claims that impede purely democratic governments. Though Madison argued for a large and diverse republic, the writers of the Federalist Papers recognized the need for a balance.

They wanted a republic diverse enough to prevent faction but with enough commonality to maintain cohesion among the states. He notes that if constituencies are too large, the representatives will be "too little acquainted with all their local circumstances and lesser interests".

No matter how large the constituencies of federal representatives, local matters will be looked after by state and local officials with naturally smaller constituencies.

The Anti-Federalists vigorously contested the notion that a republic of diverse interests could survive. The author Cato another pseudonym, most likely that of George Clinton [24] summarized the Anti-Federalist position in the article Cato no.

Whoever seriously considers the immense extent of territory comprehended within the limits of the United States, with the variety of its climates, productions, and commerce, the difference of extent, and number of inhabitants in all; the dissimilitude of interest, morals, and policies, in almost every one, will receive it as an intuitive truth, that a consolidated republican form of government therein, can never form a perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to you and your posterity, for to these objects it must be directed: Generally, it was their position that republics about the size of the individual states could survive, but that a republic on the size of the Union would fail.

A particular point in support of this was that most of the states were focused on one industry—to generalize, commerce and shipping in the northern states and plantation farming in the southern. The Anti-Federalist belief that the wide disparity in the economic interests of the various states would lead to controversy was perhaps realized in the American Civil War , which some scholars attribute to this disparity.

The discussion of the ideal size for the republic was not limited to the options of individual states or encompassing union. In a letter to Richard Price , Benjamin Rush noted that "Some of our enlightened men who begin to despair of a more complete union of the States in Congress have secretly proposed an Eastern, Middle, and Southern Confederacy, to be united by an alliance offensive and defensive". In making their arguments, the Anti-Federalists appealed to both historical and theoretic evidence.

On the theoretical side, they leaned heavily on the work of Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu. The Anti-Federalists Brutus and Cato both quoted Montesquieu on the issue of the ideal size of a republic, citing his statement in The Spirit of the Laws that:.

It is natural to a republic to have only a small territory, otherwise it cannot long subsist. In a large republic there are men of large fortunes, and consequently of less moderation; there are trusts too great to be placed in any single subject; he has interest of his own; he soon begins to think that he may be happy, great and glorious, by oppressing his fellow citizens; and that he may raise himself to grandeur on the ruins of his country. In a large republic, the public good is sacrificed to a thousand views; it is subordinate to exceptions, and depends on accidents.

In a small one, the interest of the public is easier perceived, better understood, and more within the reach of every citizen; abuses are of less extent, and of course are less protected. Greece and Rome were looked to as model republics throughout this debate, [31] and authors on both sides took Roman pseudonyms.

Brutus points out that the Greek and Roman states were small, whereas the U. He also points out that the expansion of these republics resulted in a transition from free government to tyranny.

In the first century of the American republic, No. For instance, in Democracy in America , Alexis de Tocqueville refers specifically to more than fifty of the essays, but No. News and World Report , No. The historian Charles A. Beard identified Federalist No. In his book An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States , Beard argued that Madison produced a detailed explanation of the economic factors that lay behind the creation of the Constitution.

At the outset of his study, Beard makes his point when he writes that Madison provided "a masterly statement of the theory of economic determinism in politics" Beard , p. Later in his study, Beard repeated his point, only providing more emphasis. Douglass Adair attributes the increased interest in the tenth number to Charles A. Beard 's book An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution , published in Adair also contends that Beard's selective focus on the issue of class struggle , and his political progressivism , has colored modern scholarship on the essay.

According to Adair, Beard reads No. Garry Wills is a noted critic of Madison's argument in Federalist No. In his book Explaining America , he adopts the position of Robert Dahl in arguing that Madison's framework does not necessarily enhance the protections of minorities or ensure the common good.

But these weapons for delay are given to the minority irrespective of its factious or nonfactious character; and they can be used against the majority irrespective of its factious or nonfactious character.

What Madison prevents is not faction, but action. What he protects is not the common good but delay as such". For instance, United States Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens cites the paper for the statement, "Parties ranked high on the list of evils that the Constitution was designed to check".


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The Federalist Papers study guide contains a biography of Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

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Summary of Federalist Paper 10 of The Federalist Papers 10 and Get a line-by-line breakdown of this section of the text to be sure you're picking up what The Federalist Papers 10 and 51 is . federalist paper 10 and Garrett myers p.1 downlwhopkd.cf STUDY. PLAY. federalist paper james madison argues for the adoption of the constitution, federalist paper 10 (written in ) argues that a strong central government can guard against the "factionalism" of smaller republics, a broad, strong national government that should remain non.

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Summary. Madison begins perhaps the most famous of the Federalist papers by stating that one of the strongest arguments in favor of the Constitution is the fact that it establishes a government capable of controlling the violence and damage caused by factions. The Federalist No. 10 | The Federalist No. The Federalist Paper No. 10 The Same Subject Continued: The Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection.