Excerpts from The Federalist, No. 10 by James Madison (1787)

So Much Alarmed

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 instability, injustice and confusion introduced into the public councils have in truth been the mortal diseases under which popular governments have everywhere perished…

Public Good Disregarded

That the public good is disregarded in the conflict of rival parties… the prevailing and increasing distrust of public engagement and alarm for private rights, which are echoed from one end of the continent to the other…

A fractious spirit has tainted our public administrations…

A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning Government and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice, and attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for preeminence 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 cooperate 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.

More disposed to vex and oppress each other than to cooperate for their common good

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.


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