Written by James Madison, this Federalist 10 defended the form of republican government proposed by the Constitution . Critics of the Constitution argued that the proposed federal government was too large and would be unresponsive to the people.
PDF: Federalist Papers No 10
Writing Federalist Paper No 10
In response, Madison explored majority rule v. minority rights in this essay. He countered that it was exactly the great number of factions and diversity that would avoid tyranny. Groups would be forced to negotiate and compromise among themselves, arriving at solutions that would respect the rights of minorities. Further, he argued that the large size of the country would actually make it more difficult for factions to gain control over others. “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.”
Federalist 10 | BRI’s Primary Source Essentials
No other Founder had as much influence in crafting, ratifying, and interpreting the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights as he did. A skilled political tactician, Madison proved instrumental in determining the form of the early American republic.
Would you have been a Federalist or an Anti-Federalist?
Federalist or Anti-Federalist? Over the next few months we will explore through a series of eLessons the debate over ratification of the United States Constitution as discussed in the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers. We look forward to exploring this important debate with you! One of the great debates in American history was over the ratification […]
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- The Federalist
Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay
- Literature Notes
- Federalist No. 10 (James Madison)
- About The Federalist
- Summary and Analysis
- Section I: General Introduction: Federalist No. 1 (Alexander Hamilton)
- Section I: General Introduction: Federalist No. 2 (John Jay)
- Section I: General Introduction: Federalist No. 3 (Jay)
- Section I: General Introduction: Federalist No. 4 (Jay)
- Section I: General Introduction: Federalist No. 5 (Jay)
- Section I: General Introduction: Federalist No. 6 (Hamilton)
- Section I: General Introduction: Federalist No. 7 (Hamilton)
- Section I: General Introduction: Federalist No. 8 (Hamilton)
- Section II: Advantages of Union: Federalist No. 9 (Hamilton)
- Section II: Advantages of Union: Federalist No. 10 (James Madison)
- Section II: Advantages of Union: Federalist No. 11 (Hamilton)
- Section II: Advantages of Union: Federalist No. 12 (Hamilton)
- Section II: Advantages of Union: Federalist No. 13 (Hamilton)
- Section II: Advantages of Union: Federalist No. 14 (Madison)
- Section III: Disadvantages of Existing Government: Federalist No. 15 (Hamilton)
- Section III: Disadvantages of Existing Government: Federalists No. 16-20 (Madison and Hamilton)
- Section III: Disadvantages of Existing Government: Federalist No. 21 (Hamilton)
- Section III: Disadvantages of Existing Government: Federalist No. 22 (Hamilton)
- Section IV: Common Defense: Federalists No. 23-29 (Hamilton)
- Section V: Powers of Taxation: Federalists No. 30-36 (Hamilton)
- Section VI: Difficulties in Framing Constitution: Federalists No. 37-40 (Madison)
- Section VII: General Powers: Federalists No. 41-46 (Madison)
- Section VIII: Structure of New Government: Federalists No. 47–51 (Madison or Hamilton)
- Section IX: House of Representatives: Federalists No. 52–61 (Madison or Hamilton)
- Section X: United States Senate: Federalists No. 62–66 (Madison or Hamilton)
- Section XI: Need for a Strong Executive: Federalist No. 67 (Hamilton)
- Section XI: Need for a Strong Executive: Federalist No. 68 (Hamilton)
- Section XI: Need for a Strong Executive: Federalists No. 69-74 (Hamilton)
- Section XI: Need for a Strong Executive: Federalists No. 75-77 (Hamilton)
- Section XII: Judiciary: Federalist No. 78 (Hamilton)
- Section XII: Judiciary: Federalist No. 79 (Hamilton)
- Section XII: Judiciary: Federalist No. 80 (Hamilton)
- Section XII: Judiciary: Federalist No. 81 (Hamilton)
- Section XII: Judiciary: Federalist No. 82 (Hamilton)
- Section XII: Judiciary: Federalist No. 83 (Hamilton)
- Section XIII: Conclusions: Federalist No. 84 (Hamilton)
- Section XIII: Conclusions: Federalist No. 85 (Hamilton)
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Summary and Analysis Section II: Advantages of Union: Federalist No. 10 (James Madison)
This essay, the first of Madison's contributions to the series, was a rather long development of the theme that a well-constructed union would break and control the violence of faction, a "dangerous vice" in popular governments.
As defined by Madison, a faction was a number of citizens, whether a majority or minority, who were united and activated "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 were two ways of removing the causes of factions, or political parties. The first was to destroy the liberty essential to their existence. This remedy would be worse than the disease. The second was to give everyone the same opinions, passions, and interests. This was impossible. Woven into the fabric of all societies, deeply planted in the very nature of man, were conflicting ideas, interests, and passions. The greatest source of factions had always been the various and unequal distribution of property, said Madison:
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, . . . a landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a monied 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.
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.
Such effects could be better controlled in a large society under a representative form of government than in a small society under a popular form of government. The proposed constitution would check the power of factions by balancing one against the other. Factious leaders might "kindle a flame" in one state, but would be unable to spread a general conflagration throughout the states.
"A rage for paper money, for abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project, . . ." was not likely to spread if those professing themselves republicans showed zeal in "supporting the character of Federalists."
Madison's definition of a "faction," or political party, is interesting and most significant in view of the fact that Madison soon ceased to be one of the Federalists who believed in a one-party system, and became Jefferson's most active lieutenant in organizing in opposition the Democratic-Republican Party, which was strongly Anti-Federalist and took power after 1800.
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- Federal Government
- Political Culture
- November 22, 1787
Federalist 10 was written by James Madison and is probably the most famous of the eighty-five papers written in support of ratification of the Constitution that are collectively known as the Federalist Papers. The Federalist essays were formally addressed to the people of New York and were intended to influence the New York ratifying convention. Other essays had been written that defended the Constitution primarily by attacking those who opposed it. What made the Federalist unique was that it defended the proposed Constitution by explaining in careful detail its provisions and the principles behind them.
Though Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison collaborated on the essays that make up the Federalist, the three men wrote collectively under the pseudonym “Publius,” indicating their intention to speak in a single voice through the essays. Federalist 10 specifically deals with Publius’ treatment of factions and how a republican government can be constructed to protect against this dangerous malady. Factions, to Publius, were considered the bane of republican government, especially when a faction became a majority within the population. Factions were groups of people united by a common interest or passion adverse to the rights of other people in society. This oppressive nature of factions is what made them so dangerous and why Publius devoted so much time to discussing how to check and control them. In addition, Publius understood political parties to be factions and, in fact, uses “party” as a synonym for “faction” throughout Federalist 10 .
Source: The Federalist. Gideon Edition, eds. George W. Carey and James McClellan (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2001), 42–49.
. . . By a faction, I understand 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.
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 interests.
It could never be more truly said, than of the first remedy, that it is 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 a 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 every where 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 pre-eminence 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 co-operate 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 monied 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 government….
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 right 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 alone 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 co-existent 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, results 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 passions.
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 union.
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 other point of difference is, the great 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….
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….
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The Federalist Papers
By alexander hamilton , james madison , john jay, the federalist papers summary and analysis of essay 10.
Madison begins perhaps the most famous essay 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. Madison defines factions as groups of people who gather together to protect and promote their special economic interests and political opinions. Although these factions are at odds with each other, they frequently work against the public interest and infringe upon the rights of others.
Both supporters and opponents of the plan are concerned with the political instability produced by rival factions. The state governments have not succeeded in solving this problem; in fact, the situation is so problematic that people are disillusioned with all politicians and blame the government for their problems. Consequently, any form of popular government that can deal successfully with this problem has a great deal to recommend it.
Given the nature of man, factions are inevitable. As long as men hold different opinions, have different amounts of wealth, and own different amounts of property, they will continue to fraternize with those people who are most similar to them. Both serious and trivial reasons account for the formation of factions, but the most important source of faction is the unequal distribution of property. Men of greater ability and talent tend to possess more property than those of lesser ability, and since the first object of government is to protect and encourage ability, it follows that the rights of property owners must be protected. Property is divided unequally, and, in addition, there are many different kinds of property. Men have different interests depending upon the kind of property they own. For example, the interests of landowners differ from those of business owners. Governments must not only protect the conflicting interests of property owners but also must successfully regulate the conflicts between those with and without property.
To Madison, there are only two ways to control a faction: to remove its causes and to control its effects. There are only two ways to remove the causes of a faction: destroy liberty or give every citizen the same opinions, passions, and interests. Destroying liberty is a "cure worse then the disease itself," and the second is impracticable. The causes of factions are thus part of the nature of man, so we must accept their existence and deal with their effects. The government created by the Constitution controls the damage caused by such factions.
The framers established a representative form of government: a government in which the many elect the few who govern. Pure or direct democracies (countries in which all the citizens participate directly in making the laws) cannot possibly control factious conflicts. This is because the strongest and largest faction dominates and there is no way to protect weak factions against the actions of an obnoxious individual or a strong majority. Direct democracies cannot effectively protect personal and property rights and have always been characterized by conflict.
If the new plan of government is adopted, Madison hopes that the men elected to office will be wise and good men, the best of America. Theoretically, those who govern should be the least likely to sacrifice the public good for temporary conditions, but the opposite could happen. Men who are members of particular factions or who have prejudices or evil motives might manage, by intrigue or corruption, to win elections and then betray the interests of the people. However, the possibility of this happening in a large country, such as the United States, is greatly reduced. The likelihood that public offices will be held by qualified men is greater in large countries because there will be more representatives chosen by a greater number of citizens. This makes it more difficult for the candidates to deceive the people. Representative government is needed in large countries, not to protect the people from the tyranny of the few, but rather to guard against the rule of the mob.
In large republics, factions will be numerous, but they will be weaker than in small, direct democracies where it is easier for factions to consolidate their strength. In this country, leaders of factions may be able to influence state governments to support unsound economic and political policies as the states, far from being abolished, retain much of their sovereignty. If the framers had abolished the state governments, then opponents of the proposed government would have had a legitimate objection.
The immediate object of the constitution is to bring the present thirteen states into a secure union. Almost every state, old and new, will have one boundary next to territory owned by a foreign nation. The states farthest from the center of the country will be most endangered by these foreign countries; they may find it inconvenient to send representatives long distances to the capital, but in terms of safety and protection, they stand to gain the most from a strong national government.
Madison concludes that he presents these previous arguments because he is confident that many will not listen to those "prophets of gloom" who say that the proposed government is unworkable. For this founding father, it seems incredible that these gloomy voices suggest abandoning the idea of coming together in strength—after all, the states still have common interests. Madison concludes that "according to the degree of pleasure and pride we feel in being Republicans, ought to be our zeal in cherishing the spirit and supporting the character of Federalists."
James Madison carried to the Convention a plan that was the exact opposite of Hamilton's. In fact, the theory he advocated at Philadelphia and in his essays was developed as a republican substitute for the New Yorker's "high toned" scheme of state. Madison was convinced that the class struggle would be ameliorated in America by establishing a limited federal government that would make functional use of the vast size of the country and the existence of the states as active political organisms. He argued in his "Notes on Confederacy," in his Convention speeches, and again in Federalist 10 that if an extended republic were set up including a multiplicity of economic, geographic, social, religious, and sectional interests, then these interests, by checking each other, would prevent American society from being divided into the clashing armies of the rich and the poor. Thus, if no interstate proletariat could become organized on purely economic lines, the property of the rich would be safe even though the mass of the people held political power. Madison's solution for the class struggle was not to set up an absolute state to regiment society from above; he was never willing to sacrifice liberty to gain security. Rather, he wished to multiply the deposits of political power in the state itself to break down the dichotomy of rich and poor, thereby guaranteeing both liberty and security. This, as he stated in Federalist 10, would provide a "republican remedy for the diseases most incident to republican government."
It is also interesting to note that James Madison was the most creative and philosophical disciple of the Scottish school of science and politics in attendance at the Philadelphia Convention. His effectiveness as an advocate of a new constitution, and of the particular Constitution that was drawn up in Philadelphia in 1787, was based in a large part on his personal experience in public life and his personal knowledge of the conditions of American in 1787. But Madison's greatness as a statesman also rests in part on his ability to set his limited personal experience within the context of the experience of men in other ages and times, thus giving extra insight to his political formulations.
His most amazing political prophecy, contained within the pages of Federalist 10, was that the size of the United States and its variety of interests constituted a guarantee of stability and justice under the new Constitution. When Madison made this prophecy, the accepted opinion among all sophisticated politicians was exactly the opposite. It was David Hume's speculations on the "Idea of a Perfect Commonwealth," first published in 1752, that most stimulated James Madison's' thought on factions. In this essay, Hume decried any attempt to substitute a political utopia for "the common botched and inaccurate governments" which seemed to serve imperfect men so well. Nevertheless, he argued, the idea of a perfect commonwealth "is surely the most worthy curiosity of any the wit of man can possibly devise. And who knows, if this controversy were fixed by the universal consent of the wise and learned, but, in some future age, an opportunity might be afforded of reducing the theory to practice, either by a dissolution of some old government, or by the combination of men to form a new one, in some distant part of the world. " At the end of Hume's essay was a discussion that was of interest to Madison. The Scot casually demolished the Montesquieu small-republic theory; and it was this part of the essay, contained in a single page, that was to serve Madison in new-modeling a "botched" Confederation "in a distant part of the world." Hume said that "in a large government, which is modeled with masterly skill, there is compass and room enough to refine the democracy, from the lower people, who may be admitted into the first elections or first concoction of the commonwealth, to the higher magistrate, who direct all the movements. At the same time, the parts are so distant and remote, that it is very difficult, either by intrigue, prejudice, or passion, to hurry them into any measure against the public interest." Hume's analysis here had turned the small-territory republic theory upside down: if a free state could once be established in a large area, it would be stable and safe from the effects of faction. Madison had found the answer to Montesquieu. He had also found in embryonic form his own theory of the extended federal republic.
In Hume's essay lay the germ for Madison's theory of the extended republic. It is interesting to see how he took these scattered and incomplete fragments and built them into an intellectual and theoretical structure of his own. Madison's first full statement of this hypothesis appeared in his "Notes on the Confederacy" written in April 1787, eight months before the final version of it was published as the tenth Federalist. Starting with the proposition that "in republican Government, the majority, however, composed, ultimately give the law," Madison then asks what is to restrain an interested majority from unjust violations of the minority's rights? Three motives might be claimed to meliorate the selfishness of the majority: first, "prudent regard for their own good, as involved in the general . . . good" second, "respect for character" and finally, religious scruples. After examining each in its turn Madison concludes that they are but a frail bulwark against a ruthless party.
When one examines these two papers in which Hume and Madison summed up the eighteenth century's most profound thought on political parties, it becomes increasingly clear that the young American used the earlier work in preparing a survey on factions through the ages to introduce his own discussion of faction in America. Hume's work was admirably adapted to this purpose. It was philosophical and scientific in the best tradition of the Enlightenment. The facile domination of faction had been a commonplace in English politics for a hundred years, as Whig and Tory vociferously sought to fasten the label on each other. But the Scot, very little interested as a partisan and very much so as a social scientist, treated the subject therefore in psychological, intellectual, and socioeconomic terms. Throughout all history, he discovered, mankind has been divided into factions based either on personal loyalty to some leader or upon some "sentiment or interest" common to the group as a unit. This latter type he called a "Real" as distinguished from the "personal" faction. Finally, he subdivided the "real factions" into parties based on "interest, upon principle," or upon affection."
Hume spent well over five pages dissecting these three types; but Madison, while determined to be inclusive, had not the space to go into such minute analysis. Besides, he was more intent now on developing the cure than on describing the malady. He therefore consolidated Hume's two-page treatment of "personal" factions and his long discussion of parties based on "principle and affection" into a single sentence. The tenth Federalist reads" "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 pre-eminence 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 ad oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good." It is hard to conceive of a more perfect example of the concentration of idea and meaning than Madison achieved in this famous sentence.
The Federalist Papers Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Federalist Papers is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
According to Madison, there are only two ways to remove the causes of a faction: destroy liberty or give every citizen the same opinions, passions, and interests. As a result, he notes that destroying liberty is a "cure worse then the disease...
Can the judicial branch overturn an executive act?
Yes, it is the duty of the judges to declare void legislative acts contrary to the Constitution.
According to Hamilton, the judicial branch of government is by far the weakest branch. The judicial branch posses only the power to judge, not to act, and even its judgments or decisions depend upon the executive branch to carry them out....
Study Guide for The Federalist Papers
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.
- About The Federalist Papers
- The Federalist Papers Summary
- The Federalist Papers Video
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Essays for The Federalist Papers
The Federalist Papers essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison.
- A Close Reading of James Madison's The Federalist No. 51 and its Relevancy Within the Sphere of Modern Political Thought
- Lock, Hobbes, and the Federalist Papers
- Comparison of Federalist Paper 78 and Brutus XI
- The Paradox of the Republic: A Close Reading of Federalist 10
- Manipulation of Individual Citizen Motivations in the Federalist Papers
Lesson Plan for The Federalist Papers
- About the Author
- Study Objectives
- Common Core Standards
- Introduction to The Federalist Papers
- Relationship to Other Books
- Bringing in Technology
- Notes to the Teacher
- Related Links
- The Federalist Papers Bibliography
E-Text of The Federalist Papers
The Federalist Papers e-text contains the full text of The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison.
- FEDERALIST. Nos. 1-5
- FEDERALIST. Nos. 6-10
- FEDERALIST. Nos. 11-15
- FEDERALIST. Nos. 16-20
- FEDERALIST. Nos. 21-25
Wikipedia Entries for The Federalist Papers
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AP® US History
Federalist number 10: ap® us history crash course review.
- The Albert Team
- Last Updated On: March 1, 2022
It’s no question that the Founding Fathers played an important role in American history. When it comes to the people who did so much for the founding of our nation, how can you keep track of everything they did? Luckily for you, we have all the tools you need to master the Fathers’ contributions to the American government. In this APUSH crash course review, we will talk about one of the key documents that could appear on the AP® exam: Federalist Number 10.
What is Federalist Number 10?
Federalist No. 10 is an essay written by James Madison, which appeared in The Federalist Papers . The papers were a collection of 85 articles and essays written by Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay in 1787 and 1788. They argued for the ratification of the Constitution and were published under the pseudonym Publius (the Roman Publius helped overthrow the monarchy and establish the Roman Republic).
The essay’s main argument was that a strong, united republic would be more effective than the individual states at controlling “factions” – groups of citizens united by some cause “adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the… interests of the community.” In other words, they were groups of people with radical ideas that weren’t good for everyone as a whole.
Factions are controlled either by removing the causes or controlling the effects. Essentially, this means that the government can either solve the problem with which the faction is concerned, or wait for the faction to act and repair the damage. Madison believed that removing the causes was impractical. Why? Well, he says, to get to factions’ ideas at the source, you would either have to take away their liberty or make it so everyone has the same opinions.
Taking away liberty was out of the question for Madison – he wrote, “Liberty is to faction what air is to fire.” Fire needs air to exist, but so do humans. Madison means that taking away liberty would destroy the factions, but it would also destroy others’ happiness. The second option – giving everyone the same opinions – is also impossible. As long as humans have the ability to reason, Madison says, they will form different opinions. Therefore, Madison argued instead that factions must be controlled by responding to them. He wanted to do this by giving them representation in a republican government.
The Constitution called for a republic, which elects representatives for the people. This is in contrast to a “pure democracy,” which would use the popular vote. Madison believed a republic would be able to extend the government to more free citizens of greater parts of the country, who wouldn’t necessarily be able to assemble, which would be required under a pure democracy.
According to Federalist No. 10, a large republic will help control factions because when more representatives are elected, there will be a greater number of opinions. Therefore, it is far less likely that there will be one majority oppressing the rest of the people.
Why is Federalist Number 10 Important?
Federalist No. 10 is possibly the most famous of The Federalist Papers , and is even regarded as one of the highest-quality political writings of all time. Some people even called James Madison the “Father of the Constitution” because of his essays’ influence.
Because Federalist No. 10 and the other Federalist Papers were published under a pseudonym, there was controversy surrounding them. You’re right. In fact, an entire group of Americans called the Anti-Federalists spoke out against these writings. In response to The Federalist Papers , Anti-Federalists even published an impressive collection of political writings called The Anti-Federalist Papers .
Anti-Federalists opposed making the government stronger, in the fear that giving more power to a president might lead to a monarchy. Instead, they wanted state governments to have more authority. This policy was outlined in the Articles of Confederation, the predecessor to the Constitution.
Federalist No. 10 may have had an influence on the eventual ratification of the Constitution, especially in New York. However, it is hard to measure its influence for sure. What is for sure is that debaters used many of the Federalist’s writings as a kind of handbook on how to argue in favor of the Constitution.
What You Need to Know for the APUSH Exam – Multiple-Choice
The multiple-choice section of the APUSH exam could ask you either about specific details, like the contents of Federalist No. 10, or about broader implications, like its impact on ratification debates. You should be familiar with no only Federalist No. 10, but The Federalist Papers as a whole and the other authors, John Jay and Alexander Hamilton.
The multiple-choice section of the APUSH exam now asks you to respond to “stimulus material.” This means there will be sets of questions asking you about a primary or secondary source, such as a quote, painting, map, chart, etc.
Federalist No. 10 might be one of those primary documents. Luckily, you won’t have to identify it – the source will be written below the excerpt. However, you should read over Federalist 10 at some point during your studying, so you’re already familiar with the phrasing. That way, you can focus on the questions sooner, instead of having to digest all the material for the first time.
College Board has not released past multiple-choice questions of this type, but here is a question similar to the ones that could appear on the APUSH exam:
According to Federalist No. 10, Madison thought the most effective way to control factions was
(A) eliminating the source of their grievances
(B) forming a representative republic that would prevent oppression of their opponents
(C) adhering to the strong state powers outlined in the Articles of Confederation
(D) prohibiting faction assemblies
(E) installing a pure democracy in which every man had equal political influence
The correct choice is B. Although Madison proposed the strategy in choice A as a potential option, he ultimately discredited it. Choice D is incorrect because Madison opposed taking away the factions’ liberty, as it was like “air is to fire.” Choices C and E directly contradict Madison’s position as a Federalist – instead, they represent the Anti-Federalist side of the debate.
What You Need to Know for the APUSH Exam – Essays and Document-Based Questions
The Free-Response Questions and DBQs on the APUSH exam will ask you to connect founding documents such as Federalist No. 10 with other events in the broader scope of American history. Madison’s essay or one of the other Federalist Papers could even be one of the sources for a DBQ.
Here is an example of a Free-Response Question where you could tie in Federalist No. 10 into your answer:
Analyze the ways in which the political, economic, and diplomatic crises of the 1780’s shaped the provisions of the United States Constitution.
If you want to write about Federalist No. 10 and the other essays from The Federalist Papers in your response, you could do so in your discussion of the political crises of the 1780’s. Talk about the debate over the Articles of Confederation between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists , and how Federalist No. 10 was used to convince Americans of the need to ratify the Constitution.
Of course, you will also need to bring in details about economic and diplomatic crises at this time, so Federalist No. 10 is only one piece of the puzzle. For more details on how to bring in those other aspects, check out our other APUSH crash courses and the College Board’s detailed scoring guidelines .
Congratulations – you’ve made it through our APUSH crash course on Federalist No. 10! Now you can feel confident tackling questions about one of the most important founding documents. With these tools in hand, you’re well on your way to a 5 in May.
Let’s put everything into practice. Try this AP® US History practice question:
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2 thoughts on “federalist number 10: ap® us history crash course review”.
I think it was James Madison who wrote Federalist No. 10, right? There are some points where this article says Hamilton, instead of Madison.
Good catch on the mix up; corrected!
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