Federalist Number Ten, 1787 Summary

Essay by mrdevenCollege, UndergraduateA+, October 2008

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SummaryFederalist Number 10 is an essay written by James Madison and is the tenth of the federalist papers. The essay is the most famous of the Federalist Papers and is a valued political writing.

Federalist number 10 starts with Madison stating that one of the strongest arguments 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 political opinions and economic interests. Although these factions are at odds with each other, they frequently work against the public interests, and infringe upon the rights of others. Because of the nature of man, such groups are inevitable.

According to Madison there are two ways to limit the damage caused by factions. Either remove the causes or control its effects. He states that there are two ways to remove the causes that aroused the factions to develop.

The first is the elimination of liberty the other is create a society homogeneous in its opinions and interests, both are unacceptable and impracticable. Madison points out liberty is to faction as air is to fire, without air the fire could not exist. It would be foolish to abolish liberty, because it is essential to political life. Madison argues that factions should be controlled and allowed to exist; factions are not only essential to a republic but also natural and therefore unavoidable.

Madison points out the most important source of factions are the unbalanced distribution of property. People who have higher skill levels and talents usually hold more property than those with lesser talents and skills. According to Madison the first purposes of the government was to protect and encourage ability, it only makes sense that the rights of the...