The Federalist Papers No. 10, by Madison

Thesis: In No. 10, Madison discourses that the foundation of the Union is safeguarding against faction. To cure the mischiefs of faction, Madison discussed the difference between democracy and republic. Madison states that republic is the only method to remedy fractions.


I. Factions exist in a nation

Madison defines that a faction involves a number of citizens, 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. A Union should promise to break and control the violence of faction.

II. Two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction:

A. Removing the causes:

a. By destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence. It doesn’t work, since liberty is necessary for unity and is the foundation of a nation.

b. By giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests. It doesn’t work. Different opinions will be formed since people are reasonable.

A pure democracy cannot cure for faction—there’s no solution to avoid sacrificing the weaker party or an obnoxious individual.

B. Different people have various faculties, which cause various interests forms.

The faculties of men are diverse. Protection of these faculties is the first object of government. The diverse faculties acquire different property, which cause different sentiments and views of property. These different perspectives of property cause division of the society into different interests and parties. The regulation of these various interests is the principal task of modern legislation.

The causes of faction cannot be removed.

C. Difference between a democracy and a republic/advantages of a republic are: 1) in republic, the delegation of the government to a small number of citizens elected by the rest; and 2) the greater number of citizens and greater sphere of country may be extended in a republic. Republic could remedy fractions by controlling its effects.

Extensive republics are most favorable to election of proper guardians.

a. small number of representatives causes cabals of a few in small republics

b. large number of representatives causes confusion of a multitude in extensive republics; more electors, more reasonable.

c. the number of electors must be raised to a certain number: since 1) too much electors make the representative too little acquainted with all their local circumstances and lesser interests; 2) too little electors make representative too little fit to comprehend and pursue great and national objects.


Madison thought that the division of different interest forms and parties is inevitable. The principal function of a Union is to control the violence of faction. Distinguished from democracy, republic has its delegation of government elected by the rest and governs more broadly. Federal Constitution makes the republic capable to cure mischiefs of faction.

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