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Federalist 10

Page history last edited by Mr. Hengsterman 7 years, 1 month ago

Federalist #10 Summarized


Paragraph 1

Factions are bad.  People who love liberty should want to protect against them.  The new U.S. Constitution improves on all previous attempts at people governing themselves.  People on both sides of major issues are complaining about the unstable nature of the current government.  In addition, they are saying that in deciding disputes, what is best for the people of the country is not considered, and that the rights of the minority are not being protected or considered.  It is true that these situations exist in part because of the way the government is run.  More importantly, these situations exist because of the impact of factions on the running of the government.


Paragraph 2

We define a faction as a group of people organized for or against some particular cause who will have a negative effect on the country or its people.


Paragraph 3

The two ways to deal with factions are: 1. Remove the causes of the faction.  2. Control the effects of the faction.


Paragraph 4

There are two ways to remove the causes or reasons for having factions: 1. Take away the freedom that people have to organize a faction.  2. Give every citizen the same opinion about everything and the same concerns about the same issues.


Paragraph 5

Taking away people’s freedom in order to stop factions from existing is actually worse than having factions.  Factions cannot exist without liberty, but we shouldn’t get rid of liberty in order to get rid of factions.  It would have too many unintended consequences if we did that (e.g. it would destroy political life).


Paragraph 6

Giving everyone the same opinion is impossible.  As long as people continue to be capable of making errors and are not all-knowing, people will have different opinions.  People use their ability to reason to explain why things that affect them in a favorable way are better.  People have different abilities to acquire property which should be protected by the government.  The different abilities and the resulting acquisitions will mean that people have different interests and be part of different factions.


Paragraph 7

People are born with the tendency toward creating factions and it has been the downfall of a lot of groups of people.  Most factions come from disparities in property ownership.  Most factions come about because different groups have material things while other groups don’t.  As a result, each group has its own interests.



Paragraph 8

Individuals and groups of people who have a stake in the outcomes of decisions should not be able to make those decisions if they will benefit or be harmed by the outcome.  Yet, legislators make decisions where their particular faction might benefit or be harmed by their decision.  We expect the larger faction to prevail.


Paragraph 9

We can’t expect the decision-makers to put the public good first and allow what is best for everybody to win out over what is best for themselves or their faction.


Paragraph 10

Based on what we’ve discussed in the previous paragraphs, we can only conclude that we can’t get rid of the causes of factions so we have to try to minimize the effects of factions.


Paragraph 11

If there is a faction that doesn’t have a majority, the ‘majority rule’ principle of democracy guards against the possible negative effects of that faction.  If the faction is a majority, it can take away the individual rights of citizens.  That is a bad thing and we’re writing this to discuss how to protect against this.  Not to mention that the most desirable thing for us is to solve this apparent problem because it will relieve some of the contempt that some people have for a republican form of government.


Paragraph 12

We can protect against oppression by the majority in one of two ways.  Either a faction that believes one thing can’t become the majority, or a majority that has the same interests must not be allowed to oppress people.  If a faction gets control and has the opportunity to oppress people, it probably will.


Paragraph 13

A pure democracy cannot protect itself against the problems that occur (i.e. oppression) when a faction is in the majority.  A pure democracy is where there is a society that doesn’t have a large number of people and each of those people show up to govern the society themselves.  In this situation there is no mechanism in place to protect the minority.


Paragraph 14

In a republic, people represent others and oppression can be avoided.  Let’s look at where a republic differs from a pure democracy and look at why a republic is better:


Paragraph 15

The two big differences between a democracy and a republic are 1. In a republic, a small number of citizens are elected by the rest of the citizens to represent everyone.  2. In a republic, more people and a larger geographical area can be governed.



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