Federalist 10

Curiosity got the better of me, and I looked up Federalist 10. It is the column called The Utility of the Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection (continued)


AMOUNG 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. He will not fail, therefore, to set a due value on any plan which, without violating the principles to which he is attached, provides a proper cure for it. The instability, injustice, and confusion introduced into the public councils, have, in truth, been the mortal diseases under which popular governments have everywhere perished; as they continue to be the favorite and fruitful topics from which the adversaries to liberty derive their most specious declamations.

It is the article arguing that a federal form of government is a better protection against the danger of factions, that is, political parties, particularly parties pitting the poor against the rich.

In effect, it contains an argument in favor of inequality of wealth as a necessary part of human liberty.

It contains the essential argument against direct democracy without which no man can understand the reason for the elaborate nature of the checks and balances of the three branches of the federal government, and the wisdom of drawing each branch from different constituencies at different times.

It is, in other words, as clear and concise a statement as possible in favor of the proposition that liberty is better safeguarded from the dangers of faction and the passions of the multitude than either a monarchy or a pure democracy.

… 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 result 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.

During the Progressive Era, when the schooling that hitherto had been private were taken over by the government as a huge and absurd public project, it must have been essential to those planners to prevent high school children from reading Federalist 10, because no one persuaded of the argument therein can join the Democrat party.

The Seventeenth Amendment could never have been passed in a nation whose citizens read and affirmed Federalist 10. It is a warning against Progressivism, Leftism, Populism, Factionalism, and the lure of charismatic leaders.


Well, I am sharply upbraided by Mr. Madison against the conclusion of a recent column of mine. I find these considerations argue strongly against support for Mr. Trump, who is a populist, and not a republican nor a Republican. The matter bears more thought.