Publius (James Madison), Federalist Paper #10 (1788)
The Federalist Papers
were published in support of ratification of the Constitution by James Madison, Alexander
Hamilton, and John Jay under the pseudonym Publius.
Federalist No. 10
is one of the most influential papers. It
rebuts the Antifederalists' argument that a republic would soon crumble under the pressure of factional
divisions. Madison outlined how a republican government could balance the needs of the minority and majority
while preserving liberty and diversity.
. . . [I]t 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 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
The two great points of difference between a democracy and a republic, are first, the delegation of the