6 May 2022


Explaining the Argument of Federalist 10 or Federalist 61

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Explaining the Argument of Federalist 10

In his argument, Madison favors a federal constitution as the best form of government capable of controlling violence and negative impact caused by factions. According to Madison, a faction is a group of people who come together to promote their political opinions and protect their economic interests. These factions are always at odds with each other but work together against the public interest and undermine the rights of citizens in the society (Hamilton et al., 2008).

Madison then opines that these groups, whether minority or majority, can be controlled in two ways. The first way is to eliminate their causes and the second is to monitor their effects. He says that the causes of factions can be removed by either destroying the liberties given to citizens or give each citizen the same opinions, interests, and passions. However, he says that freedom cannot be destroyed and to give people the same opinions, passions, and interests is impractical because of human nature. 

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Therefore, the causes of factions are a natural part of man, and the society needs to deal with their effects and accept that they exist (Hamilton et al., 2008). Effectively, the creation of a government by a Federal Constitution can control these damages caused by the factions. Madison then states that the greatest source of these factions is the unequal distribution of property and as such these groups form to protect their interests and not the public interest. Madison then prescribes that the solution to the problems is the creation of a large society under a representative government as opposed to a small society under a popular government (Hamilton et al., 2008). He finalizes by saying that such a constitution would check their powers through a balancing process and ensure that there is equality. 

Explaining Federalist 61

In his response to the claim that the Constitution should have stated that elections be held in different counties where voters live, Hamilton says that such a move would prevent the Congress from pressurizing states to conduct elections in a place that may not be convenient to a voter, or a large portion of voters. He categorically opines that most of the states did not have such provisions and effectively, there is no harm because of the omission (Hamilton et al., 2008). Hamilton supported the need for the Congress to set a similar election timetable because it will ensure that the detrimental spirit created by the different factions does not continue for long, especially in the Congress (Hamilton et al., 2008). He argued that different states could hold elections at various times so that there is a gradual removal of few members and ensure that the factions would progressively protect their interests because the majority may support a specific faction leading to the detrimental effect of the public interest. 

Therefore, Hamilton argued that the issue should not be considered as sufficient enough to ratify the entire Constitution. Additionally, he agrees that it would not have detrimental for such provisions to have been included in the Constitution but dismisses critics who may use the issue as a source of opposing the Constitution (Hamilton et al., 2008). To Hamilton, the opposition to the Constitution was a predetermined resistance as the critics were geared at obstructing the passage of the Constitution with a petty and an insignificant objection. Therefore, the Constitution gives the American people a good opportunity to remove politicians who support such factions from office and stop the detrimental effect to the public interest (Hamilton et al., 2008). Such factions can take over government and lead to the creation of statutes that infringe on the rights and interests of the people.


Hamilton, A., Madison, J., Jay, J., & Goldman, L. (2008). The federalist papers . Oxford  University Press.

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