Why did James Madison fear factions?


Quick Answer

James Madison feared factions because he felt they could lead to the destruction of democracy. He made his argument against factions in his essay, "Federalist No. 10."

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Full Answer

Factions are groups of people who have special interests that are in direct contrast to the rights of others. Madison believed that the formation of factions was inevitable. He argued that factions could be controlled by managing the desired outcomes of the groups or eliminating the origins of the group. One of the issues that he felt could result in the formation of factions was the accumulation of land.

Madison proposed a republican form of government over a democracy. He believed that a democracy would not best serve the interests of minority groups and lead to domination by the majority. Madison felt that a republic would minimize the effects of factions. Instead of factions, or special interests groups, outnumbering the minority, representatives of regional populations would decide on public welfare. If the citizens in a region felt the representative was not acting in their best interests, they could have the person removed from office by vote. Madison thought that selecting a representative for a large area would result in the minority having a more equal voice.

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