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Definition of a Group of People in a Faction

Updated January 31, 2022
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Definition of a Group of People in a Faction essay

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Madison’s definition of a faction is a group of people who share common faculties who gather together under the influence of a common interest. These factions are inevitable mainly because of our human nature to form them based on individual opinions and as humans, we tend to seek others who share the same opinions as ours. We can think of factions as a pack of wolves who are united my one leader or in this case a leading goal in which drives them to be together. Factions are looking for favorable laws towards their common interest whether the group is comprised of a majority of people or a minority. One of the major leading factors that leads to factions according to Madison is the unequal distribution of property. An unequal distribution of property can refer to a number of things like faculties, social titles, physical property, and financial situations. Unequal distribution comes down to those who had a large sum of property and those that had little to no property at all. We each have different faculties that lead to us being naturally divided and this will always lead to disagreement between subjects that we deem as unimportant or important. This always leads to a motivation of factions. The dangerous part about factions is when they become a majority in the territory they were created in. This Majority will become oppressive against the minority factions, removing and degrading their rights in pursuit of their self-interests. This is problematic not only for the society but, for the system of the government that the society inherited. Madison explains to us the options on the table that would give us the remedy to removing the causes of factions. The first, remove liberty which is what paves way for a faction to even form. And the second, make it so that every citizen has the same opinion and same interest. But both are solutions “that are worse than the disease”. Removing liberty is “to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life” in other words to remove what gives politics its purpose. The second is simply impractical because the mind of man is and will always be fallible creating a diversity of opinions. It simply can’t be done. Although we cannot stop the causes of factions, we can stop the effects of factions from becoming an issue. The effect of creating a majority.

In Federalist fifty-one, James Madison goes into depth on how the new government would be structured so that a majority is stopped from forming. The principle of division is an important key to stopping the majority and creating a balance. As James Madison explains the government would be divided into three major parts; The judicial branch, the Executive branch, and the legislative branch. The reason for splitting them up into three different branches is to simply prevent a concentration of power that could occur if the government was run by a majority. Each branch is also designed to provide a function known as checks and balances. Each branch has the power to check each other so that there is equal control of the government and removes the dangerous effect of gradual concentration of power for the entire government. This new system of government is meant to constantly check itself by adding a form of double security and keeping an internal control. An example of the check and balances system is as follows; the legislative branch has the power to create and introduce laws, but the president has the power to not allow the law to be passed by using his presidential veto. The legislative branch then gets another chance to override the presidential veto by having enough votes from both parties making the bill a law. Even after a law has been put in place the judicial branch can declare the law as unconstitutional. Which then allows for an additional action that can be taken by the legislative branch which allows them to rewrite the bill and start the cycle all over again. This is just one example of how the checks and balances system works in the new government. All three branches work independently from each other, focusing on their own responsibilities but, the check and balances system is put in place just in case there is a disagreement between them. This results in the creation of a sentinel that protects our human rights by making it harder to pass laws. It stops a majority of a common interest from gaining too much power and creating an insecure minority group within the government. This division of power can also be seen in how the state government and federal government are divided. The people in a state are governed by the same three branches, legislative, executive, and judicial, but this government is responsible for people of that state and their laws apply solely to their specific state. The governor acts as the president for the state in the executive branch, state legislators are part of the legislative branch, and state courts are part of the state judicial branch. This system was designed to promote division, but it was also designed to create unity when a crisis hit. We must remember that compromise doesn’t always lead to good results which is why this system of government has been put in place.

In addition, James Madison believes that a republican government is a far better option for the country than a pure democracy. He explains that a pure democracy which is suited for a society that has a small number of citizens is incapable of providing a remedy for the effects and mischief of a majority faction. Since in a small society the effects of a majority faction will be far more disastrous because fewer people results in fewer chances for a broad spectrum of interest groups that is essential in keeping the majority in check. The control of the effects of factions is simply not possible in a small democracy because passions that go against the common good are easily spread and influence the outcomes of laws. As we know a pure democracy consists of the common people voting directly for laws and a republic is designed to have representatives that are chosen by the people to vote for laws instead. As we know It is not ideal to trust citizens because they are always driven by self-interest and the mind of man is fallible. Madison believes that democracies are “spectacles of turbulence” and mentions that all previous democracies had very short life spans. A large republic government provides the ideal environment for a multitude of diverse interest groups to form and prevents a majority from infringing on the rights of the minority. From what we can gather it seems that Madison himself is very anti-democratic and is an activist for a large republican model of government that promotes for a society that is pluralistic. All in all, Madison advocates for a large republican model of government that is designed to be divided so that the effects of a majority faction are completely undermined by the wide variety of other factions who constantly keep the majority in check.

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Definition of a Group of People in a Faction. (2022, Jan 31). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/definition-of-a-group-of-people-in-a-faction/

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