James Madison: Federalist #10 (1787) 84 words

Following the Constitutional Convention in 1787, James Madison along with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, published a series of essays supporting the new Constitution. Together these essays are called "The Federalist Papers." Federalist #10 by Madison is considered one of the most important political documents in U.S. History. Madison discusses political factions, which in today's language might be called political parties. The essay was first published in newspapers under the pen name "Publius."
  1. faction
    a clique (often secret) that seeks power usually through intrigue
    The Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection
  2. insurrection
    organized opposition to authority; a conflict in which one faction tries to wrest control from another
    The Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection
  3. numerous
    amounting to a large indefinite number
    AMONG 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.
  4. tendency
    an inclination to do something
    AMONG 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.
  5. fate
    an event (or a course of events) that will inevitably happen in the future
    In this context future is a synonym for fate.
    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.
  6. contemplate
    reflect deeply on a subject
    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.
  7. propensity
    a natural inclination
    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.
  8. vice
    a specific form of evildoing
    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.
  9. instability
    a lack of balance or state of disequilibrium
    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.
  10. mortal
    causing or capable of causing death
    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.
  11. adversary
    someone who offers opposition
    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.
  12. specious
    plausible but false
    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.
  13. partiality
    a predisposition to like something
    The valuable improvements made by the American constitutions on the popular models, both ancient and modern, cannot certainly be too much admired; but it would be an unwarrantable partiality, to contend that they have as effectually obviated the danger on this side, as was wished and expected.
  14. contend
    maintain or assert
    The valuable improvements made by the American constitutions on the popular models, both ancient and modern, cannot certainly be too much admired; but it would be an unwarrantable partiality, to contend that they have as effectually obviated the danger on this side, as was wished and expected.
  15. obviate
    prevent the occurrence of; prevent from happening
    The valuable improvements made by the American constitutions on the popular models, both ancient and modern, cannot certainly be too much admired; but it would be an unwarrantable partiality, to contend that they have as effectually obviated the danger on this side, as was wished and expected.
  16. virtuous
    morally excellent
    Complaints are everywhere heard from our most considerate and virtuous citizens, equally the friends of public and private faith, and of public and personal liberty, that our governments are too unstable, that the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties, and that measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.
  17. minor
    inferior in number or size or amount
    Complaints are everywhere heard from our most considerate and virtuous citizens, equally the friends of public and private faith, and of public and personal liberty, that our governments are too unstable, that the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties, and that measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.
  18. overbearing
    having or showing arrogant superiority to and disdain of those one views as unworthy
    Complaints are everywhere heard from our most considerate and virtuous citizens, equally the friends of public and private faith, and of public and personal liberty, that our governments are too unstable, that the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties, and that measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.
  19. foundation
    the basis on which something is grounded
    However anxiously we may wish that these complaints had no foundation, the evidence, of known facts will not permit us to deny that they are in some degree true.
  20. degree
    a specific identifiable position in a continuum or series or especially in a process
    However anxiously we may wish that these complaints had no foundation, the evidence, of known facts will not permit us to deny that they are in some degree true.
  21. candid
    openly straightforward and direct without reserve or secretiveness
    It will be found, indeed, on a candid review of our situation, that some of the distresses under which we labor have been erroneously charged on the operation of our governments; but it will be found, at the same time, that other causes will not alone account for many of our heaviest misfortunes; and, particularly, for that prevailing and increasing distrust of public engagements, and alarm for private rights, which are echoed from one end of the continent to the other.
  22. wholly
    to a complete degree or to the full or entire extent (`whole' is often used informally for `wholly')
    These must be chiefly, if not wholly, effects of the unsteadiness and injustice with which a factious spirit has tainted our public administrations.
  23. factious
    dissenting (especially dissenting with the majority opinion)
    These must be chiefly, if not wholly, effects of the unsteadiness and injustice with which a factious spirit has tainted our public administrations.
  24. tainted
    touched by rot or decay
    These must be chiefly, if not wholly, effects of the unsteadiness and injustice with which a factious spirit has tainted our public administrations.
  25. actuate
    give an incentive for action
    By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.
  26. passion
    a strong feeling or emotion
    By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.
  27. aggregate
    formed of separate units gathered into a mass or whole
    By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.
  28. mischief
    reckless or malicious behavior that causes discomfort or annoyance in others
    There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects.
  29. annihilation
    total destruction
    But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.
  30. fallible
    likely to fail or make errors
    As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed.
  31. latter
    referring to the second of two things or persons mentioned (or the last one or ones of several)
    As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other; and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves.
  32. diversity
    noticeable heterogeneity
    The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests.
  33. insuperable
    incapable of being surmounted or excelled
    The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests.
  34. sentiment
    a personal belief or judgment that is not founded on proof or certainty
    From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results; and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties.
  35. latent
    potentially existing but not presently evident or realized
    The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man; and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity, according to the different circumstances of civil society.
  36. sow
    place (seeds) in or on the ground for future growth
    In this context sown is used metaphorically to mean planted.
    The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man; and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity, according to the different circumstances of civil society.
  37. zeal
    a feeling of strong eagerness (usually in favor of a person or cause)
    A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their comm
  38. animosity
    a feeling of ill will arousing active hostility
    A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate. . .
  39. render
    make over as a return
    In this context synonyms for rendered include left them or made them.
    A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate. . .
  40. vex
    cause annoyance in; disturb, especially by minor irritations
    A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate. . .
  41. frivolous
    not serious in content or attitude or behavior
    So strong is this propensity of mankind to fall into mutual animosities, that where no substantial occasion presents itself, the most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to kindle their unfriendly passions and excite their most violent conflicts.
  42. fanciful
    not based on fact; unreal
    So strong is this propensity of mankind to fall into mutual animosities, that where no substantial occasion presents itself, the most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to kindle their unfriendly passions and excite their most violent conflicts.
  43. mercantile
    profit oriented
    A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, with many lesser interests, grow up of necessity in civilized nations, and divide them into different classes, actuated by different sentiments and views.
  44. integrity
    moral soundness
    No man is allowed to be a judge in his own cause, because his interest would certainly bias his judgment, and, not improbably, corrupt his integrity.
  45. legislator
    someone who makes or enacts laws
    And what are the different classes of legislators but advocates and parties to the causes which they determine?
  46. advocate
    a person who pleads for a cause or propounds an idea
    And what are the different classes of legislators but advocates and parties to the causes which they determine?
  47. subservient
    serving or acting as a means or aid
    It is in vain to say that enlightened statesmen will be able to adjust these clashing interests, and render them all subservient to the public good.
  48. helm
    a position of leadership
    Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm.
  49. inference
    the reasoning involved in drawing a conclusion or making a logical judgment on the basis of circumstantial evidence and prior conclusions rather than on the basis of direct observation
    In this context inference is used as a noun. Deduction would be a synonym for inference.
    The inference to which we are brought is, that the CAUSES of faction cannot be removed, and that relief is only to be sought in the means of controlling its EFFECTS.
  50. relief
    the act of reducing something unpleasant (as pain or annoyance)
    The inference to which we are brought is, that the CAUSES of faction cannot be removed, and that relief is only to be sought in the means of controlling its EFFECTS.
  51. republican
    having the supreme power lying in the body of citizens entitled to vote for officers and representatives responsible to them or characteristic of such government
    If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is supplied by the republican principle, which enables the majority to defeat its sinister views by regular vote.
  52. sinister
    stemming from evil characteristics or forces; wicked or dishonorable
    If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is supplied by the republican principle, which enables the majority to defeat its sinister views by regular vote.
  53. convulse
    move or stir about violently
    It may clog the administration, it may convulse the society; but it will be unable to execute and mask its violence under the forms of the Constitution.
  54. opprobrium
    a state of extreme dishonor
    Let me add that it is the great desideratum by which this form of government can be rescued from the opprobrium under which it has so long labored, and be recommended to the esteem and adoption of mankind.
  55. esteem
    regard highly; think much of
    Let me add that it is the great desideratum by which this form of government can be rescued from the opprobrium under which it has so long labored, and be recommended to the esteem and adoption of mankind.
  56. concert
    settle by agreement
    Either the existence of the same passion or interest in a majority at the same time must be prevented, or the majority, having such coexistent passion or interest, must be rendered, by their number and local situation, unable to concert and carry into effect schemes of oppression.
  57. scheme
    an elaborate and systematic plan of action
    Either the existence of the same passion or interest in a majority at the same time must be prevented, or the majority, having such coexistent passion or interest, must be rendered, by their number and local situation, unable to concert and carry into effect schemes of oppression.
  58. efficacy
    capacity or power to produce a desired effect
    They are not found to be such on the injustice and violence of individuals, and lose their efficacy in proportion to the number combined together, that is, in proportion as their efficacy becomes needful.
  59. inducement
    act of bringing about a desired result
    In this context inducement is a noun. Incentive is a synonym for inducement.
    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.
  60. obnoxious
    causing disapproval or protest
    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.
  61. contention
    a contentious speech act; a dispute where there is strong disagreement
    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.
  62. patronize
    assume sponsorship of
    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.
  63. species
    a specific kind of something
    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.
  64. medium
    the surrounding environment
    The effect of the first difference is, on the one hand, to refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations.
  65. discern
    detect with the senses
    The effect of the first difference is, on the one hand, to refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations.
  66. consonant
    in keeping
    Under such a regulation, it may well happen that the public voice, pronounced by the representatives of the people, will be more consonant to the public good than if pronounced by the people themselves, convened for the purpose.
  67. convene
    call together
    Under such a regulation, it may well happen that the public voice, pronounced by the representatives of the people, will be more consonant to the public good than if pronounced by the people themselves, convened for the purpose.
  68. invert
    reverse the position, order, relation, or condition of
    On the other hand, the effect may be inverted.
  69. temper
    a disposition to exhibit uncontrolled anger
    Men of factious tempers, of local prejudices, or of sinister designs, may, by intrigue, by corruption, or by other means, first obtain the suffrages, and then betray the interests, of the people.
  70. intrigue
    a crafty and involved plot to achieve your (usually sinister) ends
    Men of factious tempers, of local prejudices, or of sinister designs, may, by intrigue, by corruption, or by other means, first obtain the suffrages, and then betray the interests, of the people.
  71. cabal
    a clique (often secret) that seeks power usually through intrigue
    In the first place, it is to be remarked that, however small the republic may be, the representatives must be raised to a certain number, in order to guard against the cabals of a few; and that, however large it may be, they must be limited to a certain number, in order to guard against the confusion of a multitude.
  72. merit
    the quality of being deserving (e.g., deserving assistance)
    In the next place, as each representative will be chosen by a greater number of citizens in the large than in the small republic, it will be more difficult for unworthy candidates to practice with success the vicious arts by which elections are too often carried; and the suffrages of the people being more free, will be more likely to centre in men who possess the most attractive merit and the most diffusive and established characters.
  73. federal
    characterized by or constituting a form of government in which power is divided between one central and several regional authorities
    Madison is referring to the new Federal or U.S. Constitution. This document was written to encourage ratification of this new Constitution.
    The federal Constitution forms a happy combination in this respect; the great and aggregate interests being referred to the national, the local and particular to the State legislatures.
  74. legislature
    persons who make or amend or repeal laws
    State legislatures are the groups in each state who make the laws.
    The federal Constitution forms a happy combination in this respect; the great and aggregate interests being referred to the national, the local and particular to the State legislatures.
  75. unison
    occurring together or simultaneously
    Extend the sphere, and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests; you make it less probable that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens; or if such a common motive exists, it will be more difficult for all who feel it to discover their own strength, and to act in unison with each other.
  76. impediment
    something immaterial that interferes with or delays action or progress
    Besides other impediments, it may be remarked that, where there is a consciousness of unjust or dishonorable purposes, communication is always checked by distrust in proportion to the number whose concurrence is necessary.
  77. endowment
    natural abilities or qualities
    It will not be denied that the representation of the Union will be most likely to possess these requisite endowments.
  78. palpable
    capable of being perceived; especially capable of being handled or touched or felt
    Here, again, the extent of the Union gives it the most palpable advantage.
  79. conflagration
    a very intense and uncontrolled fire
    The influence of factious leaders may kindle a flame within their particular States, but will be unable to spread a general conflagration through the other States.
  80. sect
    a subdivision of a larger religious group
    A religious sect may degenerate into a political faction in a part of the Confederacy; but the variety of sects dispersed over the entire face of it must secure the national councils against any danger from that source.
  81. degenerate
    grow worse
    A religious sect may degenerate into a political faction in a part of the Confederacy; but the variety of sects dispersed over the entire face of it must secure the national councils against any danger from that source.
  82. pervade
    spread or diffuse through
    A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project, will be less apt to pervade the whole body of the Union than a particular member of it; in the same proportion as such a malady is more likely to taint a particular county or district, than an entire State.
  83. malady
    impairment of normal physiological function affecting part or all of an organism
    In this context the nation is metaphorically an organism.
    A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project, will be less apt to pervade the whole body of the Union than a particular member of it; in the same proportion as such a malady is more likely to taint a particular county or district, than an entire State.
  84. cherish
    be fond of; be attached to
    And according to the degree of pleasure and pride we feel in being republicans, ought to be our zeal in cherishing the spirit and supporting the character of Federalists.