James Madison wrote a number of papers regarding many different important political issues of his time period. Federalist # 10 is mainly about Factions, how they are bad for our country, and how to reduce their effects to a minimum. A number of his views are very similar to those of enlightenment age thinkers such as, John Locke, Rousseau, Montesquieu, and Voltaire. However he also disagreed with many things these people said.
Madison’s main argument is about the Creation of Factions. Madison defines a faction as a number of citizens, usually in a minority, who are united by a common interest adversed to the rights of others. He claims that these are bad because their goal is to make things better for themselves however they do not always look out for the interests of the rest of the country. He states that there are only one way to prevent factions and it is to remove its causes, you can do this by, one getting rid of the peoples liberty, or two make sure everyone has the same opinions. It is obvious that the first cure is going against our own principals, and the second is just impractical to have happen, because as long as people have freedom they will form their own opinions. He states that the only logical thing we can do is attempt to control a faction’s effects. If it is a minority faction it can be controlled simply by a majority vote. However stopping a majority faction is much more difficult. The only ways to stop it are to either take the passion out of the people trying to pass it, or to let them fall apart due to a lack of organization. He also discusses his different ideas for what type of a political system our country should have. He discusses a direct democracy because everyone has a fair say in the government. However this allows a majority faction to do whatever they want to do. He also suggests a republic, this is because a republic can represent a larger number of citizens without their being confusion and with much less time wasted. Also, a republic can effectively rule over a much larger area. A downside to this however is that there can still be corrupt people who become politicians, and one corrupt person makes a lot bigger of a difference in this system. There is also the problem of if there are to few representatives not everybody with be represented, however to many and there will be confusion and they will not be on a personal level with the people. Madison states that the best solution is to have a republic with a separation of powers. Have a national government to make decisions on larger problems and a state government to make the decisions on smaller local problems.
James Madison shared many points of view with a plethora of enlightenment age thinkers. Some of these include that he is big for all types of liberty and freedom. This is a big point that Rousseau always would fight for. Also his idea of having a separation of powers shows a striking resemblance to the thoughts of Montesquieu. Voltaire is another thinker who believed that two of the most important things to have are, one freedom of speech, and two no religion in the government. Of course last was that he believed that the government had to protect the rights of the people within it as John Locke had said.
However much he had in common people always have different opinions on at least some things. Some of these include that while Madison wanted a republic with separation of powers, Rousseau believed that the only logical kind of government is a pure democracy. A point of view that Madison Strongly disagrees with. This could be because of the increasingly large population of the United States at the time. Second, is that while Madison did have a separation of powers Montesquieu believed in Checks and balances to makes sure that each branch had some amount of power over the others.
James Madison was a great thinker of his time with many great ideas such as how to control factions along with the positives and negatives of different types of governments. He may have single handedly put together some of the greatest ideas of his time in order to help build the basis for one of the greatest governments we could have created. This is why James Madison is one of the most important people in the history of the United States.