You MUST read this! Its theme deals with probably the greatest threat our Constitutional Republic has ever faced and is clearly the most relevant and “alarm sounder” of the entire collection of essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay.
It’s about “factions” – defined by James Madison as “a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens or to the permanent aggregate interests of the community.”
Specifically, Madison wrote that the greatest threat to government and the public was the potential oppression committed by majority factions.
Madison did not elaborate with a minute analysis or description of factions as did Montesquieu or David Hume. Instead, he summed up his thoughts in one of the most inclusive and accurate statements ever written:
“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 common good.”