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Federalist Papers 10 and 51 Summary

Two summaries of the Federalist papers No. 10 and No. 51.

The Federalist No. 10

James Madison starts of this paper by saying that the strong Constitution has the control to deal with violence and aggression caused by factions. Madison says these factions do not help those in favor of a democratic government because they cause instability in the government. He makes this clear by saying “The friend of popular governments, never finds himself so much more alarmed for their character and fate, as when he contemplates their propensity to this dangerous vice.” However, Madison knows that no matter what, there will always be factions in the American society because of the vast opinion differences. One of the biggest sources that factions come from are from the distribution of land. There are two main ones, those with lots and land and those with little land. Even though these groups conflict, the government is obliged to guard the interests of each group. Madison stated two ways to control factions, which were to remove its causes and controlling its effect. Madison says next that he worries about corruption of members of the new government, but says it is less likely because representative will be chosen by a large population. He also discusses the differences between a republic and a democracy, along with that the main goal of the Constitution is to make all 13 states secure from threats and invasion.

James Madison makes very good arguments in this essay about adopting the Constitution, especially by starting off with ways to control factions like in the Shay’s Rebellion incident. Justice must be served and these factions cannon control government like that. However, he makes it clear that protecting individual rights is important. Even though there would be large populations voting for a representative, I do not think that will necessarily stop corruption of high ranked officials based on faction influence.

The Federalist No. 51

Madison begins this essay with talk of having three separate branches of government, the Judicial, Legislative, and Executive. He explains that each branch should be independent and have the same amount of power. He later talks about why there should be restrictions on power. He says that “if men were angels, no government would be necessary.” He stresses that the government must be able to control the people, but also control itself. Madison later says that in most republic governments the legislative branch is the most powerful, so that’s why there is a Senate and House of Representatives. He also comes back to the point of protecting individual rights, specifically the minority. The government cannot support large groups ganging up on smaller groups and ultimately getting whatever they desire. Madison ends with the idea that majority must agree on justice and general good for society to be balanced.

I think the idea of three separate branches with equal amounts of power is a great idea. You can’t let one branch of government have more authority than the others. Also I agree with Madison’s statement that the government must be able to control the people. Although he stresses individual rights, if the government is unable to control its citizens, there is no point of it. I think minority rights are important on lesser political issues, unlike liberty or individual rights.

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User Comments
  1. Brittany

    On March 10, 2008 at 1:54 pm


    Ok heres the thing.
    There are quite a few spelling mistakes, and your info is not accurate enough! You also missed some punctuation. Just thought I’d say that.
    Sorry if I sound rude!

  2. Josh

    On September 12, 2008 at 12:36 pm


    Exactly what I was looking for, simple and to the point. Thanks.

  3. anonymous

    On September 16, 2008 at 9:29 pm


    agreeing with josh, thanks!

  4. Alina

    On November 9, 2008 at 9:46 pm


    Screw you friggin’ commenters, this paper is excellent and summarizes the confusing Federalist papers perfectly! Great job whoever wrote this! :)

  5. kasia

    On December 9, 2008 at 12:13 am


    great summary

  6. Ken

    On December 14, 2008 at 4:16 pm


    thanks helped me out

  7. James

    On December 19, 2008 at 7:55 pm


    Please work on the spelling, and try not to include own opinion.
    Otherwise, they are good summeries.

  8. Miley

    On January 26, 2009 at 2:10 pm


    Thanks! This is a lot faster to read and understand then those two articles. =]

  9. Aaron

    On February 4, 2009 at 8:11 pm


    Great summary. Thanks for the help!

  10. kate

    On February 24, 2009 at 10:18 pm


    Amazing thank you, now i never have to think about this ever again.

  11. shay

    On March 15, 2009 at 4:25 pm


    pretty good, helped alot

  12. Diego

    On March 29, 2009 at 1:18 pm


    In Federalist 10, I believe Madison talks about a republican form of government(government based on majority rule but that protects the minority through a guarantee of individual rights and other checks on majority power),as opposed to democracy(government based on ABSOLUTE majority), providing the most protection against abuse of political power. Therefore, in a republican form of government,a faction,also known as interest group, will not be able to ultimately gain control and become tyrannical, because as mentioned by Madison, people naturally pursue their self-interest and therefore with absolute power;it is likely that they will used against a minority faction.

  13. Diego

    On March 29, 2009 at 1:20 pm


    In Federalist 10, I believe Madison talks about a republican form of government(government based on majority rule,but protects the minority through a guarantee of individual rights and other checks on majority power),as opposed to a democratic form of government(government based on ABSOLUTE majority), providing the most protection against abuse of political power. Therefore, in a republican form of government,a faction,also known as interest group, will not be able to ultimately gain control and become tyrannical. As mentioned by Madison, people naturally pursue their self-interest and therefore with absolute power;it is likely that they will used against a minority faction.

  14. Sean

    On April 13, 2009 at 8:55 pm


    Great! Put the papers in words I could understand! Thanks alot!

  15. Em

    On April 23, 2009 at 1:50 pm


    Thanks this helped out a lot. I was a bit confused before but I got it now.

  16. Jake

    On May 3, 2009 at 11:40 pm


    Thanks im using this on my AP U.S. gov test

  17. professor

    On May 6, 2009 at 10:42 am


    Just gave a student a low D on an assignment because the summary is superficial and misses many of Madison’s key points. Clearly jeeves needs to do a little more homework before presenting himself or herself as being a knowledgeable source of information.

  18. anonymous

    On July 15, 2009 at 2:19 am


    If jeeves’ summary was that bad than perhaps you, professor, could enlighten us all on how it’s done. It was a good BRIEF summarization giving the reader a general idea of what it was about. I’m not saying it should be used on a school assignment but it was good info all the same. Anyhow I would love to read your summary.

  19. anonymous

    On July 15, 2009 at 2:24 am


    I’m actually being serious and not at all sarcastic or insulting about the last part. I actaully would like to read your summary.

  20. anonymous

    On July 15, 2009 at 2:25 am


    I’m actually being serious and not at all sarcastic or insulting about the last part. I actaully would like to read your summary.

  21. bob

    On August 2, 2009 at 8:20 pm


    hmmm fourth word is spelled wrong

  22. Ali

    On August 20, 2009 at 10:46 pm


    thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Iris

    On September 4, 2009 at 2:40 am


    It is 2 am at night, and I have AP Gov homework on the Fed papers…you are a lifesaver and you are encouraging my procrastination issues lol

  24. jane

    On September 14, 2009 at 4:07 pm


    it was a good brief summary but there was too much personal opinion, imperfect grammar and spelling, and not hitting all the key points as one should have.

  25. lisa

    On September 20, 2009 at 9:30 pm


    Thanks a lot. This helped a lot and saved me from working all night at trying to summarize the articles! your a life saver:]

  26. Jordan

    On September 24, 2009 at 7:41 pm


    much more understanding than my teacher

  27. C.A.

    On October 2, 2009 at 5:01 am


    I’m in the exact same position as Iris. Thanks, well summarized

  28. ivona

    On November 2, 2009 at 8:25 pm


    go into detail about madisons definition of a republic!!!!!!
    thanks :)

  29. arenita

    On December 18, 2009 at 1:03 am


    thanx you so helped my but out. lol i had to read the real one but didnt get it at all lol. but your version realy helped me out and its easy to understand. thanks for everything dude you a lifesaver.

  30. arenita

    On December 18, 2009 at 1:15 am


    thanks so musch you so helped my but out. lol i had to read the real version and well i didnt get it at all. and i read your version end well……. nothing to compare to the other one you realy helped alot dude. thanks so much agian your a lifesaver. oh and also can you help me out with the first one. maybe you already have it already but idk where it is so if you have it up can you like post it up on the comments not the articcle but where it is. if you can do that thanks so much. well bye bye.

  31. becha

    On January 20, 2010 at 12:55 am


    this helped alot. thanks. it was simple and easy to understand. unlike the real federalist papers, which is more thinking then i’d like to do. :p
    thanks again!

    and don’t worry about the spelling errors, i’m sure i missed most of them..i can’t spell either. haha.

  32. ana

    On January 20, 2010 at 9:50 pm


    thankkkkkkkkkkkkkks your awesome!

  33. john doe

    On January 27, 2010 at 9:03 am


    taken off of gradesaver and you still manage to mess it up even more. nice one.

  34. Chasity Anderson

    On February 15, 2010 at 5:19 pm


    This is so AWESOME it has everything that i needed in it. and best of all it helped me out a whole lot.

  35. Zularbine

    On May 21, 2010 at 2:16 am


    This is really awesome aritcle. i don’t know why some ppls complain about spelling mistakes! if there are really good at spelling the would not complain about it. I think they are jealous reading this solid summary.
    Thank you agian.

  36. zdfghdfg

    On September 2, 2010 at 7:35 pm


    L2 USE ITS AND IT’S CORRECTLY NUB

    Great article(:

  37. Madi

    On September 19, 2010 at 7:09 pm


    Thank you soo much! I have been needing this info FOREVER. Thanks!

  38. Care

    On October 5, 2010 at 6:22 pm


    Thanks a TON…I read through the real papers, and it got a little muddled…its hard to see the big picture when it comes to Madison sometimes. :)

  39. hey^^

    On October 12, 2010 at 6:39 pm


    wow..dont even complain about how he included his personal opnion…HE DID IT IN A SEPARATE PARAGRAPH!
    these summaries were concise and amazing!

  40. julie

    On November 29, 2010 at 2:51 am


    ur a lifesaver

  41. Jack

    On January 26, 2011 at 9:36 pm


    Your No. 10 summary missed the central argument that in order to minimize the negative effects of faction, society needs to have so many factions that no one could ever amount to a majority. The union of the states can provide more space for factions than any individual state. Because in small-scale direct democracy, the number of citizens is less and the number of factions is less, it’s much easier for a simple majority with a common interest to oppress the minority.
    Local democracy is most prone to majority tyranny, state government is less, but the union as a whole is safest. Madison is essentially articulating the first form of pluralist theory in democratic societies.

  42. Jack

    On July 25, 2011 at 7:59 pm


    Here’s my summary:

    Federalist 10
    Madison begins the paper by noting that many people have been complaining about the instability of governments. He says that this is due primarily to the violence of faction.

    A faction is a group of people that have interests that are incompatible with the rights of others or the common good.

    There are two ways of dealing with this: preventing the causes of faction or controlling the effects.

    You can’t prevent the cause because the tendency to form factions is inherent in human nature. So the only way to deal with faction is to control its effects.

    If a faction is a minority, then it can be defeated by the majority, but if a faction is a majority, republican government allows it to oppress others.

    The only way to stop majority faction is to prevent a majority from having the same interest or, if a majority does have the same interest, to prevent it from acting together.

    Direct democracy, in which the people assemble and rule in person, cannot prevent factions from taking over because the form of government itself allows factions to come together and oppress others.

    A republic, in which the people rule by electing representatives, provides the cure for faction. This is because there is a greater chance that representatives will refine public opinion and bring it more in line with the common good.

    Large republics are better than small republics because in a large republic there is a greater chance of electing the best candidates. However, in too large a republic, representatives may be less familiar with local concerns. In too small a republic, they might be too attached to local concerns.

    Another difference between a republic and a democracy is the greater extent of territory that a republic can govern. This is the primary cure for faction.

    In a small territory, there will be fewer factions and they will be bigger in proportion to the whole society, so it is more likely that a faction could become a majority. But in a big territory, there will be more factions, making it less likely that any single faction will be a majority capable of taking over the government and oppressing others.

    The advantage that a republic has over a democracy is the same advantage that the Union has over the individual states: better representatives and bigger territory.

    We therefore behold a republican solution to the problems with republics. In the same degree in which we feel pride in being republicans, we ought to cherish the spirit and support the character of federalists.

    Publius

  43. sally

    On October 14, 2011 at 1:47 am


    solid comment jack. you rock my socks off

  44. jovan

    On September 27, 2012 at 9:06 pm


    Thanks man A.P. U.S. History a b***ch and you just saved me from reading. Thanks again

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