POLS 15 San Jose University Federalist #10 by James Madison Summary

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San Jose University



In the appendix to your book you will find a copy of Federalist #10 by James Madison. You can

also find it online at http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa10.htm and numerous other sites.
Although it is not very long, it is densely worded, and is probably the most important primary
source one can consult on the theory behind our government’s design. Please read this selection
carefully and summarize Madison’s theories and arguments.

Summarization is an important skill to develop for academic work and for many pursuits. The
point of this exercise is for you to closely read a document and extract the main points.
While you are reading please keep in mind the following questions:
What is the main challenge faced by democracies? How can this problem be solved? Is there
more than one solution? Is one better than the other? Why?

General criteria:
Your paper must be typed. Please use standard margins of one inch on all sides and a
12 point font . Your paper should be 500-600 words long, which is about 2 to 3 double spaced pages. Please
watch your spelling. Please include as the first page a cover sheet which states your name, the date and class section.

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Explanation & Answer

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Class Section

Federalist # 10 is part of a collection of political essays written by federalists, who
believed in the power of a central government. This particular one was written by James
Madison and focused on why he opposed democracy and preferred a republican government
system instead. In this essay, he touches on the topics of factions, majority and minority groups,
the problems of democracy, mob mentality, and why a republican system would be better.

He begins this essay by pointing out how destructive factions are to breaking apart the
republic. He defines factions as a...

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