Jump to navigation Jump to search Federalist No. 10 addresses the question of how to reconcile citizens with interests contrary to the rights of others or inimical to the interests of the community as a whole. 10 continues a theme begun in Federalist No.
9 and is titled “The Utility of the Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection”. The whole series is cited by scholars and jurists as an authoritative interpretation and explication of the meaning of the Constitution. Madison saw the Constitution as forming a “happy combination” of a republic and a democracy, with “the great and aggregate interests being referred to the national, the local and particular to the State legislatures” resulting in a decentralized governmental structure. In his view this would make it “more difficult for unworthy candidates to practice the vicious arts by which elections are too often carried”.
Prior to the Constitution, the thirteen states were bound together by the Articles of Confederation. These were in essence a military alliance between sovereign nations adopted to better fight the Revolutionary War. Congress had no power to tax, and as a result was not able to pay debts resulting from the Revolution.
A national convention was called for May 1787, to revise the Articles of Confederation. Madison believed that the problem was not with the Articles, but rather the state legislatures, and so the solution was not to fix the articles but to restrain the excesses of the states. Paul Leicester Ford’s summary preceding Federalist No. September 17, 1787 marked the signing of the final document.
By its own Article Seven, the constitution drafted by the convention needed ratification by at least nine of the thirteen states, through special conventions held in each state. Like most of the Federalist essays and the vast majority of The Federalist Papers, No. 10 first appeared in popular newspapers.