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Factionalism in the Young Republic. James Madison and George Washington - Essay Example

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Factionalism in the Young Republic. James Madison and George Washington.
The consequence of the diversity of people in any society is the difference in interests which ultimately leads to factions. The union of North American regions was not exempt from this fact. …
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Factionalism in the Young Republic. James Madison and George Washington
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Factionalism in the Young Republic The consequence of the diversity of people in any society is the difference in interests which ultimately leads to factions. The union of North American regions was not exempt from this fact. In 1787, James Madison recognized the existence of factions in the union and defined them to 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 and aggregate interests of the community." By "adverse to the rights of other citizen", Madison was referring to the idea that what one side of a particular political issue considers adverse, the other considers favorable. Madison's definition of faction included any groups regardless of number of members as long as they seek to influence the politics of the young nation. (in Carry and Mcllelan, 1990)
Madison was against the idea of giving the government power to check rise of factions with the country. His basic concept is that letting factions to exist was necessary because it would serve as a check and balance measure that can prevent popular governments from abusing the power given to them. In other words, his theory is that numerous factions can negate the ill effects of each other. Furthermore, the presence of many different groups seeking to influence political decision making can increase political participation which in turn promotes a healthy exchange of ideas.
Nonetheless, George Washington, the eminent founding father of America, expressed in his farewell address that the rise of political parties of factions was detrimental to the health of the republic. Washington stated that parties tend to distract public councils and render public administration ineffective. These they do by agitating the community with false alarms and ill founded jealousies, precipitate animosity among parties and foment riots and insurrection. They can also serve as venues for foreign influence and corruption. Nevertheless, it should be noted that Washington was originally of the opinion that opposite parties are necessary elements of a free and deliberating society. (Ravitch, 1990)
The central political issue, then, that can be said to have greatly affected the future of the republic was how to arrive at a definite solution for a social concern in light of the variety of political inclinations from the different parties. Divisiveness expressed itself in a variety of very important issues due to the divergent sectional and economic interests and the tendency of parties to take an opposing side in every issue. Many of these issues are discussed by Charles (1955)
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