Popular governments have a propensity for faction: a number of citizens, whether a majority or minority, united in a common interest and adverse to the rights of other citizens or the aggregate community. Two methods are available to cure faction: remove the cause, or control its effect. Likewise, two methods are available to remove the cause of factions: destroy the citizens’ liberty, which is essential to its existence; or give every citizen the same opinions, passions, and interests. The former is like annihilating air because it imparts to fire it destructive agency…the cure is worse than the disease. The latter method to remove faction is not possible. As long as man’s reason is fallible and he retains liberty to exercise it, there will be differences of opinion. The latent causes of faction find themselves sown in the very nature of man. Thus, the causes of faction cannot be removed and relief can only be gained by controlling its effects.
If faction includes less than a majority, relief is provided by the republican principle which allows the majority to defeat the view by regular vote. The challenge is to secure public good and private rights and gain the benefits of popular government against the danger of a majority faction. This can be accomplished by one of two ways: either the same passion or interest of the majority occurring at the same time must be prevented; or, the majority must be rendered unable to affect their scheme of oppression. It has been found that a pure democracy cannot overcome the effect of a majority faction. By its very nature, there is nothing to check the action of the majority to sacrifice the weaker party. A republic promises a cure. A republic differs from a democracy two ways: it is governed by a small number of citizens elected by the rest; and it can extend its sphere of influence over a greater territory and number of citizens than a pure democracy. To accomplish this, the number of elected representatives must be sufficient to guard against the cabals of the few; however, the number must also be limited to avoid the confusion of the many. Hence the number of representatives in the two cases is not proportionate to the two constituents. For small republics, the proportion is relatively greater, for larger republics, the proportion is relatively smaller. Each representative will be chosen by a greater number of citizens in the large republic over the smaller republic, and it will be more difficult for candidates to carry an election by vicious arts.
In reality, there must be a balance between the extremes of number of representatives. Too many and you render them too little acquainted with local circumstances; too few, and they may be unduly attached to local circumstances and little fit to address national issues. The federal Constitution addresses both with great and aggregate interests referred to the national and local interests referred to the State legislatures.
The republican government also extends the sphere (number of citizens and area of territory) of government compared to a pure democracy. This takes in a greater variety of parties and reduces the possibility that a majority of the whole will have common motive to invade the rights of other citizens. Factions may develop in particular States, but will be unable to spread through other States. A properly constructed Union provides a republican remedy for diseases most incident to republican government.