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The Sedition Act of 1798 For the first few years of Constitutional government under the leadership of George Washington there was a unity commonly called Federalism that even James Madison the future architect of the Republican Party acknowledged in describing the Republican form of government-- And according to the degree of pleasure and pride we feel in being republicans ought to be our zeal in cherishing the spirit and supporting the character of Federalists Although legislators had serious differences of opinions political unity was considered absolutely essential for the stability of the nationPolitical parties or factions were considered evil as Complaints are everywhere heard from our most considerate and virtuous citizens equally the friends of public and private faith and of public and personal liberty that our governments are too unstable that the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties and that measures are too often decided not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority Public perception of factions were related to British excesses and thought to be the mortal diseases under which popular governments have everywhere perished James Madison wrote in Federalist Papers 10 By a faction I understand a number of citizens whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion or of interest adversed to the rights of other citizens or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community He went on to explain that faction is part of human nature that the CAUSES of faction cannot be removed and that relief is only to be sought in the means of controlling its EFFECTS The significant point Madison was to make in this essay was that the Union was a safeguard against factions in that even if the influence of factious leaders
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