The Federalist Papers, a collection of 85 essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay to promote the ratification of the United States Constitution in 1787–1788, is widely regarded as one of the most influential works in American political history. Of these papers, Federalist Paper No. 10 has been perhaps the most cited and studied throughout U.S. history for its analysis of factions within society and how they can be managed through a representative democracy such as that proposed by the new constitution at the time.
Federalist Paper No. 10 discusses factions—groups or individuals who are united by common interests or opinions—and their potential danger to democratic societies when those interests come into conflict with each other or with those held by larger majorities in society; Hamilton refers specifically to minority factions but also acknowledges majority factions, which may become oppressive if unchecked ("the violence of faction...may be much fiercer than could any impulse be given by a smaller number of adversaries. "). To manage this risk, he proposes that "the only security against factions must lie in giving every citizen an equal voice" through an extensive system of representation similar to what was being suggested under the new federal government set up proposed under the Constitution, thus demonstrating his support for its adoption over existing state governments at this time.