How do political parties differ from factions?

Daniela Leandro

In Federalist 10 James Madison described factions. Review his definition of faction.

How do political parties differ from factions?

James Madison described factions as any group, majority or minority, within a society that promoted its own self-interest at the expense of the common good. This is stated in the WTP textbook, in lesson 14 when Madison was responding to anti-federalist arguments. His argument was that if a minority faction arose that a democracy would still work well because the majority could outvote, but if a faction consisted of a majority then a risk of a majority tyranny was in jeopardy. James Madison also believe that a faction could be controlled, and changed. On the other hand, a political party was not a group that were all for one, it was an alliance of people with similar beliefs that would work together to compete in elections against another group to take control of the government. A political party served as another form of checks and balances, according to Alexander Hamilton in Federalist 70 the parties could serve to check the excess of the majority, supported in Lesson 16 of WTP text. Also, a political party connect the executive and legislative branches of government because the Presidents work closely with member of their own party in Congress. This is also supported in the WTP text on page 115. A faction is based on the interest of themselves no matter what happens to the rest of the world, while a political party shares their beliefs and ideas with the people, and allow the people to feel more at ease by choosing a party.

Some may argue that the difference between political parties and factions is very little to nothing. People believe that a faction, and a political party both only promote their own interest and do not care to gain the support or approval of the people. British writers, and even American Alexander Hamilton believed that the terms faction and party were synonyms of each other, and served no purpose. They believed both the idea of a faction, and a political party was an evil that should be obliterated from our large society. This is supported in the WTP text on page 112. It was also thought that the basic concerns of both a faction, and a political party were extremely similar because it was mostly related to religion, and economic issues in the nation.

However, there are many differences between a faction and a political party and they are nothing alike. A political party was either federalist or republicans, while a faction varied specifically on what the group thought was best for them. The parties promoted the idea of the common good, and wanted to protect it. This is supported in the WTP text on page 114. While factions did not care about the common good, or what would happen they just wanted their way. Also, factions infringe upon people rights, and work against the public’s interest. On the other hand, political parties work towards gaining the support, trust, and votes of the people which allows the people to express their rights instead of them being violated. Lastly, factions can be controlled, and can be made weaker while political parties while always obtain the support of the people and the government.

 “Bush 41 says he will vote for Clinton”

On September 20th, 2016 CNN posted a news political article stating that the former Republican President George H.W Bush will be voting for his opposing party this presidential election. He was in a room with 40 people when he stated this.  Bush stated that in November he will not be voting for the Republican presidential candidate, instead he will be voting for our Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. This is very controversial because of the political party Bush belongs to and ran the United States under. It is also very controversial because George H.W Bush ran for president in 1992 and lost to Bill Clinton. The people in the room stated that this was actually not even the first time Bush mentioned he would be voting for Hillary Clinton.

This news article actually pertains to my WDYT because it talks about political parties, which in today’s world is the Democrats v. Republicans. This articles supports my recent statement in my WDYT about one of the differences of a faction, and a political party given that George H.W Bush is putting aside his personal belief, and interest and voting for the person of a different party. This shows that political parties care about the common good of the United States, and the people of the United States unlike factions. This also related to our constitutional right to vote, it proves that we all have our own individual idea of whom we vote for, and why, and that nobody imprints on us who we have to vote for.

This article does not personally affect me, but it is important to me because it proves that no matter the political party, the people should vote for who they believed will do the best for our country. People should not vote for a certain party just because of what their parents think, or because of what they have learned growing up. George H.W Bush is setting aside history, and his own affiliation with the Republican party because he cares for this country, and wants someone that will lead us into success. He even stated,” I am afraid of what Donald Trump would do to this country.” Ultimately, this is important to me because we should not be afraid of the person that is going to be running our country because our lives, and the stability of our country lays in their hands.


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