In 1776, John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison published a series of articles under the name of Publius in several New York newspapers. Their goal was to encourage the public to support the republican constitution being proposed. Some opposed to the document argued that the central government would be too powerful. These three Founding Fathers of America wrote these essays to counter any arguments that could arise.

One of the most important of these was drafted by James Madison and is known as Federalist Paper No. 10. It argues against factions gaining too much power and forsaking the rights of individuals, basically the argument of majority rule vs. minority rights. In this document, he writes,

These must be chiefly, if not wholly, effects of the unsteadiness and injustice with which a factious spirit has tainted our public administrations.
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.
There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects.
There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction: the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests.
It could never be more truly said than of the first remedy, that it was worse than the disease. Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.

It is interesting to read Madison’s words today as we are living through unprecedented times. In this work, he talks mainly about the rule of the majority, and why it is important to protect against it. In his discussion, he warns how one’s “passions” can influence the decisions of the masses and those elected and warns that these passions should not limit the freedoms of others. The Federalist Papers is definitely worth a read, but if you are limited on time, you can start with No. 10.