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Federalist No. 10: Are Factions the Problem in Creating Democratic Accountability in the Public Interest?


Jack H. Knott is the Erwin and Ione Piper Dean Professor in the School of Policy, Planning, and Development at the University of Southern California. His research interests center on the impact of institutions and decision making processes on public policy, governmental and bureaucratic reform, and public management. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.


Federalist No. 10 contains an optimistic view of the national government's ability to fulfill its obligations in the midst of what was, at the time, a small but challenged nation. This essay suggests that the founders did not anticipate the pernicious effects of rent seeking, corruption, and repression of minorities, and they failed to anticipate the calamities associated with slavery. The essay asks about the role of government as a party machine, a business, a policy process, and a contractor and examines a variety of contemporary theories for explaining government performance.