From the Federalist Papers #10:
The inference to which we are brought is, that the CAUSES of
faction cannot be removed, and that relief is only to be sought in
the means of controlling its EFFECTS.
If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is
supplied by the republican principle, which enables the majority to
defeat its sinister views by regular vote. It may clog the
administration, it may convulse the society; but it will be unable
to execute and mask its violence under the forms of the Constitution.
When a majority is included in a faction, the form of popular
government, on the other hand, enables it to sacrifice to its ruling
passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other
citizens. To secure the public good and private rights against the
danger of such a faction, and at the same time to preserve the
spirit and the form of popular government, is then the great object
to which our inquiries are directed.
It is also the great object facing those who hope to make of Iraq a thriving democracy. Democracies are, by their very nature, a fragile form of government. And this fragility is its’ strength. But, the building of such an istitution must not be approached without great respect for this fragility, else it may never come to fruition. We are seeing the effects.
(Hat tip: Carson)