Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
A political faction consists of a group of individuals pursuing a specific purpose. The nature of a political faction has changed according to different historical periods. In the era of mass politics, factions had to operate in structured and aggregative contexts; whereas in the era of elite politics, factions could operate as autonomous actors in the restricted electoral arena. Historically, elite factions were the prologue of political parties. During the formative years of the United States, factions were considered a mortal threat to the deliberative spirit of the new republic (as expressed by George Washington's Farewell Address of 1796). The rationale of the 1787 Philadelphia Constitution was indeed to prevent the tyranny of factions. A Enlarging ...