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In Federalist 10, James Madison argues that "extending the sphere" defends individual rights from being invaded by factionalism. This essay investigates Madison's earlier versions of the extension argument and isolates how it had changed when finally used in essay 10. By assuming that Federalist 10 is the definitive account of the argument, his actual understanding of the American political system is obscured. It is misguided to suppose that his earlier works were merely primitive versions that evolved to the splendor of Federalist 10—in many ways they are closer to his original theoretical vision than their more famous counterpart.

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