In 1787 James Madison wrote Federalist 10, arguing for the value of our Constitution in protecting citizens from the violence of faction. Madison defined faction as follows.
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, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.
The Founders of our country understood the dangers that a reckless and emotional majority could inflict upon the citizenry. In the penultimate paragraph of the document, Madison listed three worst-case examples of faction to drive home his point.