Federalists VS Anti-Federalists

Essay by angel4evaHigh School, 10th grade February 2004

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The Struggle For The Constitution

The Ratification or Adoption of the Constitution took place between September of 1787 and July of 1788. The Federal Convention, which had drafted the Constitution between May and September 1787, had no authority to impose it on the American people. Nine states had to ratify the Constitution, in order for it to be in effect. However they were several problems in ratifying the constitution. The supporters of the Constitution called themselves the Federalists, and their opponents, who supported states rights over centralized power, were called the Anti-federalists.

The Anti-federalists' arguments against the Constitution represented deep mistrust of centralized government, which found its source in the colonial experience leading up to the revolution. The principle contention of the Anti-federalists was that the national government could never be as responsive and compassionate to the needs of the citizens as could state governments. The Anti-federalists claimed that the people would not submit to being governed by a geographically distant central government controlled by politicians who had little reason to vote for the best interests of individual states.

They saw the submission of state government to national government as representative of the submission of the interests of the individual to the dangerous interests of the nation. George Mason was critical about the abundant powers of the Congress and thought that this government would produce monarchy and a corrupt aristocracy.

Many people disliked the fact that there was no Bill of Rights included in the new Constitution. Even Thomas Jefferson was troubled by the absence of the Bill of Rights. New York wanted to amend the constitution to institute a Bill of Rights and then ratify the Constitution. Moreover, Robert Yates of New York urged that they did not want to be unified as a nation and wanted...