Federalist Anti Federalist Debate

Essay by mariepipouCollege, UndergraduateB+, December 2014

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The Federalist/Anti-Federalist Debate - Paper

After the Declaration of Independence of 1776, it became obvious to write a text to fix the rules of the new government. Thus, the articles of Confederation were established in 1777. A weak central government was created so that the states kept the majority of the power. But the articles of Confederation quickly showed up that they were not efficient to rule a country correctly. A lot of conflicts emerged within the states, so it became imperative to do something. A decade later, the Constitution of United States was ratified after long debates. One of the main debates concerned the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists. The Federalists were in favor of the Constitution. They were mainly composed of James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay. They wrote The Federalist Papers between October 1787 and May 1788 in which they stand up for the Constitution with body and soul.

On the other hand, the Anti-Federalists did not agree with most of the principles established in the Constitution. They were composed of a lot of important farmers and politicians like Robert Yates, Luther Martin, Melancton Smith and even Thomas Jefferson.

What opinions did the Federalists and Anti-Federalists have for and against the Constitution?

The Federalist/Anti-Federalist debate is focused on two main points: the distribution of power between the Union and the States and the institutions and their attachments to People's Rights.

The distribution of power between the National Government and the States is certainly the major controversial point among the Federalist/Anti-Federalist debate. While the Federalists argued for a strong Union, the Anti-Federalists wanted a weaker national government in order to let the states choose on the majority of the subjects. Madison, a Federalist, wrote that we need a "well constructed Union" (Madison, 1787, p.1). He meant that...