History - Federalist versus Anti-Federalist

Essay by Pokrant0930University, Bachelor'sA+, July 2008

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The Constitution of the United States is a remarkable document that was put together by our Founding Fathers and several existing documents including the Articles of Confederation and the Declaration of Independence. While the Constitution has provided America with freedom and rights, there were critical issues, concerns and numerous debates. The government has gone through a number of changes in order to become the system that it is today and the Founding Fathers played a large role in drafting and ratifying a new constitution for the United Stated (Ketcham, 1981).

In September of 1787 the Constitutional Convention meeting held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania had finally came to a close after critical Federalist debates between had taken place in determining balancing power between State and Federal Governments.

One of the most debated issues during the formation of the American government was how much power the federal government should have or how much liberty the states should have.

Two Founding Fathers who represented opposing sides were Alexander Hamilton, who argued for a strong national government and James Madison and John Jay in the Federalist Papers. Now, Thomas Jefferson on the other hand was in favor of a weaker national government where more power instead rested with the states rather than the government. While Thomas Jefferson didn’t hang around for the convention, he paid close attention to the ratification debates with Anti-Federalists, George Mason and Patrick Henry.

Even though the Anti-Federalist had lost the ratification, they did come close to winning and their opinions represent an important contribution to the American political tradition (Ketcham, 1981). The Anti-Federalist lost the ratification because they did not present a clear and convincing explanation of the threats within the Constitutional plan that stood between the Articles of Confederation. The Anti-Federalist recognized the plan was powerless in fulfilling the...