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    The Federalist and Anti

    This curriculum unit explores some of the most important arguments of those opposing or supporting the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.

    Curriculum

    The Federalist and Anti-federalist Debates on Diversity and the Extended Republic

    Photo caption

    In September of 1787, the delegates to the Convention in Philadelphia presented their work to the American public for ratification. The proposed Constitution marked a clear departure from the Articles of Confederation, which had essentially established a federal “league of friendship” between thirteen sovereign and largely independent states. Under the newly proposed plan of government, the union between the states would be strengthened under a national government that derived its authority—at least in part—directly from the American people rather than purely from the state legislatures. And under the new Constitution, the people would be represented equally in the House, regardless of the state in which they lived—unlike the Articles of Confederation, according to which the Continental Congress equally represented the states. In other words, the proposed Constitution would make the United States a nation of one people rather than a loose confederation of states.

    In this unit, students will examine the arguments of Anti-federalists and Federalists to learn what their compromises would mean for the extended republic that would result from the new Constitution. They will become familiar with some of the greatest thinkers on both sides of the argument and their reasons for opposing or supporting the Constitution. They will learn why Anti-federalists believed that a large nation could not long preserve liberty and self-government. They will also learn why Federalists such as James Madison believed that a large nation was vital to promote justice and the security of rights for all citizens, majority and minority alike. Finally, students will see the seriousness of the question as one that both sides believed would determine the happiness, liberty, and safety of future generations of Americans.

    Guiding Questions

    What are the merits of the Anti-federalist argument that an extended republic will lead to the destruction of liberty and self-government?

    Was James Madison correct when he claimed that a republican government over an extended territory was necessary to both preserve the Union and secure the rights of citizens?

    Learning Objectives

    Understand what Anti-federalists meant by the terms “extended republic” or “consolidated republic.”

    Articulate the problems the Anti-federalists believed would arise from extending the republic over a vast territory.

    Evaluate the nature and purpose of representation and the competing arguments regarding the short and long-term outcomes of these decisions.

    Evaluate the argument that a large republic would result in an abuse of power by those holding elected office.

    Evaluate the merits of a “pure democracy” and a representative republic.

    Construct an argument as to which perspective regarding the size of a government and republic has proved true in the U.S. today.

    Source : edsitement.neh.gov

    Antifederalists [ushistory.org]

    16b. Antifederalists

    Patrick Henry delivers his famous "If this be treason, make the most of it!" speech to the Virginia House of Burgesses.

    The ANTIFEDERALISTS were a diverse coalition of people who opposed ratification of the Constitution. Although less well organized than the Federalists, they also had an impressive group of leaders who were especially prominent in state politics.

    Ranging from political elites like JAMES WINTHROP in Massachusetts to MELANCTON SMITH of New York and Patrick Henry and George Mason of Virginia, these Antifederalist were joined by a large number of ordinary Americans particularly yeomen farmers who predominated in rural America. The one overriding social characteristic of the Antifederalists as a group was their strength in newer settled western regions of the country.

    On August 31, 1787, George Mason declared he would "rather chop off my right hand than put it to the Constitution as it now stands."

    In spite of the diversity that characterized the Antifederalist opposition, they did share a core view of American politics. They believed that the greatest threat to the future of the United States lay in the government's potential to become corrupt and seize more and more power until its tyrannical rule completely dominated the people. Having just succeeded in rejecting what they saw as the TYRANNY of British power, such threats were seen as a very real part of political life.

    To Antifederalists the proposed Constitution threatened to lead the United States down an all-too-familiar road of political CORRUPTION. All three branches of the new central government threatened Antifederalists' traditional belief in the importance of restraining government power.

    The President's vast new powers, especially a veto that could overturn decisions of the people's representatives in the legislature, were especially disturbing. The court system of the national government appeared likely to encroach on local courts. Meanwhile, the proposed lower house of the legislature would have so few members that only elites were likely to be elected. Furthermore, they would represent people from such a large area that they couldn't really know their own constituents. The fifty-five members of the proposed national House of Representatives was quite a bit smaller than most state legislatures in the period. Since the new legislature was to have increased fiscal authority, especially the right to raise taxes, the Antifederalists feared that before long Congress would pass oppressive taxes that they would enforce by creating a standing national army.

    The preamble of the United States Constitution: Most of the world's democracies have based their constitutions on this document.

    This range of objections boiled down to a central opposition to the sweeping new powers of the proposed central government. George Mason, a delegate to the Philadelphia Convention who refused to support the Constitution, explained, the plan was "totally subversive of every principle which has hitherto governed us. This power is calculated to annihilate totally the state governments." The rise of national power at the expense of state power was a common feature of Antifederalist opposition.

    The most powerful objection raised by the Antifederalists, however, hinged on the lack of protection for INDIVIDUAL LIBERTIES in the Constitution. Most of the state constitutions of the era had built on the Virginia model that included an explicit protection of individual rights that could not be intruded upon by the state. This was seen as a central safeguard of people's rights and was considered a major Revolutionary improvement over the unwritten protections of the British constitution.

    Why, then, had the delegates to the Philadelphia Convention not included a bill of rights in their proposed Constitution? Most Antifederalists thought that such protections were not granted because the Federalists represented a sinister movement to roll back the gains made for ordinary people during the Revolution.

    The Antifederalists and Federalists agreed on one thing: the future of the nation was at stake in the contest over the Constitution.

    Source : www.ushistory.org

    Chapter 9 Flashcards

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    Chapter 9

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    Explain the movement toward social and political equality that flourished after the Revolution, and indicate why certain social and racial inequalities remained in place.

    Click card to see definition 👆

    Social and political equality came about through the mention of common sense. Slowly the government went establishing government with freedom starting with the declaration of independence. Certain racial and social inequalities were still in place because the major of people still did not view them as human.

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    Describe the government of the Articles of Confederation and summarize its achievements and failures.

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    The government under the articles was no government. All the states did what they wanted, govt could not tax, or standardize laws and tariffs, or check power, but it did organize land in the wast and provided a stepping stone for the constitution.

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    1/39 Created by brittanyvdv

    Terms in this set (39)

    Explain the movement toward social and political equality that flourished after the Revolution, and indicate why certain social and racial inequalities remained in place.

    Social and political equality came about through the mention of common sense. Slowly the government went establishing government with freedom starting with the declaration of independence. Certain racial and social inequalities were still in place because the major of people still did not view them as human.

    Describe the government of the Articles of Confederation and summarize its achievements and failures.

    The government under the articles was no government. All the states did what they wanted, govt could not tax, or standardize laws and tariffs, or check power, but it did organize land in the wast and provided a stepping stone for the constitution.

    Explain the crucial role of Shay's Rebellion in sparking movement for a new Constitution.

    Showed the need for a constitution. Governments started to pass laws for those in dept.

    Describe the basic inventions and ideas of the Founding Fathers, and how they incorporated their fundamental principles into the Constitution.

    The idea of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness was put into a bill of rights. Jays independence was the reason for weak government. Madison's calling of the meeting eliminated the articles.

    Grasp the central concerns that motivated the anti-federalists, and indicate their social, economic, and political differences with the federalists.

    anti- wanted more rights for the ppl, poorer, little say in press, outnumbered

    feds- wealthy, strong govt, majority, backed by founding fathers, newspapers

    Describe the difficult political fight over ratification of the Constitution between federalists and anti-federalists, and explain why the federalists won.

    The federalists won by getting the majority of states to sign a petition. They were butting heads:NY RI NJ Mass

    Explain why the new Constitutional government represented a conservative reaction to the American Revolution and at the same time institutionalized its central radical principles.

    A constitutional government represents conservatism because the government is still ran under the articles, its mentions of human rights and strong government represents radical principles.

    Abigail Adams

    Wife of John Adams. During the Revolutionary War, she wrote letters to her husband describing life on the homefront. She urged her husband to remember America's women in the new government he was helping to create.

    she strongly supported American independence, and she argued for equal rights, political representation, and education for women.

    Daniel Shays

    A captain veteran of the Revolutionary War, Shays led impoverished back country farmers to rebellion in Massachusetts. The rebellion by Shays stressed the importance of a strong central government.

    Head of Shay's Rebellion; he and several other angry farmers violently protested against debtor's jail; eventually crushed; aided in the creation of constitution because land owners now wanted to preserve what was theirs from "mobocracy"

    Alexander Hamilton

    He proposed Annapolis Convention. Hamilton emerged as a major political figure during the debate over the Constitution, as the outspoken leader of the Federalists and one of the authors of the Federalist Papers. Later, as secretary of treasury under Washington, Alexander Hamilton spearheaded the government's Federalist initiatives, most notably through the creation of the Bank of the United States.

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