Federalist vs Anti-Federalist Debate Over the Constitution, Essay Example

Published: 2018-08-21
Federalist vs Anti-Federalist Debate Over the Constitution, Essay Example
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Political science Federalism Constitution
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 610 words
6 min read

Federalist and Anti-federalists Debate Over the Constitution

The process of ratifying the constitution required nine states for it to be effective. The ratification fight was a challenging long one. The ratification process needed special endorsement conventions as opposed to state legislature. Since the states had notable interest in retaining power, they exercised resistance in ratifying a new and stronger regime. Two major opposing parties played a role in the ratification process. For instance, the individuals who supported the ratification were referred to as Federalists whereas the Anti-Federalists were the ones who opposed the process (Kennedy & Cohen, 2015).

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The Federalists exploited the Articles of Confederation weaknesses while supporting a House of Representatives with fundamental power. They agreed that the constitution was not in a perfect state, although they acknowledged that it was better unlike any other form of proposal. They also showed significant commitment toward defending some of the points in the Constitution they regarded as weakest, such as absence of Bill of Rights. They did this by suggesting that the prevailing safeguards were satisfactory and that the Congress had the capacity of proposing Amendments when necessary. By contrast, the Anti-Federalists criticized the Constitution by suggesting that it would result to the emergence of a precariously powerful countrywide government. Their major arguments targeted the absence of the Bill of Rights, although the Federalists’ arguments persuaded them eventually (Kennedy, et al., 2016).

Past Republicans served as Federalists in certain ways since they were strict towards the Constitution. The individuals who advocated for a Constitution where the federal government had relatively strong power were federalists. As for the Democrats, they served as Anti-Federalists in that they advocated for a stronger power of the state. This would provide the states with the capacity for deciding on one of the key vital issues associated with early democrats, slavery (Kennedy, et al., 2016). For instance, the initial Republican president utilized the federal government’s power to wage war in the secessionist states of the south and subsequently consider slaves as citizens. The Republicans had struggled considerably to attain civil rights, particularly in the south when the war ended. However, they lost African Americans favor and a considerable part of the country during a time when most of the Republicans and Democrats significantly switched their stand toward federalism, The New Deal. Since then, the Republicans have been supporting for a bigger government, raising questions as to why they embarked on the change. Since the Republicans did not support a large government, they backed a limited government, which the constitution defined (Kennedy & Cohen, 2015).

Referring to Republicans as Federalists today, however, is incorrect since they are constitutionalists. Moreover, calling Democrats Anti-Federalists is also incorrect, mostly because the major reason as to why they became Anti-federalists was to allow them sustain slavery in the south. When they failed in their endeavors, they started seeking a bigger federal government with the goal of trying to control individuals as well as create a nation dependent on government through developing a safety net, which most people could not resist. Unluckily, the safety net was considerably thin, while most of its downsides today are apparent in cases such as falling social security, over-regulated enterprises, overspent government, less people freedom, and over-reliance on government (Kennedy & Cohen, 2015). Therefore, based on the views they held at the time, the Federalists and Anti-Federalists would support Democratic Party today based on their support toward a bigger and powerful government.


Kennedy, D. M., & Cohen, L. (2015). American Pageant. New York: Cengage Learning.

Kennedy, D. M., Cohen, L., & Piehl, M. (2016). The Brief American Pageant: A History of the Republic. New York: Cengage Learning.

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