Arguments Against Anti-Federalism

On a wet spring day in 1787, a group of powerful men gathered together to revise the articles of confederation. Instead however, they covertly framed an entirely different form of government, a republic made up of three different branches, judicial, executive, and legislative. Once released to the public, many citizens had extreme doubts about this new government. They feared that because of the government’s size and lack of diverse representation, that it would fail to represent the concerns and interests of the public. They feared that human nature combined with excess of power given to a smaller amount of representatives would result in corruption. And lastly, the people worried that with this corruption, the loss of their rights and freedom …show more content…
However through the events following the constitution’s ratification such as the whiskey rebellion, the installation of a national bank, and the passing of the sedition act, the anti-Federalist’s concerns of the new republic were proved valid.
One of the anti-Federalists main concerns and the first real threat to the new constitution, was that a small government would not be able to represent the concerns and interests of America’s large and diverse population. This concern was proved legitimate as rural farmers experienced the negative effects of the Whiskey act. The Whiskey act was a 25% tax imposed by the federal government onto alcohol in 1791. Many farmers whose main crop was the wheat used in the production of the alcohol, experienced major economic setbacks. These farmers began to protest and eventually, their protests going unheard, began to rebel. Madison argues in Federalist #10 that the main issues in their nation will be at the fault of
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These fears were validated when the government, scared of a rebellion, chose to violate their own Bill of Rights and introduce the Sedition Act. The Sedition Act was law enacted in 1798 that prohibited any physical or written displeasure or opposition towards the federal government and was punishable by a fine and jail time. The Anti-Federalist had previously worried about this type of act, so they had convinced the government to create “an explicit statement of rights to secure the freedoms of the individuals and minorities for being violated by the federal government.” Henceforth the Bill of Rights was created in 1791, specifying in Amendment #1 that congress was not allowed to create any laws that limited the freedom of speech, or of the press, or prohibit the right of the people to assemble or petition the Government for a redress of grievances. The Sedition Act completely stripped the people of their rights to free speech and was enacted after the Bill of Rights. The Government had knowingly violated their own laws to supposedly ensure the “general welfare” of their people. If the people could not speak out against certain aspects of their government, who would? The Sedition Act insured ultimate power to the government

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