Compare And Contrast The Federalist And The Anti-Federalists

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It became clear soon after the Articles of Confederation were implemented that the document had certain flaws that weakened the newly created United States. A new document, the Constitution, was drafted to replace the Articles. Many people supported the Constitution, but some disagreed with it. Both the Federalists and the anti-Federalists provided valuable insight into the creation of the Constitution. Some of the arguments presented by the anti-Federalists were that it lacked a Bill of Rights, which would guarantee citizens freedoms; that the strong central government would be unable to govern such a large territory; and that the government that was established was too close to the British system they had just overcome. The supporters of …show more content…
Patrick Henry said, in a speech to the Virginia ratifying convention, that he believed that America was too large and diverse to be ruled by one single government, and that any attempt at this kind of government would lead to tyranny. A similar speech in Pennsylvania stated that an extensive territory like the United States could be ruled only through a united confederation of republics. This summed up the feelings of many Americans at the time- they knew and trusted smaller state governments, and believed that a national government would be too distant. This was an understandable reaction. Americans had no experience with the governing of a country as large as the United States. European countries were considerably smaller, and the Articles of Confederation had implemented strong state governments that dealt with a relatively small area. The only experience Americans had with national government at that point was Britain 's strong central forces, which they had just spent years fighting to be rid of. One way that the Federalists responded to criticism of the strong central government was through a series of essays, the Federalist Papers, written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. These essays argued in favor of and explained the motives of the Constitution. They also served as a rebuttal to anti-Federalist criticism. In one of these essays, Madison directly addresses the issue of governing such a large and diverse country. He says that a country with such a great population and territory is less likely to find a majority, and thus less likely to have a majority infringe on the rights of citizens. In this way, a larger population is a good thing, because it ensures diversity- and a diverse country would, ideally, have a diverse government, which would mean that it wouldn 't favor any one group

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