Anti Federalist Approach Analysis

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The question of the proper role and scope of government has remained one of the fundamental conflicts in the United States since its inception. The nation’s Founding Fathers were all ultimately skeptical of government, but in very different ways. While the Federalists favored a stronger, more structured Federal level governed by a central Constitution, the Anti-Federalists feared centralized power and Constitutional control over the states – who in their minds were more responsive to their citizenry and more accurately reflected the desires and wishes of their respective populations. Both groups, however, were ultimately attempting to preserve liberty – simply disagreeing on the best method to do so. The Federalist approach believed that a …show more content…
Anti-Federalists fought for a Bill of Rights to be included within the Constitutional framework governing the federal government so as to explicitly codify individual rights under the law. Their skepticism regarding the nature of government recognized state action and the liberties of the individual citizen are typically antithetical in nature and in need of explicit protection. Some Federalists on the other hand were actually fearful of such methods, worrying that explicitly listing the rights of the individual was an inherently limiting approach to liberty – with the idea that those which were not listed were not fundamentally retained by the people. James Madison stated, “[T]he government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like the state governments, whose powers are more general.” James Madison original position prior to Constitutional ratification and the inclusion of the Bill of Rights was that the Constitution inherently restricted the powers of the national government to those that were clearly defined. He noted that any enumeration or specific listing of rights was going to be incomplete and therefore would leave important, non-enumerated, rights …show more content…
The American form of government was designed to be neither the source rights or the provider of what those rights can be used for. It established a culture of opportunity, but with no guarantee of success. That was the culture, which, in his first inaugural address, Jefferson defined as protecting people from injuring each other but otherwise generally leaving them to their own devices.3 The goal is not equality of outcome – on the contrary, such a notion is antithetical to the notion of liberty – but equality of opportunity. Those who better utilize their skills and the opportunities afforded to them, can and should receive more than those who do not. Such is the original notion of ‘fair’ in the United States. While an imperfect union from the start, the goal was not perfection, but to establish a new and

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