The Anti Federalists Essay

985 words - 4 pages

The Founding Fathers were the men recognized for drafting the United States Constitution and are often viewed as an unselfish group of men who shared a singular belief about how government should work. The truth about the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention and the differing political factions is not as unified and glamorous as this storybook image of history would have us to believe. Their finished product did result in a lasting framework that defined our government‘s structure as well as establishing liberty as a cornerstone to our new society. The magnificent result should not gloss over the messy, sausage-making process that this massive overhaul of government actually was. This brief paper will discuss why the Anti-Federalists’ contribution to the creation of the Constitution cannot or should not be discounted. In Herbert J. Storing’s book, What the Anti-Federalists Were For, he methodically lays out the Anti-Federalists’ positions and contributions to the constitutional compromise and why he believes that they too should be considered Founding Fathers as well.
The Anti-Federalists where seen as those primarily opposed to creating a new constitution and stood against this proposition on nearly every point of the debate. The Anti-Federalists gained their name because they were antagonists to the Federalists who supported the adoption of a new constitution and they had no formal name. The Anti-Federalist were also comprised of prominent men who ferociously supported the ideals of the Revolution and protecting liberty even though the Federalists would often accuse them of abandoning these principles. The debates at the Philadelphia Convention were rooted in principles deeply held by both groups. The Anti-Federalists contended that the whole gathering was illegal since the purpose of the meeting was to revise the Articles of Confederations, not scrap the entire structure of government. This stance ignited cantankerous arguments from the very beginning of the convention and the tone carried forward until the conclusion of proceedings. Most of all, the Anti-Federalists were conservative and had reservations about massive, sudden changes to the government. In truth, these two groups were not radically different from one another and their eventual compromise result in the United States Constitution.
A fundamental Anti-Federalists position is the notion that true power rest within the states themselves. The Federalist, lead by men such as James Madison, believed authorizing certain powers to the federal government and creating a properly structured republic that would have the necessary check and balances to keep power from becoming centralized. Many Anti-Federalists believe that permanently granting powers to the new federal government would only further reduce the individual state’s influence and control over policy. The constitutional debates were largely over what degree states surrendered some...

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