The Anti Federalists’ Representation Of People Essay

1680 words - 7 pages

The Anti-Federalists had many views that were different than those of the Federalists. One the differences that seems to be important, is who they view as “The people”. The Anti-Federalists believed that common people should be able to be active participants of their government; this involvement includes having a say in the laws that are made and the protection of everyday working class people. This common man involvement is reinforced by the fact that the Anti-Federalists wanted to keep government more local, by having strong state governments. Using Rogers Smith’s Civic Ideals as a foundation, this essay illustrates that the view of the Anti-Federalists is that the United States of America is combined of many different people, and that representation should be based on these differences rather than just the elite population.
In the late 1780s there where a variety of men that would need to be represented by the government. These men included everyone from aristocratic land owners, to merchants, to hard laborers. The Anti-Federalists knew that all of these men needed to be represented in the government so that there were no laws made with the intention to harm a certain group’s way of life. In Federal Farmer Letter VII it is said that “Each order must have a share in the business of legislation actually and efficiently” (Hammond 559). By each class of men having an active role in their government, a process is created to able to prevent one class from overruling others for their own benefit. This is important to the Anti-Federalists because they think that each type of man should be considered equal. This hunger for equality leads us to see that the Anti-Federalists believe that all men should be able to be part of government without having to qualify based on where they stand economically. For this system of multiple classes to work, the different groups of men would have had to learn to compromise with each other.
To make laws that are good for the American society as a whole, it is important for the people to work together between the social classes. This means that aristocrats that own large expanses of land and hard laborers who own small estates should have the same amount of power in government. The Anti-Federalists believed that the representatives should represent all men, including the men of the lesser classes. In Brutus Essay II it is apparent that the Anti-Federalists see the need for representatives to show diversity. It states “If we may collect the sentiments of the people of America… they hold this truth as self-evident, that all men are by nature free. No one man, therefore, or any class of men, have a right, by the law of nature, or of God, to assume or exercise authority over their fellows” (Hammond 539). This statement shows that the Anti-Federalists did not want one class of people, such as elite aristocrats, to run the government. If only one league of men controlled the government, it would soon become tyrannical. The...

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