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The Great Debate Essay

621 words - 3 pages

In the 1780’s there was much controversy over what form of government should exist and how much power the government should have. The two groups debating these issues were the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists. T here were many factors for voters to consider before choosing a Federalist or Anti-Federalist position.
The Federalist generally consisted of a wealthier class of people who tended to have more readily available resources which enabled them to campaign more effectively than the Anti-Federalists. The Federalist desired the creation of a strong federal government, the desired to maintain order. Federalists supported the Constitution and attempted to convince the states to ratify it. They did not believe the Constitution needed a Bill of Rights, they felt it would limit the rights of the people instead of protecting them.
The Anti-Federalist was a group of people who were less organized than the ...view middle of the document...

The Anti-Federalists felt that having a standing army was extremely dangerous and that it did not follow the guidelines of limited powers, it would enable the government the right to utilize this army to force compliance of laws; abolishing the liberties of the people. Another fear the Anti-Federalist had, was that Congress would soon begin to
I feel the Anti-Federalist had very legitimate concerns and their fears were definitely justified. The Constitution contained no Bill of Rights, so there were no specific protections such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, or any other guaranteed protections. The Anti-Federalist wanted a list of rights so they could not be taken away from them. The Constitution listed what the government could do but there was nothing in writing stating what the government could not do. Their fear of the President having control over a standing army during peacetime was also a justified fear because it allowed the President to employ these armies at his discretion. They saw these armies as a source of moral corruption and felt that once you gave an army absolute power you would not be able to control them. The Anti-Federalist were afraid that there was great potential for the government to become corrupt and ultimately dominate the people. All three branches of the new central government went against the Anti-Federalists belief of restraining government power. They feared the government would eventually utilize its unlimited power to deprive the people of their freedoms
The Anti-Federalists had every right to reject the Constitution as it was written, their premonitions were definitely on target and their primary fears were indeed warranted. They knew some changes had to be made to the Constitution in order to make it better serve the people. In 1788, the new Constitution was ratified by the states. The main reason the Anti-Federalist finally supported the Constitution was the addition of the Bill of Rights, which guarantees the freedom of speech, freedom of religion and a list of other freedoms. This finally had a sense of security knowing they now had something in writing that protects their individual civil liberties.

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