During 1787 and 1788 there were quite a few debates over the ratification of the United States Constitution. The issues disputed are outlined and explored in the Federalist Papers, an assortment of letters and essays, often published under pseudonyms, which emerged in a variety of publications after the Constitution was presented to the public. Those who supported the Constitution were Federalists, and those who opposed were Anti-Federalists. Their deliberations concerned several main issues.
Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, James Madison, and other supporters of the Constitution argued in support of the federalist requirements that reserved powers to the states as well as the nationalist elements of the potential government. While others criticized the Constitution because it assigned too much power to the national government from the states, the federalists claimed the document provided balance. Many supporters of a strong central government lived in the coastal cities and towns, where public opinions were easier to organize than in outlying area. Hamilton, Madison and Jay published in the newspapers a series of eighty-five essays that provided a detail argument in favor of the constitution. These eighty-five essays were published in a book called The Federalist.
People debated on the illegality of the Constitution’s formation. Those who were involved in the public debate about the Constitution considered the creation of the document as an illegal act. Some Anti-Federalists believed that the men sent to the constitutional convention had surpassed the limits of the assignment originally given to them, which was to modestly adjust the Articles of Confederation. Federalists disputed that the articles needed to be eliminated rather than amended. Anti-Federalists were shocked that the new Constitution centralized the power of the federal government. Under the Articles of confederation, state’s independence had been respected to such a degree that the national government could not make requirements for fundamental things, for instance money to pay off war debt left over from the Revolution. Federalists responded that an assured amount of centralization was needed so that the federal government could reply sufficiently to complications the nation encountered.
The powers established to the executive branch, in the same way troubled Anti-Federalists. They argued that the President of the United States would be too strong, given his ability to veto and role as commander-in-chief. Federalists directed out the check and balances inbuilt in the newly created three branches of government that would avoid the President from becoming a dictator. Another debate was the issue of slavery. Slaveholders had wanted each slave to count as one whole person, giving slave states an electoral power that went beyond their actual population of voters. Northern states feared this possible power. The framers had cooperated and counted each slave as three-fifths of a...