Sunday, August 22, 2010

What the Federalists and Anti-Federalists Agreed Upon

The New Beginning links to this Tenth Amendment Center's Gary Wood — Even those who disagreed agreed on federalism. Mr. Wood remninds us that "when the doors opened on Sept. 17th, 1787 a concept emerged that would be debated across the young country, in the sovereign States’ conventions gathered to consider ratification." He continues:
    Those who embraced the document as it was written were committed to establishing a federalist republic with a fundamental foundation in the rule of law over the rule of kings. Those who did not embrace the document were also committed to establishing a federalist republic formed on the same concept yet felt the original document still lacked the safeguards necessary for protecting the people of all States through the addition of a Bill of Rights with the keystone set in the duty of states to check the general government as well as the general government having a check on states. Both understood it was an attempt to develop a republican government that protected against factional largess and majority abuse over minorities while providing people an opportunity to live in a free environment.

    From New York to Virginia, New Hampshire to the Carolinas there was one thing many came to agree on in their respective conventions. Federalism’s success depended on the vertical separation of powers as much as the horizontal separation. Maintaining government over the daily concerns of people at the lowest level possible was necessary for self-government to thrive and kingly government to have no place in the future of the United States.

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Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

Excellent article. The real argument between the Federalists and the anti-federalists was over whether the United States was one nation or whether it was a confederation of separate nations (the states). It was that difference in viewing the country that spawned the differences between the two groups. Their actual views on the functionality of government and its appropriate level of control over local affairs really didn't differ that much. The Federalists, as a result of their belief that the country actually was one country rather than an EU-like confederation, believed more firmly in things like internal improvements (postal roads, canals, harbor-dredging, etc.) aided by the federal government, but never in their wildest nightmares would they have conceived of a federal government like we have today.

3:29 AM  

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