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The Federalist / Anti-Federalist Debate

The Federalist / Anti-Federalist Debate

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The Federalist / Anti-Federalist Debate

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  1. The Federalist/Anti-Federalist Debate

  2. After the Constitution was written, nine of the thirteen states had to ratify it before it would become law. • While many new Americans supported the document, the Constitution was also widely criticized • Being drafted in secret. • Creating too strong of a federal (central) government. • Taking power from the states. • Lacking a federal bill of rights.

  3. The Debate The Federalistfavored ratifying or adopting the constitution into law. While the Anti-federalistopposed ratification. Each side tried to convince Americans of their points of view.

  4. The Federalists:

  5. Alexander Hamilton

  6. He was an attorney and journalist from New York. • Alexander Hamilton was George Washington’s aide in the Rev. War. • He was George Washington’s Secretary of Treasury. • His political career was cut short when he was killed in a duel by Aaron Burr.

  7. James Madison

  8. James Madison was from a wealthy planter family in Virginia • He served in the Continental Congress. • He was Thomas Jefferson’s Secretary of State • A two-term President of the United States. • He was one of the major drafters of the Constitution, and is considered the “Father of the Bill of Rights.”

  9. John Jay • He was from a merchant family in N. Y. • He was an attorney. • He would become the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

  10. The Federalist Papers • A series of 85 essays designed to convince the American public of the need to ratify the Constitution. • Federalist Papers #10 # 51 and #78 are the most well known • Hamilton chose the name “Federalist” for his papers because at the time, this name implied the promotion of national sovereignty against a strong state government.

  11. Major points of the Federalist Papers • Each branch has the power to check the other. • A strong executive is needed because “Energy in the executive is a leading character in the definition of good government.” • Congress is established as the strongest and most important of the three branches. • A strong national government is needed to defend the borders of the weak Republic.

  12. The Anti-Federalists

  13. ANTI-FEDERALISTS PATRICK HENRY • Lawyer & Governor of Virginia • Radical Revolutionary War leader • Famous speech, “Give me liberty or give me death”. • Delegate to the Committee of Correspondents and the Continental Congress • Lead the fight against the ratification of the Constitution

  14. The Anti-federalists were at a disadvantage because most newspapers supported the Federalists. But the Anti-federalists had a strong popular appeal. Many Americans distrusted and were suspicious of strong federal power.

  15. Anti-Federalists Arguments • The Constitution threatened the rights and liberties so recently won from England. • The framers (authors) did not openly discuss the issues of the Constitution, and the secrecy bothered many Americans. • They warned that public officials, however selected, would be constantly attempting to expand their powers.

  16. Anti-Federalists Arguments • Demanded direct, personal contact with their representatives. • Ordinary citizens should be allowed to compete equally, in politics, as their more wealthy counterparts; the Constitution set up a government that favored the elite. • The public good is best served by strong local governments.

  17. Anti-Federalist Writings • One author of the Federalist papers wrote under the pen name “Centinel” (Samuel Bryan) • He wrote a series of 24 articles that appeared in the Philadelphia Independent Gazette and the Philadelphia Freeman's Journal. • They argued that the elaborate system of Checks and Balances would prevent people from detecting corruption and tyranny in their leaders.

  18. Anti-Federalist Writings The series of Anti-Federalist writings, which most nearly parallel and confronted The Federalist, was a series of 16 essays published in the New York Journal.

  19. The Result of the Debate • The Constitution was ratified. • Delaware was the first state to ratify. Within eight months, eight of the nine states had ratified. New York was the state to complete the ratification process. • The Anti-Federalists had managed a compromise, and that was the promised addition of a federal bill of rights.

  20. The Bill of Rights • James Madison, a FEDERALIST, originally opposed the addition of a bill of rights to the Constitution. • He later changed his mind realizing that compromise with the Anti-Federalists was crucial if the government was to be accepted by the masses. • The Bill of Rights was written by James Madison. The Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791.

  21. The Bill of Rights The Bill of Rights protects the freedoms of assembly, speech, religion, and the press; guarantees speedy trial; preserved the people’s right to bear arms; and prohibits unreasonable searches, among other safeguards.

  22. The new government was thus complete. Although some Americans complained that they had fought the Revolution to avoid a strong central government, most were optimistic about the young country. THE END