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Anti Federalism Dbq

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“The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.”(Madison, 1787)
The Federalists, writing under the pseudonym Publius, advocated a strong central government in the new nation. They argued against the Anti-Federalist writers like Brutus, whose ideas of an effective government resided with stronger state governments. Both views of the Federalists and the Anti-federalists were justified in unifying the newly emancipated American colonies. While there is much debate on who theoretically won the political battle that resulted in the ratification of the constitution in 1789, it is clear that the modern American government no longer represents James Madison ideals of a balanced federal
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During the American Revolution, the Yankees needed a constitution to unify all of the colonies in their fight against oppressive British tyranny. What was created was the Articles of Confederation in 1781, which gave primary right to the states instead of the national government. After the colonies won the American Revolution the vulnerabilities and weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation became apparent. To enumerate, these main weaknesses included Congress’s inability to tax(to pay war debt), lack of a standing army(Shays Rebellion showed this), no power to regulate trade and commerce, no president to enforce laws, and no judges to interpret laws. Thus the weaknesses can be summed up in one sentence: the lack of a national government crippled unity and hindered the country's ability to thrive and advance as …show more content…
Notably Montesquieu's thinking on government types shows the guidelines in which a national government could evolve from a republic to a monarchy or despotism: “Republican government is that in which the people as a body, or only a part of the people, have sovereign power; monarchical government is that in which one alone governs, but by fixed and established law; wheres, in a despotic government, one alone, without law and without rule, draws everything along by his will and his caprices”(Montesquieu, 23). The Anti-Federalists felt the dissolution of strong states’ rights in favor of a strong national government would lead to a British-like tyranny that would infringe on the liberty and rights of the people. One example of how the Articles of Confederation protected the people was the absence of executive and judicial branches, which gave the legislative branch under the Articles of Confederation sole power. To demonstrate this example the legislative branch was controlled by the people, and by giving the legislative branch full power, in effect this idea kept with traditional republican theory of rule by the people. The purpose of the Federalist papers was to promote the view that a strong national government was needed to unify the colonies and improve on all the weaknesses that existed in the Articles of Confederation.

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