The Federalists and The Anti-Federalists: Two different ideologies After the American Revolution, the United States had to face the war debt and challenges of constructing a new country. In an effort to create a system that solved these problems, they created the Constitution. In order to institute a new government under the Constitution, the ratification required the approval of nine states conventions. States that did not ratify the Constitution would not be considered as a part of the United States. The creation of the Constitution became a complicated process, especially between two political groups with different ideologies, who fought over the distribution of power.
How did this style of government come to be from the failure of the Articles of Confederation, and how does it still impact policy on the state level today? The style of government called Federalism came to be as a result of the failure of national cohesion under the Articles of Confederation. Unlike the Constitution, which sets strict guidelines of the powers vested within it in favor of national strength, the Articles favored power to be vested with the states. This undoubtedly caused problems, as although the states were ultimately responsible for what transpired in their borders, the national government could affect
… (Madison, 1787)”. James Madison had been trying to defend the weaknesses of the constitution and clarify its strengths which were not strengths in the sight of the anti-federalists. Eventually, the federalists were able to persuade several of the anti-federalists too through their essays and papers. Among all the anti-federalist papers, Brutus 15 is a very important one. It is an antifederalist paper that hits on the weakness of the US constitution and the growing power of the government.
Forces such as immigration, the Populist Party and industrialization that led to the progressive era also impacted the American government both in its activeness and its democracy. Several of the concerns targeted for reform by the progressives were direct or indirect results of the great wave of immigration.
The United States struggled under the Articles of Confederation, able to declare war and foreign policy, but unable to collect revenue to sustain its actions. The Constitution was designed to give more power to the national government primarily by empowering it with the responsibilities of establishing and maintaining central banking and financial policies. The national government was able to ask for monies from the states, but was not able to enforce collections of those monies needed to sustain their actions. The thirteen states essentially had recently revolted against Britain and its heavy handed tactics of collecting revenue and were almost immediately being asked to ratify and accept changes that would allow the new government to enforce funding as well. Since most of the framers of the Constitution were considered prominent and financially secure, this left the farmers and trades persons of lower class and wealth with the impression of returning back to a heavy handed government
But, the colonists believed in actual representation, which was when someone from the colonies would represent them in Parliament. The colonists insisted that what the British were doing was taxation without representation. I believe that these very different views on actual and virtual representation, played a crucial role in the commencement of the Revolutionary War, giving birth to America as a democracy. Most colonists came from Great Britain but there were also large amounts that came from all over Europe, which then led to a wide variety of hostility toward one another. Many of the governments that they were
Checks and balances is when each branch of government has the ability to stop the other branches from doing things they do not agree with. “The consiant aim is to divide and arrange the several offices in such a manner as that they may be a check on the other” (Madison, 1788). Checks and balances gives each branch a power to prevent the other 2 branches from having too much power. Checks and balances is another way the constitution guards against tyranny. The final way the constitution guards against tyranny is through big states vs. small states.
As the founders were creating the Constitution, they feared a central government too weak but also one that was too strong. So the founders deliberately designed each branch of the government to have separate powers and the authority to check each other. The Legislative branch has the power to pass a federal law, impeach the President, override a Presidential veto, and creates
One of the major problems with the Articles of Confederation is that power was established state by state and limited power to a central government. The Constitution fixed this by balancing powers between the states and the Federal government. Also they created three branches of government: legislative, judiciary, and executive. Other solutions to the Articles of Confederation made by the Constitution were levying taxes by Congress, Congress having the right to control trade between states and countries, amendments became easier to ratify, and the executive branch had the power of checks and
Federalism is defined as the division of power between the federal and state governments. James Madison states, “In the compound republic of America, the power surrendered by the people is first divided between two distinct governments…” The federal government may have a more power than the state government but it still doesn’t have the full power. The responsibilities given to the federal government are called delegated powers and those include to regulate trade, coin money, raise an army/navy, declare war, make treaties, etc. Responsibilities given to the state governments are called reserved powers in which these powers are at a state/local level. Reserved powers include providing police and fire protection, establishing schools, hold elections, pass marriage and divorce laws, and regulating business within the state.