Federalist/Antifederalist Discussion

Based on your readings in the text, especially in chapter two, you should have noted the arguments between the Federalists and the anti-Federalists in relation to the ratification of the Constitution.  Some of the general arguments and beliefs of the two sides are summarised in the chart attached below.  Please post your responses to this chart.

Please state whether you find the arguments and beliefs of one side to be more persuasive than the other, and why.  Please try to elaborate and use examples to make your point clear.

The length should be more than 250 words. You should be able to summarize your initial thoughts in a few paragraphs.  Feel free to use examples to make a point.  We have no shortage in recent news, or you can draw on other areas to illustrate your point. There is no right answer. What I am looking for is simply your own evaluations of the two positions.

Federalists (Democratic) Republicans

View of Man man’s dominant interest is self-

interest; the key is to turn this self- interest to an advantage (reasoning in Federalist #10)

man has corrupt elements, but

reason triumphs: “Nature has implanted in our breasts a love of others, a sense of duty to them, a moral instinct” – T. Jefferson

View of ‘The People’ distrusted the masses somewhat: “people are turbulent and changing,

they seldom judge or determine right” – A. Hamilton

public education and free government enables people to

make good choices in elections

Major fear instability/anarchy: Tyranny of the Majority/people; mobs looting,

burning mortgages (Shay’s rebellion) and intimidating people; business

cannot thrive in this environment

domination: distrusted the powerful few – those who are

in office are a bigger threat; feared an “elected king”

View of government government can be a positive thing, especially in helping the economy to grow; wanted to strengthen the

national government to assure freedom, secure property & guarantee independence

a necessary evil which needs to be limited and constantly monitored and reviewed

View of States state’s rights were divisive, used to promote loca l self interests

states should have all the powers not immediately necessary to the national government

View of the Constitution

broad interpretation, so the government will have enough power to keep order

narrow interpretation, lest the government have unrestricted power

View of economy saw the U.S. as a potential great power, but needed to have a steady,

unif ied country and a s table economy; wanted taxes raised and

war debts paid to create a powerful trading state

didn’t disagree, but tended to look west at the agricultural

potential of the undeveloped lands, since most people would make living in agriculture

View of democracy distrusted direct democracy; pragmatic businessmen (who called

for the Constitutional Convention in 1787)

believed in wisdom of the people; idealists?

View of the future future in trade, large companies, commerce & trade/mercantilism; urban society

small, independent land owners; rural society

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