The History of Federalists and Anti-Federalists

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Travel back to the time July 4, 1776, to the thirteen colonies of North America, the day they signed the Declaration of Independence freeing them from Great Britain's rein. It couldn't get better, could it? Everything seemed fine, but there was an underlying issue. In 1787 the Constitution of the thirteen colonies was ratified, stating the basic laws for each citizen and establishing their national government. The issue is that not everyone agreed with what the Constitution stood for therefore creating two different parties, the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists.

Who are the Anti-Federalists? Led by James Monroe, Thomas Jefferson, and Samuel Adams, the Anti-Federalist party opposed the ratification of the Constitution. Made up of mostly farmers, this party was strongly supported by rural areas. Together they all had one common goal: don't allow the national government to get out of hand corrupting the land and seizing power from local government like Great Britain had. The Anti-Federalists believed in a strong state and local government. One of their concerns is the President's ability to veto anything proposed by the legislative government. Intimidated by the power of the national government, Anti-Federalists feared that elites would take over the local court systems and legislative government leading to them not truly knowing who they were putting in as their representatives. They felt that the Constitution did not protect the citizens' individual liberties therefore opposing its ratification. In 1789 James Madison submitted twelve amendments addressing the disapproval the Anti-Federalists had. All of them but two were ratified in 1791. Today this is known as the Bill of Rights. This leads to their opposing party, the Federalists.

The Federalist party was led by Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, and John Jay who strongly supported the ratification of the Constitution. This party had strong support from urban areas where the elites dominated. Believing in a strong national government, the Federalists felt that the Articles of Confederation were too weak to base a government off of. Pushing for a new and improved Constitution, the Federalists got what they wanted. In 1787 the Constitution of the thirteen colonies was ratified. The party was focused on managing debt and tensions after the Revolutionary War leading to a major emphasis on banking, commerce, and national institutions. This was fitting for a young nation, but this made the party unpopular. They thought that the government's spending and revenue collection would lead to economic struggle and national weakness. The Federalist Party started to lose steam after John Adams wasn't reelected for a second term in 1801. By 1828 the Federalist party was essentially dead as its focus on commerce and national institutions was not supported by those who worked for the land or worried about the state influence.

In my opinion both parties did great things for our country, but personally I stand with the Anti-Federalist party. I felt as if this party supported the individual needs of the people and states where as the Federalist party just feared failure. Together they created a system of checks and balances preventing a certain branch of our government from becoming out of control which is crucial to the structure of our government today. The Anti-Federalist party contributed to our Constitution by pushing for the protection of a citizen's individual rights getting ten amendments ratified other wise known as the Bill of Rights. I related to their fear of the elites taking over key roles in the legislative government to the point where they didn't know who was representing them or what they stood for. Most of all I understood them, together they fought not only for the rights of each citizen but for the creativity and individuality of one another. Thomas Jefferson one of the leaders of the Anti-Federalist party said something about being part of the Anti-Federalist party that truly spoke to me, You say that I have been dished up to you as an Anti-Federalist, and ask if it be just. My opinion was never worthy enough of merit citing, but since you ask it, I will tell it to you, I'm not a Federalist because I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else, where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all. Therefore, I am not a party of the Federalists. He would prefer to have his own personal opinion and be respected of it than be subjected to a group where it isn't worth even telling, I personally feel the same way. This just leaves one question. Which party do you stand by and why?


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The History of Federalists and Anti-Federalists. (2019, Dec 31). Retrieved July 17, 2024 , from

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