Federalists and the Anti-Federalists

Over the next few weeks we will be examining the new nation’s attempts to form a strong and lasting federal government. This week we looked closely at the development of state constitutions and the Articles of Confederation, which was eventually replaced by the Constitution after considerable debate. After the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia, the nation’s new Constitution had to be ratified by the states. The debate over ratification became very heated, especially in New York. This led to a spirited exchange of short essays between the Federalists, who promoted the new Constitution, and the Anti-Federalists, who put forward a variety of objections to the proposed new government. Project 3 addresses the Federalist/Anti-Federalist debate as preparation for further analysis in the Final Essays in Module 8. This week, you will examine the arguments presented by the Federalists and Anti-Federalists and answer a series of questions about their arguments. This will prepare you for the Final Exam in which you will construct a fictional debate between a Federalist and an Anti-Federalist. Begin by completing the assigned readings for Module 6 and then reading these excerpts from the Federalist Papers. Then, answer these questions in approximately 200-300 words each, using evidence from the excerpts to support your points: Federalist Paper #1 states that “History will teach us. . . .” What does the author tell us history will teach us and why? Federalist Paper #10 lays out the causes and effects of factions. What are the causes, what are the effects, and how does he propose to control the effects? Federalist Paper #51 states, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” What does this statement mean? How is this statement used to justify the division of powers? Federalist Paper #84 states that a bill of rights in the Constitution is not necessary. How does the author back up this claim, and how does he distinguish between the Constitution and previous documents like the “Magna Charta” (Magna Carta)? Next, read these excerpts from the Anti-Federalist Papers. Then answer these questions in 200-300 words each: Anti-Federalist Paper #1 states that “The PEOPLE are the grand inquest who have a RIGHT to judge of its merits.” According to the author, who is trying to prevent this and why? Anti-Federalist Paper #9 uses satire to present the perspective of the Federalists, or those who consider themselves better than the “rabble.” Why do they take this tactic? How do they present the Federalist’s supposed view of the average citizen? Anti-Federalist Paper #46 asks, “Where then is the restraint? How are Congress bound down to the powers expressly given?” What makes the Anti-Federalists think that Congress has too much power? How does the proposed Bill of Rights play into this? Anti-Federalist Paper #84 states that the Constitution needs to be “founded on a declaration or bill of rights.” Why do the Anti-Federalists think this is so vital?

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