The Federalists Vs. The Anti Federalists Essay

1367 words - 6 pages

When deciding whether the Constitution better embodied the American commitment to democracy (republicanism), or whether it produced a greater compromise to it, one must define the nature of a republican government. Both the Federalist and Anti-Federalist set forth their distinctive views on the quality of representational government, but it was James Madison and Alexander Hamilton vision I feel was the most correct. By accepting their view, it is clear that they propose the best arguments for why the Constitution establishes a greater democratic state then the Articles of Confederation. In their opposing arguments, Samuel Adams and Richard Henry Lee see the two distinctive problems with the ...view middle of the document...

Such restraint was to be achieved through a large extended sphere, i.e. the constituencies of the federal government. These would be larger and more diverse than the constituencies of the states, and so would make majority tyranny more difficult, since more negotiation and compromise would be needed for any single faction to become part of a majority. Similarly, the increased competition for office would produce better representatives and a more effective administration throughout the government. Madison understood republican government to require only that offices of government be filled directly or indirectly by popular vote. (pp. 87) Furthermore, the representation of the people was satisfied by the fact of election, regardless of the contrast between the wealth and influence of the elected and the electorate. Samuel Adams and Richard Henry Lee (Anti-Federalists) believed that to maintain the character of republican government, which was the best defense against tyranny, individuals needed to know one another, be familiar with their governments, and have some direct experience in government. (pp.125) Only then would the citizenry possess a genuine love of country, which is the essence of republican, or civic, virtue. (pp. 126) The Anti-Federalists supported the then traditional view of republican government, reflected in the first state constitutions, which emphasized the legislative branch of government. With the first federal constitution, the Articles of Confederation, the states, through their legislatures, retained control of federal men and federal measures. The delegates to Congress were chosen by the state legislatures and were subject to being recalled. The federal power to raise taxes and armies not only required a vote of nine states, but, even after such a vote, it depended on state requisitions, which meant that the federal government depended on the good will of the states to execute the law. (pp. 53) Because the Anti-Federalists emphasized participation in government, they argued that a small territory and a basically homogeneous population were necessary for a notion of the public good to be agreed upon. The Anti- Federalists did not insist that every citizen exercise legislative power. But they did emphasize representation of the people in the legislatures and on juries. By "representation" they meant that the number of people in a legislative district must be small enough and the number of districts large enough so that the citizens will know the people they are voting for and be able to elect one of their own-one of the "middling class."(pp.125)Though the Anti-Federalists felt a stronger form of government was needed, they saw the Constitution contained too much of an aristocratic character, mostly in respect to the Congress. They saw both the Senate and Judiciary branch (supreme court) lacking a democratic nature. In the article (article 1 section 3) referring to the appointment of Senators it states that...

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