The Federalists Vs. The Anti Federalists

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 Constitution, with regard to its democratic nature: the character of the judiciary and the process by which the executive is put into office. I will argue that federalist provide greater justification for why these two branches enumerated in the Constitution are indeed democratic (as examined through the Federalist view of republican government). First I will discuss how each side's view of "republican" government differs.The Constitution proposed by the Federal Convention in 1787 provided the basis for a strong national government. Elections to the House of Representatives were by the people directly, not the states, and the federal powers over taxes and the raising of armies were completely independent of the state governments. (pp. 71,73) This new form of federalism essentially produced a new form of republicanism, the large republic. James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, in writing the Federalist Papers, provide the strongest arguments in support of it. Federalist No. 10 justified the new form of republicanism, not only as the price of union but also as the republican remedy to the disease of majority faction, or majority tyranny. (pp. 85-86) Because the Federalists saw a major danger not from the increasing power of the ruling few, but from the tyranny of the majority, they sought to restrain the influence of that majority in order to secure individual rights and the permanent and collective interests of the community. 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 Rich...

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