Arguments and Opposition to the Constitution Essays

Words: 978
Pages: 4

Use your knowledge of the era of 1785-1788 and the documents provided to answer the following question:
What were the major arguments that surfaced in opposition to the new Constitution proposed in 1787? How did supporters of the Constitution counter those arguments?

Previous attempts to change the Articles of Confederation had failed because the approval of every state was required. There was often one or more recalcitrant member of the union. For example, Rhode Island even refused to take part in the framing; opposition to a new constitution was certainly formidable. Consequently, the Convention discarded the provision of unanimous approval and adopted the notion that the new Constitution would pass with only the approval of nine
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They argued that the American states were loyal to their state governments and would be distrustful of a strong central government. They noted that the Constitution proposal lacked limitations to the government’s power. Anti- Federalists, as the opposition became known, advocated the continuation of state governments because they came with a guarantee on the limitation of power. Anti-Federalists maintained the notion that such a centralized government would not voice the interests of the people. It was written to the Pennsylvania Convention that the Constitution did not protect from the ‘scourge of tyrants’ and eliminated the liberty of the people. George Clinton argued in In Opposition to Destruction of States’ Rights that, “As an intuitive truth… a consolidated republican form of government… can never form a perfect union.” Anti-Federalists were afraid that Congress, nearly unlimited under the Constitution, would use their powers unfairly and tax all the property of the citizens. Finally, the opponents of the ratification of the Constitution were upset by the lack of a Bill of Rights promising trial by jury, freedom of the press, and rights of conscience. They stated that the Federalist argument about these rights being in state constitutions was null and void. They countered with the fact that the Constitution, as they had seen so far, overpowered the state constitutions in all