Ratification of the Constitution Final Project Essay

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Pages: 8

Ratification of the Constitution

Many people believe that after the Constitution was drafted at the Constitutional
Convention, the document was approved of immediately and a federal government emerged.
However, they could not be any more incorrect. Many Americans at the time would have been
unwilling to approve the Constitution in 1787. There were two perspectives of the Constitution.
The two sides were led by different men, and had two very different perspectives of the
Constitution and what America would be if the citizens were to follow it or not. The Federalists,
those who supported the Constitution, strongly believed in the idea of a new federal government.
Those against the Constitution, Anti­Federalists, were against the idea of a federal government
and were certain that the government would be the death of American liberty (Cayton 144).

For and Against: Federalists and Anti­Federalists
Those for the Constitution were called Federalists because they supported the concept of
a federal government. All Federalists were Nationalists, men who worked to make the national
government stronger to counterbalance what they saw as the unpredictable behavior of the states,
but not all Nationalists were Federalists (Cayton 130). The Federalist leaders included
Washington, Madison and Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton, who had left the Convention in
disgust, believed that the COnstitution must be ratified even if it did include some ideas that he
disagreed with. In fact, Hamilton, Madison and another Nationalist from New York, John Jay,
wrote a series of eighty­five essays called
The Federalist
. The papers explained the need for the
Constitution and how the federal government would work. They called for “a republican
empire,” not referring to a political party but a government by the people (Cayton 144).

Since the country was rather large, Madison wrote that no one faction would be able to
control the government in
The Federalist
Number Ten. Rather, the United States would referee
the conflict of interests that could not be avoided in a democracy. Madison argued that the
federal government was not to prevent regional or economic or religious interests from fighting
with each other, but in keeping any one of them from getting the upper hand for too long (Cayton
144). He stated in
Federalist Papers
Number Ten, that “... the public good is disregarded in the
conflicts of rival parties, and that measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of
justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and
overbearing majority.”
John Jay, another Federalists, wrote to George Washington a letter that stated, “... during
the war [referring to the War of Independence]. Then we had a fixed object, and though the
means and time of obtaining it were often problematical, yet I did firmly believe we should
ultimately succeed, because I was convinced that justice was with us. The case is now altered;
we are going and doing wrong, and therefore I look forward to evils and calamities, but without
being able to guess at the instrument, nature, or measure of them.” he feared that without the
Constitution, the country will be at a worse condition than it was during the War of
Independence. He believed that at the very least, during the war, the Americans had a common
goal and stood together to strive for something just. During the post­convention epoch,
Americans no longer have moral standards since there is not federal government to enforce any
strict laws.
However, not every American concurred with the Federalists. The Anti­Federalists were
certain that the new government would destroy the individual liberty of American citizens. They

were led by older revolutionary figures, such as Patrick Henry of Virginia, and had widespread
support in the areas that had less commerce, particularly the lands distant from the Atlantic
Ocean and major rivers.…