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 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.