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The creation of the constitution took a lot of time of debate and conciliation, and even upon completion, some delegates were still discontented. The duty of fixing the ailing Confederate government was not yet complete and therefore every state had to push for ratification of the constitution. Basically people divided into two groups, the Federalist and the Anti-federalists but all the same their viewpoint is worth examining since both of them have sound reasoning. Those who were against the ratification of the constitution were the anti-federalists. The views represented by the Federalists and anti-Federalists were totally varied as they had problems with the constitution but anti-Federalists were of the view to help ratification process which was not bound to happen without the Bills of Rights.
Comparing the Federalists and Anti-Federalists
As a result of American Revolution, the U.S. was free of British control following the document of Confederation. Many people agreed that the Article of Confederation there was not enough power to the central government but too much power was vested in the State government. Following this Article, the Philadelphia Convention was called in Philadelphia during the summer of 1787. But later as a result of the birth of the US constitution, it came with the Federalists and anti-Federalists opposition (Garry, 2001).
The Federalist believed that the only way to achieve just in the society was through constitution. They were also the wealthiest peoples whose profession was lawyers and their supporters were also educated and propertied personalities. Federalists pushed for the constitution to be amended in case it had parts that could not work. This was clearly unworkable since the constitution was written by the Federalists and they could amend it in their favor. In Philadelphia, Federalists were basically the rich people who thought that constitution provided strong central government by the people which is partly true. One of the Federalist’s major beliefs was at the Philadelphia convention was that states were to vote in accordance to their populace which later became an issue according to the anti-Federalists and individuals from smaller states. Federalists also pushed for the creation of the executive branch of the government with long term of office and unlimited term for politicians. According to Federalists, the Bill of Rights was not required in the ratification of the constitution and it therefore became clear that will all such little things the Federalists were interested in taking power by trying to keep people with the similar opinion (Bruce, 1999).
In charge of the Federalists were a rich lawyer from British West Indies called Alexander Hamilton. Just like many Federalists, Hamilton believed that in strong central government that gave them so much powers. The work in the Federalist Paper was one of their contributions (James Madison and John Jay). Basically, this was propaganda to pull people in favor of Federalists thoughts and he also fought for the ratification of the constitution (Bruce, 1999).
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In opposition of the Federalists were the anti-Federalists who later became to be known as the Republicans and the Democratic Republicans. There were the individuals who were strongly opposed to the United States constitution since they preferred a strong state government instead of strong central government. They purported that if the central government was strong it would threaten people’s liberty, right to life, and pursuit of happiness. Those people who were poor made up the anti-Federalists. They were the people who proposed that individuals should vote directly and insisted that the right to life of every citizen be protected (Bruce, 1999). The anti-Federalist was made up of all sorts of people although the Federalists were only from the upper class and they also presented the United States’ populace as a whole as compared to Federalists. When it came to the manner in which the government must be run, anti-Federalists wanted a complete different ideology from the Federalists ideologies. They wanted their power to be vested under the legislature, mainly the lower house where every state had a single vote. Anti-Federalists also wanted the terms of office to be shorter, with limits of how many terms one could serve and the officials were not to be elected by representatives but rather directly by the citizens of the United States of America.
The only way the anti-Federalists would ever consider the ratification process was if at all it contained a Bill of Rights which according to them was vital in protecting the rights and liberties of the common people. They insisted that without the Bill of rights, the government was likely to control all people just like a tyranny. Anti-Federalists believed that the Constitution without the Bill of Rights was just a tool for the upper class against the poor people. Propaganda played a very essential role generally in the Fight between the Federalists and the anti-Federalists.
The war between the two groups began in a speech and local newspapers when three of the Federalists: Hamilton, Madison and Jay wrote a Federalist paper in 1788. There were a total of 85 Federalist Papers and their major purpose was to aid in ratification of the Constitution. This was where the three Federalists and the greatest propagandists of time documented their interest. In the Federalist paper, Jay, Madison, and Hamilton lay it right on the table the first document that began "After an unequivocal experience of the inefficiency of the subsisting federal government, you are called upon to deliberate on a new Constitution for the United States of America." It was evident that all through the paper Hamilton tried to reiterate that if we don’t ratify the Constitution; people might be forced to run a Confederate form of government which could not work under the Article of Confederation. He was trying to beam his propaganda in the minds of the people without causing havoc (Garry, 2001).
Anti-Federalists also had their papers that opposed the Federalists papers and in their papers they cried that the constitution was not the right way to go and they opposed its ratification as well. Some of those who wrote the papers included: James Winthrop, George Clinton, John Dewit, and Patrick Henry and therefore the anti-Federalist paper had several names accompanied a range of views. Even though the two sides had views against and for the constitution, they were geared towards a single goal and the main objective was to form a government that was capable of running the country. This was the reason that made both the Federalists and the anti-Federalists to come to terms and formed the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights was the first ten amendments of the constitution. This was the document that was demanded by the anti-Federalists in places such as the Rhodes Island, New York, and Massachusetts where the ratification battle was unclear (Garry, 2001).
Those included in the Bill of Rights were: the freedom of speech, right to deny refuge by soldiers, trial by jury, the right to presentation and speedy trial, the rights to always have rights, the right to bear arm, no cruelty and unusual punishment, innocent until proven guilty, and the right for state to govern as specified by the constitution. This meant that so much power was given to the people and in case the ratification of the constitution was to be, then it could have meant that the central government could have gotten away with all these things (Bruce, 1999).
In summary, the anti-Federalists were not for the ratification of the constitution since they had opposing view as compared to Federalists; they wrote the anti-Federalist paper which never supported the Federalist papers and felt that the Bill of Rights was essential in the constitution. Federalist did not write so much of the constitution for the country since they wrote it for themselves and without the Bill of Rights the government would most likely turn to be a Tyranny instead of a Republic. Finally, Thomas Jefferson best concluded when he said, "I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."
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