Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists Big Idea



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Name: _______________________________ Date: ______________________ Period: ____________
Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists
Big Idea: The struggle between centralized and decentralized authority creates tension that drives conflict and compromise
Essential Question: Who is right—the Anti-Federalists or Federalists? In your view, which level of government—national or state—is more likely to protect and enhance America’s core ideals?
In September of 1787, the delegates to the Convention in Philadelphia presented their work to the American public for ratification. The proposed Constitution marked a clear departure from the Articles of Confederation, which had essentially established a federal “league of friendship” between thirteen sovereign and largely independent states. Under the newly proposed plan of government, the union between the states would be strengthened under a national government that derived its authority—at least in part—directly from the American people rather than purely from the state legislatures. And under the new Constitution, the people would be represented equally in the House, regardless of the state in which they lived—unlike the Articles of Confederation, according to which the Continental Congress equally represented the states. In other words, the proposed Constitution would make the United States a nation of one people rather than a loose confederation of states.

Despite the progress made to rewrite Articles of Confederation it still needed to be ratified (approved) by the state governments. Delegates from all thirteen states would debate whether or not to approve the proposed Constitution. The debate played out in newspapers across the country between Anti-Federalists who opposed the new Constitution and the Federalists who supported it. One of the major issues discussed between the two sides was the powers given to the national and state governments. Since the Articles of Confederation had failed primarily because it gave too much power to the state governments many delegates wanted the new government to have a strong central government. However, there was still plenty of fear about a strong central government becoming an abusive power.

The solution was a government system based on the concept of federalism . In other words, power would be shared between the national and state (local) governments. Both the national and state governments would have certain explicit (clear) powers as well as concurrent (shared) powers between them. The opposite of this system of government is a centralized government, such as in France and Great Britain, where the national government maintains all power.


  1. What is federalism? How is it a compromise between the debate of state and national governments?


  1. Brainstorm some powers that the national and state governments had.



National

State



Both


Federalists v Anti-Federalists

Directions: Determine whether the following statements are Federalist (supporting the Constitution) or Anti-Federalist (in opposition to the Constitution). Place an “F” on the line for Federalists and an “A” for Anti-Federalists


Issue

Federalists

Anti-Federalists

Who Should Govern?



  • Believed that the common people acted foolishly and could not be trusted with too much power

  • Elite, educated people should be in charge

  • Deep faith in the common people, especially the farmer




National vs. State Government?




  • Favored a weak central government and stronger state governments

How to Protect Peoples’ Rights?



  • Thought a Bill of Rights was unnecessary, because the power to give freedoms implies the power to take them away

  • Thought the system of “check and balances” of power would prevent any person or group of people from taking peoples’ rights away

  • Thought a Bill of Rights guaranteeing specific rights to people was 100% essential

  • Believed the government could ignore peoples freedoms, such as freedom of speech and of religion, unless they were specifically protected

Support or Oppose the Constitution?



  • Did not support the Constitution

  • Believed the Constitution would serve the interests of a privileged minority at the expense of the majority of everyday people

Economic Issues?



  • Wanted a balanced economy of agriculture, trade, finance, and manufacturing

  • Wanted to be able to tax

  • Agriculture should be the backbone of the nation

  • Worried that a strong government would tax everyday people too much

Who Do You Get Support From?






  1. __________ The public good cannot be promoted effectively with the state governments sovereign (independent), for example, look at the tax/credit problems.




  1. __________ The Constitution equally divides power between the general government and the state governments.




  1. __________ The powers of government are too heavily weighted in favor of the general government and against the state governments.




  1. __________ The Constitution does not specifically protect the rights of the people allowing a national government to ignore these rights.




  1. __________ If we remain an alliance of independent states, the Union will constantly fight.




  1. __________ A large republic as established under the constitution could more successfully elect proper representatives of natural rights and therefore control the negative effects of various groups.




  1. __________ The Constitution grants too much power to the executive branch.




  1. __________ Government must be trusted in the hands of the common man in order to properly represent their interests.




  1. __________ The Constitution has provided a checks and balances system by which no one department can control or dominate the others thus preventing the possibility of a dominate ruler




  1. __________ Under the Constitution we will lose what we fought for in the Revolution.

Historical Head

Federalist

Directions: Using the information from the chart above fill in the historical head with at least 5 words and/or images that represent the goals of a Federalist. You can draw images, use symbols or look for images online. Number each item. On the bottom of the page, write a corresponding explanation of each item, why you chose it and how it reflects the views of a Federalist, Make your head colorful and eye-catching and your explanation accurate and convincing.

http://www.nga.gov/feature/shaw/img-gen/s-head.gif

Explanation:

  1. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________




  1. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________




  1. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________




  1. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________




  1. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Historical Head

Anti-Federalist

Directions: Using the information from the chart above fill in the historical head with at least 5 words and/or images that represent the goals of an Anti-Federalist. You can draw images, use symbols or look for images online. Number each item. On the bottom of the page, write a corresponding explanation of each item, why you chose it and how it reflects the views of a Federalist, Make your head colorful and eye-catching and your explanation accurate and convincing.

http://www.nga.gov/feature/shaw/img-gen/s-head.gif

Explanation:

  1. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________




  1. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________




  1. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________




  1. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________




  1. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________






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