Federalists and Anti-Federalists
The creation of the Constitution entailed hours of debate and compromise, and even when it was completed, some delegates were unhappy with it. The task of fixing the ailing Confederate government was not complete yet; each state had to ratify, or approve, the Constitution. Basically, people divided into two groups, the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists. Each of their viewpoints is worth examining, as they both have sound reasoning.
The Anti-Federalists did not want to ratify the Constitution. Basically, they argue that:
Of these complaints, the lack of a bill of rights was the most effective. The American people had just fought a war to defend their rights, and they did not want a intimidating national government taking those rights away again. The lack of a bill of rights was the focus of the Anti-Federalist campaign against ratification.
The Federalists, on the other hand, had answers to all of the Anti-Federalist complaints. Among them:
Overall, the Federalists were more organized in their efforts. By June of 1788, the Constitution was close to ratification. Nine states had ratified it, and only one more (New Hampshire) was needed. To achieve this, the Federalists agreed that once Congress met, it would draft a bill of rights. Finally, New York and Virginia approved, and the Constitution was a reality. Interestingly, the Bill of Rights was not originally a part of the Constitution, and yet it has proved to be highly important to protecting the rights of the people.
Copyright © 1997 Jonathan Chin & Alan Stern