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Ratification of the US Constitution - Essay Example

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Name Professor Course Date Ratification of the U.S. Constitution “I can not help expressing a wish that every member of the Convention who may still have objections to it, would with me, on this occasion doubt a little of his own infallibility, and to make manifest our unanimity, put his name to this instrument.” (Franklin, 1787) These were the words of Pennsylvania delegate Benjamin Franklin during the 1787 Constitutional Convention, when the Constitution was adopted…
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Ratification of the US Constitution
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Ratification of the US Constitution

Download file to see previous pages... Contemporary scholars describe this day as follows: “two hundred years ago, the United States Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation as the fundamental law of the land when New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the Constitution on June 21, 1788.” (McGuire and Ohsfeldt 219) At that juncture in American history, there were those who were against the idea of a federal government that would be able to exercise control and supervision over the States. Thus, there were two primary factions with divergent perspectives on the matter: the antifederalists and the federalists. Whilst the Constitutional Convention was ongoing, robust debates were also taking place in the streets, in townhalls and the like. The federalists had belonged to the higher classes in society, while the anti-federalists tended to belong to the middle to lower classes. The Federalists and the Anti-Federalists The federalists had for its representatives statemen and American heroes in the form of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, who were in large part responsible for galvanizing support for the federal state. In the minds of the federalists, a strong federal government and more united, integrated states would be more helpful and viable in attaining the interests of the American people. They also felt that it was a step above the Articles of Confederation. It was their belief that a weak union between the states will only make it vulnerable to external and even internal threats. The anti-federalists, on the other hand, were united by the view that the United States was such a large country and it would be difficult to unite and govern a country of the size and diversity as that. They also blamed the Federalists for “overreaching” – that is to say, exercising power in an excessive, if not despotic manner. They expressed a preference for local rule, saying that a federal government would only behave as though there was a monarchy. An important issue that the federalists raised was the lack of the bill of rights in the adopted Constitution. This was a major issue for the anti-federalists. For present day supporters like Nedelsky, (340), “the Anti-federalists argued for a polity in which the citizen stands in close relation to the State, in which active and responsible participation is a serious concern, and in which equality holds a very high place.” It was in fact because of the very valid issues on civil liberties raised by the Anti-federalists that the Amendments to the Constitution was introduced – an inviolable bill of rights articulating our cherished principles. The anti-federalists also felt that the Constitutional Convention overstepped its bounds when it adopted the Constitution. The only permission granted to the Convention was to amend the Articles of Confederation, not abolish them altogether to create a completely different Constitution. Interestingly, the Federalists were opposed to the Bill of Rights. According to them, since the government was in power through the mandate of the people and in order to represent them, it seemed illogical to establish a Bill of Rights to control government’s actions ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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