Categories
History

The Antifederalists

One problem with the argument that you are making is that Anti federalists were more about the power of the people than anything else. However, their concern was functionally in the Government not having as much say so in the powers and concerns of the state. During that time anti-federalists were more focused on expansion into Native American territory and other lands to extend the practice of slavery. The “people” that they were a concern about preserving the rights were for Anglo-Americans, not anyone else.

I agree that Anti federalists were correct in their assumptions on the relationship of power and humanity in efforts of contributing to the development of the Constitution for America, and the need for a Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights was essential in limiting the powers of the government and protecting minority and individual rights. “The Bill of Rights sought to protect the individual against abuses of the power of government, even if the government had the support of the majority.” (Volkomer 9) The Anti-federalists were right in their assumptions of the Government having too much power that they strategically begin to strip away liberties that people are entitled to. However, as the Federalists had argued about not wanting a Bill of Rights because they felt that listing of rights could be a problematic thing. If the national government were to protect specific listed rights, what would prevent the government from violating right that are not listed, or providing rights that people feel that they should be entitled to. Look at the cases that you presented, Gay Marriage and the recreational and medical use of marijuana. Although these rights are not listed about who can marry, the legality of gay marriage is being contested, and although passed on the state level about the right to smoke marijuana, it is not listed on the Bill of Rights, therefore should it not be honored if states votes for the right? Federalists believed since they could not list every right it is best not to list them at all. The state powers that Antifederalist wanted, have led to change on a larger scale, but also needed the intervention of the federal government to supersede their authority, in instances where state passed laws that stripped the rights of individuals based on race and gender, or abortion and voting rights that have been that have been in much debate. Much credit can be given to Anti federalists in providing support for the Bill of Rights which are central in our democracy, however, their focus on state rights and the role of government were flawed with failings of representation and the human nature.

References

Volkolmer, Walter. (2011). American Government.14 Edition. Longman.