The debate concerning constitutional ratification was one of the most significant in the American history. The discussion led to the emergence of Federalists and Anti-Federalists groups. While Federalists advocated for constitutional ratification to embrace a powerful national republic, Anti-Federalists were against constitution ratification in favor of the small regional government. Even though both parties differed on whether a powerful national government would destroy or preserve Americans’ liberty, today’s constitution is based upon their ideas.
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The Federalists advocated for a strong national government with three executive branches which provided a balance and check system to strengthen the national government. They included the executive, whose function was to oversee and implement the law, the legislature, to formulate rules, and the judicial, to interpret the law and administer justice. The Anti-Federalists, on the other hand, lacked a united position on the better form of government, preferring the existing structure provided in the Articles of Confederation with a weak national government without an executive and with a single-house legislature.
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The USA Constitution reflects the Federalist plan for a stronger national government balancing power among the massive state and small states by creating two legislative houses as well as dividing power between three branches of government (Goelzhauser et al., 2019). The Constitution also reflects the judicial Federalist plan as the Supreme Court and judicial branches can declare presidential activities unconstitutional through judicial review. The president also checks the power of judicially through appointments power, which can change federal court directions.
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According to Federalists, the federal government has restricted power over all states since they have control within their boundaries. However, state power is restricted too as they cannot pass laws that contradict those of the federal government. On the contrary, Anti-Federalists believed that the robust national government will have unlimited power over state government and would influence sovereignty of state governments.
Federalists and Anti-Federalists articulate their argument through cautiously reasoned essays written by the great experts in political theory of those days. Federalist wrote their essays under the collective pseudonym Publius, while Anti-Federalist papers were written by authors under pseudonyms Cato and Brutus (Henry et al., 2020). Other essays included The Columbian Patriot, Federal Farmers, and other critics of the constitution. All these essays initially appeared in the local dailies, and most were later printed in books and pamphlets.
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Based on my academic understanding of federalism, I would align myself with Federalists. The contemporary government taking the federalist plans is more advanced than the government that the Articles of Confederation established. The Anti-Federalists had no idea on the right form of government though they accepted that the Articles of Confederation had some weaknesses (Totten et al., 2020). The Anti-Federalists advocated for a weaker national government because they felt that a strong national government would behave like British tyranny.
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The federalist accomplishments are outstanding as the party systematized the abiding administrative machinery of the central government. Moreover, it fixed the liberal practice of constitution interpretation and created a federal fiscal tradition with credit and integrity worthiness. However, the Anti-Federalists’ arguments were not in vain as they led to the establishments of the bill of rights in the constitution outlining the human rights of all citizens.
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