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Megan Hartnett

Ms. Lane & Mrs. Ard
American Studies
Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists
During the debate over ratifying the Constitution and the Bill of Rights two groups of people got
together to discuss what was best for the nation. There were the Federalists who stood for the
Constitution and there were the Anti-Federalists who stood for the Bill of Rights. Both gave a good
argument and offered great ideas. Although, the Federalists proved to have the best interest for the
nation by balancing the government, protecting the nation, and securing basic foundation.
They wanted to balance the government because the anti-federalists talked about the high class
people having too much power and control. Which is why the government would be separated into
different branches so neither would have too much power. The branches would split the tasks and make
sure that none of branches did anything too bizarre. That also made sure that if one branch was trying
to gain more power, the other two branches would step in and balance it out once again.
Along with balancing the government, another reason the Federalists wanted to ratify the
Constitution was to protect the nation as a whole. If we were all separated into different factions then
other countries might see us as weak. Also if we wanted to trade with other countries it would be easier
to do it as one nation. The anti-federalists thought that if we were one country then the citizens
wouldn’t get a say in what they wanted and the government would take advantage of them. The
Federalists then told them that the Constitution shared the same ideas as the Bill of Rights and would
regulate the power of the government over the people.
While they wanted to protect the nation they also wanted to secure a basic foundation. They
didn’t like the idea of being all over the place and not having structure. They wanted a document that
everyone would follow so nobody could defy the system without paying the consequences. They
thought it was fair if we all followed the same rules and if the rules were broken then the people who
broke them had to deal with the consequences. The Anti-Federalists might refer back to being
controlled and not knowing what the laws would consist of until after the laws were made, but the rules
would be in the constitution and the government would explain what each law was before they passed
As you can see both sides share solid points, and there were many more. Overall the Federalists
showed the most concern in making the nation the best it could be. They showed how ratifying the
constitution could benefit everyone by balancing the government, protecting the nation, and securing
basic foundation. There will always be people who disagree and that is a good thing, otherwise we
wouldn’t notice the flaws in our own ideas.