The Battle Over States Rights
The Framers of the Constitution had the large job of producing a new government, different from the Articles Of Confederation, that would unite a newly born country, freed from the tyrant King of England. This government have to appease both sides and resemble a working model that showed potential and showed promise that the recent chain of events would never happen, or have to happen again. However, the main problem with creating a new "Constitution" is the necessity to negotiate and create a government so large and flexible, that discrepancy would not arise and people would still be able to exercise those very freedoms that they fought for. The major conflict, which would eventually lead to Civil War, was where the power rested between States and the National Government.
The Anti-federalists believed that the central government needed more power than it had under the Articles of Confederation, but they argued that the Framers of the Constitution had gone too far. The became adamant against the amount of political power given to the national government and feared that the centralized government proposed by the Framers would lead to a new kind of tyranny. As George Clinton stated in his arguments against the destruction of States rights:
"From this picture, what can you promise yourself, on the score of consolidation of the United States into one government? Impracticability in the just exercise of it, your freedom insecure... you risk much, by indispensably placing trusts of the greatest magnitude, into the hands of individuals whose ambition for power, and aggrandizement, will oppress and grind you Â where from the vast extent of your territory, and the complication of interests, the science of government will become intricate and perplexed, and too mysterious for you to understand and observe; and by which you are to be conducted into a monarchy, either limited or despotic..."
They viewed the Constitution is a corrupt document without a Bill of Rights protecting the people"˜s individual freedoms. Thomas Jefferson, when drafting the Bill of Rights would ask for a bill to include the freedom of speech and of the press freedom to resist the quartering of troops within homes, the right to a trial by a jury of one\'s peers, freedom against warrants for search and seizure the and freedom of each man to follow his own conscience in religious matters. Only the several states can judge the interests and requirements of their component regions, not a large government in one area. They also believed that any system of representation which assigns a value to the Negro is unfair; property should not be counted for representation. And finally, they believed that the Federal legislature is designed as an aristocratically institution, determined to steal the political prerogative of the people. Congress should not have the power to meddle in the commerce of the states, neither in trading nor shipping.
However, the Federalists believed that what they had drafted in the Constitution was near
perfection. It provided a strong, yet basic structure which laid down the framework for the new nation. It provided for the good of the large and the small, and seem to fit within each state's needs. The Federalists had more faith in it's government and less faith in it"˜s people without a strong
centralized government. A federal government can provide for the common defense, raise revenue in time of war, and treat with other nations more effectively than might a confederation. They believed that, the people cannot govern themselves, nor protect their collective rights, without a strong central government. A representative few must guard against the confusions of the multitude and only a strong central government can ensure that states participate in the general good. A single executive, or the president, would govern much more efficiently than multiple executives from different states. It would further guard against corruption within the Government. With this Constitution, the Federalists believed that it protected the public good and did not need a Bill or Rights as an independent judiciary to secure the rights of all. To prevent the "ignorant masses" from "gumming up the works" the Electoral College protected the people from those who vote
Consequently, each side believed that if the other were to succeed, mass chaos would occur. The Anti-Federalists believed that too much power would go to the national government and eventually, it would mirror the English government they had just fought against. However, the Federalists believed that without a strong government, complete and utter anarchy and the State would never be united.