The Anti-Federalists Were Right!
I have been involved in a debate with another person who defends The Federalist Papers and our present Constitution. She characterizes the Anti-Federalist authors as merely trying to ditch the proposed Constitution and, if they had had their way, we would never have had a Constitution. This is a misguided framing of those authors’ intent. They were men who, like the authors of The Constitution, revered personal liberty and distrusted anything that might smack of tyranny. They also saw the Articles of Confederation as being lacking in any real power assigned to the Federal Government; teetering towards anarchy. Their criticism of the proposed Constitution was based on perceived loop holes in it that could in fact, in time, produce a tyrannous Federal Government. The delegates to the Constitutional Convention were sent there to repair the weak Articles of Confederation, not to discard it and come up with something else. My opponent asserts that had the Anti-Federalists won, we would have no Bill of Rights (their contribution) or any constitution whatsoever for that matter. This is what I deem as a false “doomsday” argument; where it was essential that the Constitution the Federalists gave us was to be adopted; lest we have nothing at all. I doubt very seriously that the Anti-Federalists would have rested after defeating the proposed Constitution with nothing offered in its place. She maintains that the Constitution has served us well for over 200 years. To that, I would agree. But, it is evident to any student of history that slowly but surely, after the ratification of the Constitution, the Federal Government has grown in its size and encroachment on its citizen’s personal liberties; to such a level that we are now at the point where we face a Federal Government threatening to curtail our 2nd Amendment rights or abolish them all together, while it arms its Social Security personnel (what do you suppose that is all about?). It looks to me that it is plain that the warnings of the Anti-Federalists about a Federal Government, as framed by The Constitution, would spiral towards one that was tyrannous was right after all and that States would end up with no real rights. What do you think?