The Constitution came out to a world full of criticism. To put to sleep many of the objections that the critics had to the Constitution a number of those in favor of it such as Hamilton, Madison and John Jay wrote the Federalist. While there were many arguments for the Constitution, there were two that played a major part in American life.
The first major argument was that the powers of the government came directly or indirectly from the common people. The second argument stated that to keep the government in check there is a series of checks and balances that will not let one branch of government gain too much control. Hamilton, Madison, and Jay put forth many of the arguments in support of the Constitution, but these two stood out more than the rest.
In more depth, the first argument states that the government is directly related to the common people. The powers of the government come from ordinary powers or the common people and these ordinary powers have the ability to make changes in the government. The Constitution was designed in a manner as to protect the people of the nation both at the time the Constitution was produced and up to a time that the government might be destroyed. The protection of the people and their ordinary powers is achieved by allowing the citizens under the constitution to alter the government that the Constitution set up. The House of Representatives for example derives its powers from the people of America – the House is set up in such a manner that the people of America have a direct part in the government. The involvement of the people in government was a crucial argument in support of the Constitution, for it stated that the government would for the most part move in a direction derived by the populous of America.
The second argument put forth by Hamilton, Madison and Jay was that the Constitution set up a form of checks and balances to protect the people from the government. Under the Constitution, three major branches were created the legislative, the executive, and the judicial branch. The legislature creates laws, the executive executes the laws and the judicial branch interprets the laws. With each branch having different powers no one branch can be tainted and then abuse its governmental powers. The statement of the checks and balances answered the concern that the government would become too powerful. With checks and balances, the government can only become as powerful as the people will allow. This fundamental plan also creates safeguards against the event of a president becoming a dictator. The argument about the system of checks and balances proves to be a system designed to protect the people of America from the government.
These arguments provide for the security of the government and the people under the Constitution. Hamilton, Madison and Jay under the Federalist were showing that the government is run for the people and that they are directly involved in the governmental process. They also answered the concern that the government may become too large as restriction occurs through the system of checks and balances. The idea of the Federalist pamphlet was to put to rest many of the Anti-federalist concerns with the Constitution. The two major arguments made showed that the Constitution was in support of the masses of America.
A republican form of government uses representatives to represent the people of America in the government. The argument against a republican form of government stands on one key principle that the people of America are not capable of being run directly or indirectly by the common people. A firm believer in the Constitution and the form of government it creates, Hamilton would be for a republican form of government. James Madison who is often called the father of the Constitution counters the argument against the republican form of government.
The argument against a republican form of government hit a major cord with many of the prominent citizens. Many were afraid to leave the government in the hands of people that they saw as uneducated. The idea that spread was that the average person was not qualified to vote. At the time the states had the duty of electing the senators and many wanted as little power as possible in the hands of the “Average Joe”. At the time the only real say an average person would have would be through the House of Representatives leaving little to the ordinary people. The elite at the time were glad to have more authority so they could stay elite and protect their power.
Madison argued that republic is the most desired form of government. Remembering the abuses under the English monarchy and parliament, Madison argued for a government where the people could stop the abuses with their powers in the government. A republic may be extended over a large region. With a republic form of government, the majority of the people are represented allowing a more equal opportunity based environment. Madison was afraid of repeating the past, by putting the power of the government into the hands of a few. In response to the objection of a republican form of government, Madison and others would wonder why we ever left England. Creating a republic our forefathers were securing the safety of our nation until the republic dies.
Although many were for a republic, they also had many agendas so that the average person would not have complete control. Their worries showed though when they decided the states should choose the Senators. The only power given to the common people was through the House of Representatives. Madison believed to insure the protection of our country we must allow the people either directly or indirectly to have power in the government. The end result was that the writers of the Constitution created a compromise between the two arguments. This allowed satisfaction of the elite as well as the common people. Although today we have even widened the rights available to the average person many are still out of the hands of ordinary persons.
The Constitution of America was created behind the backs of the American people. This was a view taken by a critic of the Constitution, George Clinton. The delegates from the states took the power of the government into their own hands when they created the Constitution. Instructed by their corresponding states, the delegates went to the convention to amend the Articles of Confederation, but instead they created a new document changing the government. Critics like George Clinton thought the Constitution was a mockery because of these actions by the delegates for it was the job of Congress to change the government if it needed to be and not the job of the delegates – “this convention has exceeded the authority given to it…”, Clinton. Clinton’s opposition to the Constitution came from the delegate’s loss of concern with what was the government of the time which was the Article of the Confederation. The delegates had no power to create the Constitution and because of this Clinton stood in firm opposition.
Any alterations made to the Articles of the Confederation had to be reported to Congress. The job of the delegates at the Philadelphia convention was to debate about the Articles of Confederation and create amendments to it. The power of the delegates was limited in that they did not have power to create a new document that would create a new government. Clinton argued that would have been the job of Congress to decide if a new government was needed. By creating the Constitution, the delegates created a revolution and changed the government without having the power to do so. Clinton argued that if a change needed to be made, it would come through the established government. The abuse of power by the delegates makes the Constitution an objectionable force against the way that the government is supposed to work.
States appointed individuals as delegates to attend the Philadelphia convention. The delegates once at the convention failed to notify their states of the new purpose to create the Constitution. If the states had known of the plan to create a new government, their response would have been different. The new government under the Constitution was larger and more powerful. States at this time felt threatened by a large central government because during this time they were in control. By not notifying the states of what they were doing, the delegates were no longer working under the will of their states but under their own will and for their own benefit. In taking this power away from the states and placing it in their own hands, the Constitution created by the delegates goes against what a republic is when representatives no longer represent what they are appointed to.
Clinton argues, that because the delegates took power into their own hands, the Constitution was created tainted and should be opposed. The delegates made the Constitution with their own self-interest in mind. The delegates took the job that was to be done by Congress and created a new government. The delegates created a tainted document when they took power away from the states and congress. They created a document that they had no authority to create and wanted it implemented. Clinton strongly opposed this.