Exploration Essay, Research Paper

Ratificating the constitution

The US Constitution was written and ratified in 1787. It is over 200 years old. People think that this document has always been honored, but this is not true. There were many people who supported this Constitution who they were called the Federalists and people who opposed it who were called the Antifederalists. Ratification of this Constitution involved many arguments in which the Antifederalists feared an absolute power and a too powerful government. They were fearful because only years earlier they had fought a war against a too powerful central government. Which side had a better argument will be discussed in this essay of ratification of the constitution.

The ratification of the Constitution wasn t as easy as the delegates thought it would be. The reason for this is that Antifederalists had many arguments and opposed the Constitution. There were many other reasons. They feared that the government will have too much power and that this Constitution would be more like monarchy. When the Constitution was written and ready to be ratified by the states, that s when the problems showed up. The framers called each state to hold a Special Convention in which votes would elect the delegates who then would vote to accept or reject the Constitution. The ratification required at least nine out of ten states to approve it. The Antifederalists opposed because they feared abuses of power by a strong central government. They feared that the government would serve the interests of the privileged minority and ignore the rights of the majority. The leading argument however centered on the constitution s lack of protection of individual rights. Leading Antifederalists Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, Richard Henry Lee wrote Letter from the Federal Farmers in which he listed what rights should be protected in the Constitution such as freedom of press and religion, guarantees against unreasonable searches, and trial by jury. All of these rights were listed in the Bill of Rights, those were citizen s rights and freedoms. At the end they added the Bill of Rights but only if the Antifederalists agreed to sign the Constitution first. Nine states were required to sign it but 11 ratified it because the last two were large states. (Doc. 2,4,5,6)

The Federalist view of this Constitution was that they insisted that the division of powers and the system of checks and balances would protect Americans form the tyranny of centralized authority. The editor of the Massachusetts Sentiment supported the Constitution because he stated that we need stronger and more efficient government to govern the nation. They said they needed a stronger government because of the Shay s Rebellion. This rebellion was an uprising of dept-ridden Massachusetts s farmers. Private property was in danger and new nations reputation as well. As this rebellion spread delegates called for a meeting in which they discussed the national problems. George Washington knew they made mistakes and had to fix them now. The key conflicts in the Constitutional convention were the Great Compromise which gave each state an equal representation based on population, and the Three-fifths compromise, which would have 3/5ths of the state slaves count as population for taxation and votes. New Constitution was written. This Constitution was a plan of government defining the powers and limitations of the government. Since some people disagreed with the Constitution John Jay, Madison and Hamilton wrote the Federalists papers where it explained and defended the Constitution. After the Constitution was passed Madison studied the 80 amendments in the Bill of Rights. He sent the list to the states in which three-fourths of the states ratified 10 of the amendments, which became known as the Bill of Rights. (Doc.1, 3)

Antifederalists had the Bill of Rights added to the constitution, that listed the individual rights and freedoms. They also knew they couldn t trust the government and wanted their rights listed so the government couldn t trick them. Both sides had good arguments the federalists and the Antifederalists. Both did everything to make the Constitution work and we still use it today. The Federalists worked on the problems of the government to fixed the voting representation (Great Compromise), the 3/5ths Compromise, The Electoral College, (helped to elect a president even though people don t really like that idea now since some of their votes are not counted), they also separated powers between the state government and the federal government (federalism). Antifederalists made sure we had our rights and freedoms, they pushed the government to further fix the problems of our nation by rebelling in the Shay s rebellion. Both sides had an equal say in this Constitution because they both added rights and limitations of the government to the Constitution.

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