In the early 18th century America was divided into 13 independent states each governing themselves. The US constitution, which upon being signed established the national government, came to be in September 17th 1787, approved by the delegates in attendance at the constitution treaty in Philadelphia. By signing the constitution it meant that that the 13 states are under one central government with three main arms; the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. This however was not supported by all and it’s what brought about the major conflict between two groups the federalists and the anti-federalist, who differed in perspectives.
A case example was that of Brutus and federalist 10. Brutus I believed to be Robert Yates was an anti-federalist author who wrote articles that appeared on the New York journal between October 1787 and April the following year. Brutus believed that a republic must be small and homogenous to make it or rather survive. The proposed constitution suggested the creation of one all inclusive national government, meaning all the thirteen states merge and form one republican government. According to Brutus merging was impractical considering the ballooning population of America which stood at approximately 3.5 million people and the large geographical area of the entire republic. He also cited the multi culture, with a wide range of nationalities and religions that existed because, whilst majority of Americans were of English origin; there were few Indian Americans and the blacks whom many were slaves who lived in south of Pennsylvania.
Brutus fired shots at the constitution claiming that powers were centered in the national government leaving the states at a disadvantage in development. He argued that a small republic rather than a big one was capable of protecting the rights and freedom of individual citizens.
The federalists favored the constitution that would establish a powerful central government. However, this did not go well with anti-federalist whose big worry was small states would lose value and were at a risk of being undermined by the national government. Brutus argued that installation of a national administration was likely to promote high taxes and underdevelopment. Anti federalists argued that a big republic would sacrifice the public interest whereas in small governable states the views of all citizens would be heard, better understood and considered. They also suggested for the sake of the public good, people ought to assemble together and discuss their own way of governance. This was not possible in a republic so vast and with a massive population.
Sam Adams in his letter to John Scollay in 1780 expresses concern over the proposed laws. He argues that people concerned in making the laws had lost virtues and were promoting the same to the people. He cited a case where one Sidney had told him that people are not worth saving. He further elaborates that the laws in the constitution promoted extravagance on irrelevant things such as entertainment and squandering of money and resources. He emphasis on need for individual liberties in which the constitution was a threat to, noting that Americans had just been from a victorious battle for such rights. He metaphorically compares the same laws as trying to promote over dressing for people who can’t afford even the basic clothing.
Federalist 10 (James Madison) suggests that there are two methods of curbing the ever rising faction: it can be done by either removing the causes or by controlling the damage it does. Liberty is the fuel for faction thus Madison suggests that one of the ways to curing it is; by destroying liberty which is key to its survival and the other is promoting equality to all citizens less discriminations of whatever nature.
Goldfield, et al. the American Journey: A History of the United States, Pearson Prentice Hall 2011
The founder’s constitution retrieved from