Nation Building and the Constitution
The Federalists and the Anti-Federalists

  1. A conservative shift

    1. In every modern revolution, people tire of chaos and look for peace and security

      1. Take measures to consolidate and protect gains

      2. This is known as a Thermidorian reaction, after a period in the French Revolution

    2. Radicalism of the Revolution

      1. Revolution had implied, at least, an attack on aristocracy, a high degree of individual liberty, and highly restricted government

      2. Indeed, the old patrimonial system broke down quickly after the Revolution

      3. But this also gave us the very weak government of the Articles of Confederation

    3. Thus there was a growing sentiment for the need for a stronger government

      1. Articles government unable to settle disputes between states

      2. In particular, Virginia and Maryland in dispute over navigation on Potomac

      3. Congress recommended that a convention be held in Philadelphia in May, 1787 to devise methods to correct defects in the Articles

      4. Was to meet for sole purpose of revising Articles of Confederation

      5. Wound up tossing them out altogether and writing new Constitution

    4. Shay's Rebellion, 1786

      1. Farmers in western Massachusetts, upset because of debt, high interest rates, high taxes

      2. Felt state government didn't help them but only helped creditors in the east

      3. Under Daniel Shay, a rebellion broke out, at one point seizing a national arsenal

      4. Congress had no funds to raise an army -- rebellion defeated by army paid for by wealth Bostonians

      5. Many elites in various states realized a stronger government was needed to preserve law and order

  2. The Constitutional Convention

    1. 55 delegates

      1. Largely from upper and middle classes

      2. Some major figures not there - Jefferson, Sam and John Adams, Patrick Henry

      3. Ranged in age from 26 to 81 (Franklin was the oldest)

      4. 25 lawyers, 13 college graduates, 41 members of Continental Congress, 8 judges, 14 speculators, four governors, 8 signers of Declaration, 5 college professors, 13 businessmen

      5. Most important

        1. George Washington - most popular man in America

        2. Franklin

        3. James Madison - kept only diary of event

        4. Alexander Hamilton - more important promoting after Convention

    2. Held in secrecy - no one outside of convention knew what was happening

    3. Major issues

      1. State power in Congress

        1. Virginia Plan (from James Madison)

          1. Two houses, representation based on populations

          2. favored by large states

          3. also raised issue of how slaves should be counted, if at all

        2. New Jersey Plan (from William Patterson)

          1. One house, one vote for each state

        3. The Great Compromise - two houses

          1. Senate - two votes for each state, selected by state legislatures

          2. House of Representatives - elected by people based on populations

            1. number of delegates would depend on size of population

            2. slaves would be counted as 3/5 of a person for purposes of determining number of delegates

            3. slaves would also be counted as 3/5 of a person for purposes of assessing taxes on states

      2. Popular vs. Elite Power

        1. Many delegates feared the mob, others felt Revolution required popular democracy

        2. End result favored elite power

          1. No universal requirement for popular voting

          2. Senate not elected by people but by legislatures

          3. Electoral college mediated popular vote in Presidential elections

      3. Slavery

        1. The split at the Convention prefigured the sectional spilt of the coming years

        2. Some Northerners wanted to ban slavery outright

        3. Most Northerners wanted to ban the slave trade

        4. Southern delegates threatened to leave if slavery tampered with

        5. The eventual compromise

          1. Congress would not interfere with slave trade till 1808

          2. The 3/5 rule

          3. The fugitive slave clause

          4. Deemed necessary to maintain the union

      4. National power

        1. State power secondary to national power

        2. National government given power to tax, raise militias, etc.

        3. Creation of a strong executive, with power to veto and appoint judges

  1. Ratifying the Constitution

    1. Federalists

      1. Advocates of the Constitution

      2. Name connected to the Federalist Papers

        1. Newspaper articles supporting the Constitution

        2. Authors James Madison and Alexander Hamilton (also John Jay)

      3. Federalists generally were merchants, lawyers, speculators, plantation owners

      4. Main ideas

        1. A more centralized government was needed for internal and external strength

        2. Needed for protection, and for law and order

        3. Necessary for growth and development

        4. Constitution not perfect, but better than Articles

    2. Anti-Federalists

      1. Led by Patrick Henry, Sam Adams, Richard Henry Lee

      2. Appealed mainly to small farmers, debtors, frontiersmen

      3. Believed 13 states too much for one government to handle

      4. Feared smaller states would be dominated by larger ones

      5. Believed voice of people would be greater under Articles

      6. Feared Washington would become King and Congress like Parliament

      7. Key argument  - no protection of individual liberties

    3. The Campaign

      1. Both sides used extensive propaganda

      2. Federalists were better at it - Hamilton, Madison, and Jay's articles

      3. Federalists also better organized and united in their cause

      4. Federalists had key political positions in most states, giving them an advantage

      5. However, the majority of the people were anti-Federalists

      6. Under universal suffrage, the Constitution would have been defeated

    4. Getting the votes

      1. Framers of Constitution broke with past, called for only 2/3 of states (9) to ratify

      2. Delaware was first, followed by Pennsylvania, NJ, Georgia, Conn.

      3. Massachusetts

        1. definite majority of ratifying convention against

        2. Federalists agree to a Bill of Rights

        3. This tips the balance (gets Sam Adams support)

        4. Governor John Hancock promised Vice-Presidency if he supported it

      4. Rhode Island

        1. had not participated in Constitutional Convention

        2. Put Constitution to a general vote (no other state did this)

        3. Federalists called vote illegal, boycotted

        4. Constitution defeated

      5. Maryland and South Carolina passed it

      6. Number 9 - New Hampshire

        1. close vote (57 to 46)

        2. agreement to amend Constitution for individual liberties was key

        3. Theoretically, Constitution is ratified, but what about Virginia and New York?

      7. Virginia

        1. Constitution gone over word by word - only here was its strengths and weaknesses revealed

        2. Anti-Federalists strong - Patrick Henry, James Monroe, Richard H. Lee

        3. Important Federalists - James Madison, John Marshall

        4. Henry called the Constitution undemocratic

        5. Gov. Randolph promised the Vice-Presidency if he supported it

        6. Federalists promise 20 amendments and a Bill of Rights

        7. Passed 89 to 79

      8. New York

        1. Anti-Federalists strong, but Federalists had Hamilton and Jay

        2. Only ratifying convention that had universal male suffrage

        3. Hamilton points out weak position NY will have if it doesn't approve

        4. Passes 30 to 27; Federalists promise 32 amendments

      9. North Carolina makes 12

        1. Big argument - proposed almost 50 amendments

        2. Passes 195 to 77

      10. Constitution goes into effect March 4, 1789

        1. Rhode Island still hasn't approved it

        2. Threatened with boycott

        3. Finally ratifies it with a constitutional convention - 34 to 32