During the drafting of the USA Constitution, opinion was split. The group supporting the proposed constitution is referred to as the Federalists while the one in opposition is known as the Anti-Federalists. The Federalists and Anti-Federalists put forward several reasons for taking their position. There were two major reasons why the Anti-Federalists were against the Constitution. First, these opponents considered the Constitution to be concentrating power in the federal government. They also opposed the Constitution charging that it did not have a Bill of Rights to provide the citizen with known basic rights such as freedom of speech or faith. The Federalists, who included the drafters of the proposed constitution, on the other hand, rationally argued in a chain of essays christened 'the Federalist', authored by Alexander Hamilton James Madison, and John Jay (Furtwangler, 1984. Pp. 17). However, the Federalists were in concurrence with the Anti-Federalists concerning the Bill of Rights inclusion in the Constitution.
The major arguments in favor of it were though not as broadly read as the many independent local articles and speeches. The arguments opposing endorsement (the Anti-Federalist Papers) were in various forms and various authors (most of whom used an alias). This is a presentation of the analysis of one federalist paper and one anti-federalist paper and a contrast of the two papers. The arguments against the new constitution highlight the dangers from tyranny that failings in the proposed Constitution did not sufficiently deal with. These pro- and anti-federalist papers are best seen as an argument on how provisions in the Constitution would be construed. Those against endorsement, or raising reservations about it were generally opposed to what they saw as expansive delegation of power to the federal government and not to the endorsement of federal constitution. On the other hand, responses those in support of ratification mainly sought to assure that the entrustment of power would be strict and narrow.
Summary and Analysis of Federalist Essay 16 written by Alexander Hamilton
In the essay, Hamilton starts the this discussion re-stating that it is a fact that the then present confederation, due to the way in which it was constructed, is a recipe for anarchy and that the negligence of the states making up the Union are the natural result and will pilot America into a Civil War. Hamilton then progresses to analyze hypothetically the possible outcomes of the absence of big, standing, national army. In His judgment, the result would be a war among the states since the state that feels the strongest is more likely to triumph in any difference between the states in the absence of a federal army to put the states in their right place. To Hamilton, this would signify the violent demise of the confederation. His second alternative, in his opinion would be that the confederation would die a natural death. In fact, he thought that the federation, at the time of this debate, was slowly going through natural death. He reasoned out that if there would be no conflict between the states, then each state would mind its own business, or just do their own biding, in utter disregard of the federal government. The federal government's influence would slowly fade until it went'extinct'.
Hamilton, now, takes the reader back to point out that the country ought to prefer a national constitution, and a constitution that has provisions for national armed forces, constantly on standby to implement the common requisitions or laws of the federal government. Hamilton rashes out at the critics claiming that, even though it seems to them like there is an option, in reality, any other alternative would be impractical. From this argument in support of a standing military, Hamilton moves on to discuss the need of not governing just over the states, but of the federal government having authority over the individual citizen. For Hamilton the government must hold its agency to the individual citizens. Hamilton goes on to argue that the individual state parliaments ought not to be required to consent to the laws passed by the federal government since they could ignore the laws and their disregard would wreck the structure of law in the nation. According to Hamilton, the unity of the nation is paramount, and the only way unity can be achieved is by the setting up a strong, federal government. Alexander Hamilton closes this essay by remarking that no government is able to at all time avoid or manage disorderly people or groups. As such, it would be futile to expect to safeguard against happenings that are too powerful for human forethought or safeguard, and that it would be redundant to oppose a government simply on the basis that it could not achieve impossibilities.
This essay is a continuation of a running Hamilton's thesis of the value of the government to the harmony of the nation. This can be seen clearly from his conclusion. A standing national military is representative of the government duty to enforce the laws on all citizens on its jurisdiction. According to Hamilton, it is only by having control and power over the individual that the government can have the right to arrest the individuals, to incarcerate them, and to free them. This also makes sure that the government does not have to concern itself with the issues of individual state as a corporate. By bypassing the state, the government makes the states more independent and efficiently preserves calm. In Hamilton's Federalist 15, 16 and 17 he had developed the thesis that a national government can carry on except if it had authority over the individual in the states as opposed to the over the states corporately. Hamilton position in regards to harmony in the US was a long-held belief and not a newfound viewpoint. He feared for disagreements among the states making up the Confederation. He warned that the possibility of interstate crises was significantly higher because of the lack of strong neighbors. There were regular border disputes and this signified that the prospects of future harmony were not pleasing.
Summary and Analysis of Anti-Federalist Essay 28 (The Use of Coercion by the New Government- Part III)
This essay was published in the North-American Intelligencer on January 16, 1788 in opposition to the federalist support for national armed forces with power over the individual citizens. The writer under the pseudo name "a planter and farmer" starts the essay by pointing out that the Congress under the proposed system is given the authority to organize, arm, and discipline the army and to govern them when serving the United States. He wonders why the congress is bestowed this great power. Since most of the proponents of the proposed system were in power, he sees this as an attempt by them to consolidate their power. He reads mischief when the drafters, like never done before, assert the power of setting and holding up the forces without telling for what uses, how they are to employ the soldiers, how many they will be and where they will be stationed. He sees this as an attempt to weaken states and destroy them finally. He reads dictatorial tendencies in this proposal. He claims that the proponents of this idea are showing that they do not intend to depend upon the citizens of the States to implement their authority. That they intend to lean upon the military.
The writer accuses the supporters of a standing army of pretending that the standing army is essential for the respectability of government. He charges that in all instances, a standing army has ultimately abolished the liberties and freedoms of the people. He posits that standing armies are a gaffe in any government. A government that supports them later on resorts to relying upon and at last becomes a victim to them. The armies according to him are brought up to unconditional submission. They are given arms and trained to absorb the burden of rigid discipline. They are in effect denied the enjoyment of liberty. As such, the loath the rest of the society and develop a wicked satisfaction in obliterating the rights to which they cannot be allowed. He argues that the military can be misused to quell opposition by the government and reduce it to a confirmed autocracy.
The two arguments are similar in that both are not geared to the support or opposition of the setting up an armed force with jurisdiction over individuals in the US but rather they are geared to urging the readers to support or oppose the proposed constitution. The two are propagandist in nature. It is obvious that these essays are not presenting information objectively but rather they are some clever way of communicating and are aimed at influencing the mind-set of the Americans towards some position. They both appeal to nationalism feelings with the federalism asserting that a standing army will unify the nation while the ant-federalist claim that it will take away civil liberties. The two differ in that the anti-federalist argued that the standing army gave the national government extensive powers in contrast to the state governments (Jensen, 1981. pp 54-197). On the other hand, the federalist opined that each arm (federal or state) is representative of different facet of the people and equal before the law and that no group could suppose power over the other.
The arguments for standing armies appear more compelling than the one against it. For one, they appear more organized and seem to second-guess the arguments of the anti-federalists. Alexander says that it would be futile to expect to safeguard against happenings that are too powerful for human forethought or safeguard, and that it would be redundant to oppose a government simply on the basis that it could not achieve impossibilities. It would be unreasonable to refuse to have a national army based on fears that are expressed by the anti-federalist since they are beyond control. Their argument is akin to arguing that one should not drive since by driving one risks death through an accident. The arguments presented are just fears that might or might not happen.