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Fallacies of the Anti-Federalists - Essay Example

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Fallacies of the Anti-Federalists

The same men who had thrown boxes of tea into Boston Harbor could hardly be expected to accept a new government that had many of the same confiscatory tendencies as the British government had. Even worse, while London was a boat ride of many months, the new American government would be able to back up its decrees with accessible military force. For a new government to be acceptable to the anti-Federalists, it would have to be far weaker than its British counterpart.
One of the assertions of the anti-Federalists was that a "very extensive territory cannot be governed on the principles of freedom, otherwise than by a confederation of republics, possessing all the powers of internal government, but united in the management of their general, and foreign concerns" (Address and Reasons). While the British Empire covered much of the globe, it was in the initial stages of yielding its holdings to independence. Imagine how difficult it would be for a government in our own time to micromanage the affairs of such a large country - as the Soviet Union found out. In the late 1700's, there were not that many areas of life over which the government held sway. The provision of roads and public order were just about all that government could guarantee its citizens. In our own time, where government regulates such areas as public education, the insurance of bank accounts, the permitted forms of marriage, and other areas that the framers of the Constitution may never have imagined that their government would be asked to oversee. Imagine that, instead of fifty states, the United States were a looser confederation of fifty small republics, sort of like a European Union on a much larger scale. How would one separate the "internal" matters from those of "general concern" Richard Samuelson wrote an article wondering whether a return to the looser, states' rights-oriented philosophy of federalism would cure a lot of the cultural ills in the country. Because there are several polarizing issues of an ethical nature that are occupying the federal courts' dockets, it has been suggested that delegating more legal questions to the states to settle on their own, it has been argued, might well solve the problem for the federal government. An example he discusses is the issue of gay marriage. If states are permitted to set their own standards as to whether or not gay marriages will be legal, what happens if a couple moves from a gay-friendly state to a more conservative one If the gay couple adopts a child, and one of the members runs with the child to a state where their marriage is not recognized, how would the custody dispute be handled (Samuelson). In a looser confederation of republics, such legal situations would clearly overburden the court systems. A similarly polarizing issue that also was probably not something the framers would ever have considered something that would come under government purview is the question of abortion. If this were an issue that were left to the states, it would be ...Show more

Summary

In our own time, it is hard to imagine what it must have been like to craft the structure of the American government. A mostly rural culture, with only the faintest signs of political order, the early nation teetered on the brink of disunion. The British Empire had left a sour taste in the mouths of many Americans, who had sacrificed so much to come to a place where opportunities for freedom existed, in a variety of ways, from religious to political to economic…
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Fallacies of the Anti-Federalists essay example
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