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Federalist, Anti-Federalist Governments, and the U.S. Constitution


At the end of the 18th century, the presentation of the U.S. Constitution as an important nation-shaping document led to reconsidering the Articles of Confederation in order to create a more organized pattern of political power within the United States. The Philadelphia Convention of 1787 resulted in the emergence of a series of issues associated with the Articles in office, so the decision was made to use the Convention as a preliminary basis for the U.S. Constitution. Since the Constitution assumed more centralized power, including centralizing the executive branch in the hands of the President, several Congress representatives were against its ratification. As a result, Federalists and Anti-Federalists, who were against the ratification, initiated an explicit dispute over the future of the state (“Ratification of the Constitution,” n.d.). The Federalists wanted to create a powerful central government with the President as the head of the state, whereas Anti-Federalists favored the confederate ruling form that would provide more executive autonomy to the state leaders.

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Executive Branch

Currently, the U.S. Constitution recognizes presidential power as central to the executive branch. According to the U.S. Const., art II, §1, “the executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America” (para. 1). This idea resonates with the Federalist Paper No. 70, as it stated that the unity within the executive branch was key to the organization of a new powerful nation (Madison, 1788b).

Legislative Branch

The initial ratification of the Constitution presupposed the emergence of the Senate and House of Representatives as an integral part of the legislative branch in order for every state and district to voice their opinion. The Federalist Paper No. 62 (Madison, 1788a) dwells on the idea that every state should have equal representation in the Senate. Anti-Federalists, in their turn, supported the idea of allocating the number of Senate votes based on the state’s population and significance to the national economy. The U.S. Constitution has embraced the idea of equal representation of states in the Senate, yet the number of members in the House of Representatives depends directly on the population (U.S. Const., art. I, § 1-2). Hence, the legislative branch currently reflects the ideas of the Federalist movement.

Judicial Branch

The present branch of the Constitution is regarded as the weakest one compared to the aforementioned branches. In Federalist Paper No. 78, Alexander Hamilton (1788) dwells on how the Supreme Court aims at assisting various disputes yet cannot interfere with the existing legislature without supervision. Currently, the U.S. Constitution recognizes Judiciary as a passive nation-shaping phenomenon (U. S. Const., art. III, § 1). However, there exist concerns about the current abuse of judicial power in society because its sphere of influence is not described explicitly.

Relationship Between Government and States

Considering the debate, Anti-Federalists perceived the emergence of the centralized body of political power as the termination of state autonomy. Meanwhile, Federalists were sure that state representation would still be relevant as an efficient intermediary between the President and fellow citizens. To address their views to the public, both Federalists and Anti-Federalists wrote explanations of their worldview to the public. However, while Federalists created 85 essays explaining their perception of the government, Anti-Federalists wrote letters to the local newspapers explicitly critiquing the newly proposed Constitution. For example, in a letter by a watchman to the Worcester Magazine, Anti-Federalists state that “to point out wherein this new constitution is deficient,” listing sixteen arguments against the Constitution (“To the citizens of the United States,” 1788). As a result, both parties did their best to involve the masses in making the decision.

Reflection and Conclusion

Considering how both parties viewed the government, I resonate more with the Federalist perspective due the fact that the existence of national regulation in the form of equally represented Senate and President only seems fair in such a big country. By all means, every state should have its autonomy, but providing some states with more power and authority will eventually perpetuate inequality. Hence, it may be concluded that the U.S. Constitution, although modified, embraced the views of Federalists to support nation-shaping.


Hamilton, A. (1788). Federalist Paper No. 78.

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Madison, J. (1788a). Federalist Paper No. 62.

Madison, J. (1788b). Federalist Paper No. 70.

Ratification of the Constitution. (n.d.). Lumen Learning. Web.

To the citizens of the United States [PDF document, pp. 4-5]. (1788). Web.

U.S. Const., art. I, § 1-2.

U.S. Const., art. II, § 1.

U.S. Const., art. III, § 1.

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