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The US Constitution and Fears of Antifederalists

The division and separation of powers by the Constitution of the United States may be regarded as a powerful mechanism of the preservation of democracy, order, and citizens’ freedoms. Throughout history, the concentration of unlimited power in one person’s hands led to the establishment of the authoritarian regime, oppression, and abuse of people’s civil rights. This idea was also supported by Madison who wrote that “the accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny” (Geer et al., 2020, p. 45).

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That is why, the division of power between three branches, the division of power within the states, and the creation of the system of checks and balances ensure that all powers are not concentrated in any single branch. In addition, according to the Constitution, every branch has a right to check and partially control the performance of other branches to ensure equal distribution and the absence of dominance. In this way, the federal government guarantees civil rights and adequate response in all spheres.

At the same time, considering the modern government, it is possible to conclude that it differs from the government established by the Founding Fathers. First of all, regardless of the focus on democracy, they expected that people would have highly limited power in relation to the government’s formation. For instance, they could elect only the House of Representatives, the part of the legislative branch (Geer et al., 2020).

At the same time, they did not influence other branches of the government as the president was chosen by the Electoral College, the president, in turn, appointed judges, and state legislatures selected senators (Geer et al., 2020). In the present day, regardless of their gender, age, education, and socioeconomic status, citizens have a right to participate in the election of the president, vice president, and senators.

However, the extended voting rights for people do not limit the power of a national government that scared Antifederalists. These people were against the ratification of the Constitution as they believed that a new central government would be too powerful and the distribution of power between branches would be unequal (Geer et al., 2020). Thus, too powerful government could be taken by ambitious people who would not consider citizens’ interests making politics too complicated and mysterious.

From a personal perspective, considering the modern government and general political situation, it is possible to say that the fears of Antifederalists are partially justified. First of all, a centralized government with major powers cannot efficiently control all parts of the country and respond to people’s needs. In addition, people are already too diverse culturally and ethnically to be centrally governed. That is why every state introduces its own laws and regulation in accordance with the population’s specificity in a particular region.

However, the power of states is substantially limited by the federal government. In addition, a considerable number of people believe that powers belong to people interested exclusively in their own financial wellbeing ignoring the country’s general welfare. In addition, the fears of Antifederalists concerning the inability of the federal government to control all states efficiently is justified by modern Congressional polarization. In other words, the two parties have considerably different visions, and their competition inevitably has a negative impact on people.

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Geer, J. G., Herrera, R., Schiller, W. J., & Segal, J. A. (2020). Gateways to democracy: An introduction to American government (4th ed.). Cengage Learning.

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