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Arguments Against the 1787 Constitution

All law that governs United States of America was founded in the constitution written in 1787 but put in practice in 1788. 1787 constitution was to replace Article of confederation which provided structure for new government after USA attained its independence from Great Britain in 1776 after America revolution. Making of constitution played a very important role of filling the gaps which Article of Confederation was not able to address. The principles making the Article of Confederation was guide by fear of creating a centralized power similar to the model ruling America under Great Britain.

Due to this, Article of confederation was not able to solve many problems, for example it never gave the congress the power to levy tax but depended solely on states to contribute a share to common treasury which was not sufficient. Efforts to amend the Article of confederation did not bear fruit after Rhode Island decline to give consent to this proposal. Article of confederation exhibited a weakness called the Liberum Veto which every state infatuated any propose amendments. Amendments needed to be passed by all thirteen states and major legislations required consent of nine states.

These situations exhibited major loophole because amendments could be defeated just by absence of one or two delegate. These are some of the problems which transpired to drafting constitution in 1787 to solve the weakness exhibited by article of confederation. Constitution would provide define executive branch with mandate to execute the law and court system mandated to interpretation of the law. Initially, the Article of confederation only established parliament being sole organ of the national government.

Constitution was to define the three arms of the government and proposed for a central government with variety of enforceable authorities replacing congress as established by the Article of confederation. Ratifying of the proposed constitution started with state of Pennsylvania calling for the first convention for consideration of proposes constitution. “At the request of the Constitutional Convention, the Continental Congress submitted the Constitution to the states on September 23, and on the next day the Pennsylvania legislature, which was in session, called a convention to ratify or reject the new frame of government.

Delegates were elected on November 2, and the ratifying convention held its first sessions at the State House in Philadelphia on November 21” (Pittman para 1). At this point in time delegate were divided on the basis of accepting or rejecting the draft i. e. federalist and favoring constitution on basis of strong national government and Anti-Federalist people opposed to constitution. (http://www. jburgd12. k12. il. us/jjhs/Wbt/Foundations/ratify. htm. para 1) The argument fronted by Anti-Federalists or those oppose to ratification was, “The first was the destruction of states that would lead back to a monarchy.

Anti-Federalists felt that states should be the primary unit of government, and that the central government should have little authority, which would act through the states to the people” (Johnson, para 2). They argued that it was better for individual states to continue being under control for certain matters but leave the states as small entities which may be close to mind as well as desire of the citizen as compared to centralized government as it proposed by constitution. “Only small republics can enjoy a voluntary attachment of the people to the government and a voluntary obedience to the laws.

Only a small republic can secure a genuine responsibility of the government to the people. Only a small republic can form the kind of citizens who will maintain republican government. These claims are central to the Anti-Federalist position” (Johnson, para 3). The second argument was based on House of Representatives and anti federalist felt it was the only way government would have contact with people due to the reason that senators were not elected by people and House representative were elected by people.

They complained that, constitution provided for a small representation which and could not address people problems adequately. “Because many state already had more than 65 representatives in their states legislatures, Anti-Federalists saw a 65 member House of Representatives as too small to represent the people adequately” (Johnson, para 5). On the term of service as propose by the constitution, Anti-federalists argues 2 year term would deprive control of representation from the citizen since legislators served only for one year term.

On the House of representation they argued that it should not be left out of treaty making process in ground that treaty affected people live and there representative should foresee this process. Thirdly there was concern about representation, “why should a small state like Delaware have equal representation with Virginia and how could local people be properly represented? ” (Johnson, para 8). On this matter senators election was of concern since they would not be elected by people by state legislature which could give opportunity for someone to be re-elected and serve for live time.

“Anti-Federalists had some strong concerns about the Executive branch of government. They saw the office as an elected King. They worried that the transfer of power would be chaos and that there was danger in giving power over the military and states’ militia to one person” (Johnson, para 10). They viewed vesting of treaty making power to president and senate as depriving common say in the treaty process. Finally the propose constitution was viewed as a threat to individual liberty as well as state’s independence.

They sighted issue of cost associated with running new government as provided by the constitution and argued it would be very expensive. From there arguments anti federalism said accomplished of bill of right should be written down so that people would be able to know when the government was intimidating their rights, a proposal which was later implemented

Work cited:

Johnson, Norma D. : Arguments Against Ratifying the Constitution (n.d). Retrieved on 24th September 2008 from; http://www. doe. nv. gov/Teachers/Lessons/Arguments_Against_Ratification. doc. Pittman, R. Carter: Pennsylvania Ratifying Convention, 1787 (1965). Retrieved on 24th September 2008 from; http://www. rcarterpittman. org/essays/documents/Jasper_Yeates. html. Ratifying the Constitution, (n. d). Retrieved on 24th September 2008 from; http://www. jburgd12. k12. il. us/jjhs/Wbt/Foundations/ratify. htm.

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