Nature of Government
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American government has made enormous strides since the American Revolution. America’s Revolutionary war was initiated by the Americans determination to cut loose the British Empire and its monarchy system so that in turn they develop a government that was more democratic. The revolution was about finding a more decentralized government, which led to ratification of The Articles of Confederation. After revolutionaries succeeded in ousting the British Empire, they had to formulate better “constitution principles for the new Republican government” (McCoy, 7). In 1787, there was formation of a Constitution convention that was responsible for endorsement of a new constitution for the new country. The constitution making really brought forward many controversies with the public. This is because the different ideologies of the public led to the rise of the first political parties, the Federalists and Anti-federalists (Democratic Republicans). Both factions had many debates about the ratification of the constitution and many other issues. In addition, each of them had justifiable reasons for their stands for the greatest significance of the country.
The Federalist desired a strong central government whereas Anti-federalists opted for a more decentralized form of government. Federalists preferred a strong centralized government because they saw that the citizens would be more secure and at liberty. This was because the separation of authority between states would make the country more unstable to run. Besides, the public’s interest for unity, the American spirit that they had during the war would be overlooked if they went to solitary state governments. In the view of the Federalists, only a centralized government that could guarantee liberty and people’s desires since it had the ability to guard people from “violations of the rules of the society”. They saw it that the people in government would use the power to their benefit. This is because people have differing opinions on different issues. Thus, if a centralized government was not adopted, then only the opinions of those highly regarded that will be considered. This is because there was unequal distribution of land where some had land whereas other had no land, there were also creditors and debtors where all this had different interests in the society. Therefore, a centralized government was to consider everyone’s interest without disregard to the minority.
Despite the Federalists view of centralized and democratic government as significant for citizen’s interest and just leadership for a united country, the Anti-federalists were highly opposed to such method of governing. However, they concurred that various forms of democracy was required but saw no call for transforming their current structure of government. This is because a centralized government would destroy the prevailing relations between states. Their major dispute was that a centralized government would not be in a position to govern and cater for everyone’s interest in such a vast country. This is because the people in different States had their problems that were not being met by the State and having a centralized government would escalate the problems. Moreover, if a centralized government failed, independence would be lost and there would be rise to dictatorship. Therefore, democratic government would be better if it was a confederation of small republics with “all the powers of internal government”.
The federalists won at last and the new constitution was endorsed. Anti-federalists loss did not end their significance. Their concerns created a representation for future opposition parties within the American civilization. In addition, they had a major accomplishment where there was the addition of the Bill of Rights to the Constitution. After the ratification of the constitution, the Anti-federalists had objected the deficiency of the constitution to assure citizen’s individual rights. The Federalists had no other option other than adoption of the Bill of Rights, which led to the first ten amendments by 1791 to the constitution.
George Washington’s government was faced with other problems, his advisor Alexander Hamilton made anti-federalists worried because of his radical stand. This made federalists like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison to join the anti-federalists and gave rise to Democratic-Republicans to oppose the federalists. The controversial debates between the two were the Alien and Sedation Acts. The Federalists had introduced these acts to the congress. Sedition act was to restrict anyone from scheming or complaining against the government. The government saw it as a way to protect itself from whatever thing that could endanger its existence. Their intension was justifiable but the Democratic-Republicans saw the act as curtailing the freedom of the people. They argued that the acts contradicted the constitution because they threatened the rights and freedoms that Americans made the government to defend.
The federalists and Democratic-Republicans had many controversial issues. However, they agreed on a democratic government but differed on the division of power of the government. Evaluation of the issues of the two factions shows that Anti-federalists dreams had the exact meaning of the American Revolution. They opposed a centralized government that caused the revolution war. They both argued for what they considered right for America and this laid the strong foundation of the American Government to date.
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