Debate over the Strength of Central Government

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Debate Over the Strength of Central Government

The period of 1783-1800 was shaped by the debate between those who supported a strong central government and those who wanted more power given to the states. This period dealt with issues surrounding the formations of factions that threatened to split the young nation, the inclusion of a Bill of Rights, and the constitutionality of a national bank. Factions divided the people into those who supported a strong central government and those who wanted more power given to the states. These two groups had differing viewpoints, which influenced decisions regarding the addition of a Bill of Rights and the formation of a national bank.

The two major factions that almost disrupted the developing nation were formulated at the Constitutional Convention of 1787. At this convention, delegates representing all states expect Rhode Island formed a new type of government with the creation of the Constitution. In the ratification process America was divided in two, the federalists and anti-federalists. Federalists were in favor of a strong central government and hence supporting the new Constitution, while anti-federalists were in favor of giving the states a greater amount of power, thus opposing it. The opposition to the Constitution spreads from a mistrust of central government due to the grievances of English monarchy. The rights obtained by the central government took away states’ rights as seen in Sections VIII and X of the Constitution of the United States of American (Document 5). Most people who lived in cities, manufacturers, and northern merchants supported federalist views and most small farmers, southerners and frontiersmen sided with the anti-federalist views. Key federalists included Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, John Marshall, John Jay, and James Madison. In order to promote ratification Hamilton, Jay, and Madison published a series of Federalist Papers, (Document 8). On the anti-federalist...
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