US government and civics
Government power and individual rights: lesson overview
How do we make sure that a government that's powerful enough to get things done isn't so powerful that it infringes on our personal liberties?
When crafting the new constitution that would replace the Articles of Confederation, the Framers had to answer an important question: What type of government would be strong enough to enforce order, but not so strong that it would violate the personal liberties of American citizens?
Federalists and Anti-Federalists wrote several essays on the matter, each group advocating for a different structure of government.
|Articles of Confederation||The first government system of the United States, which lasted from 1776 until 1789. The Articles placed most power in the hands of state governments. Government under the Articles lacked an executive or a judicial branch.|
|Confederation Congress||The central government under the Articles of Confederation, composed of delegates chosen by state governments. Each state had one vote in the Congress, regardless of its population. The Congress had difficulty legislating as the Articles required nine of the thirteen states to vote to approve any measure, and a unanimous vote in order to amend the Articles themselves.|
Key documents to know
Federalist No. 10 — An essay written by James Madison, in which he argues that a strong central government will control the effects of factions.
Brutus No. 1 — An Anti-Federalist essay that argued against a strong central government, based on the belief that it would not be able to meet the needs of all US citizens.
Image of the first page of Brutus no. 1.
Key takeaways from this lesson
Limited government in the Constitution: The Articles of Confederation had several weaknesses that made governing difficult. These weaknesses caused delegates to meet in Philadelphia to discuss replacing the Articles of Confederation with a Constitution that created a stronger central government. Anti-Federalists, or people who were against ratifying the Constitution, feared that a strong central government would lead to tyranny and not reflect people’s needs.
The debate between Federalists and Anti-Federalists led to several compromises that created a blueprint for a limited government, in which the Constitution limits the power of the federal government.
Who has the power: states or the federal government? Federalist No. 10 and Brutus No. 1 show how Federalists and Anti-Federalists had different opinions on how strong the federal government should be.
In Federalist No. 10, Madison argued that a large republic could control the “mischiefs of faction” and evenly distribute power between the federal government and the states.
The author of Brutus No. 1 disagreed, arguing that a powerful, centralized government was too far removed from individual citizens to meet their needs.
This debate about the proper role and strength of the federal government still exists today, as seen in issues like the role of the federal government in public school education.
How does the Constitution create a limited government?
What are the advantages of a large central government, as described in Federalist No. 10?
What are the disadvantages of a large central government, as explained in Brutus No. 1?
Want to join the conversation?
- Federalists and Federal Government, how are there meanings similar?(2 votes)
- Federalists means supporters of the Federal government.(6 votes)
- how did the papers go places that influenced people thoughts ?(2 votes)
If you are are referring to the Brutus and Federalist papers, people would buy and distribute them, and portions, I'm sure, would be published in newspapers. It's almost funny how far the media has come in 250 years!
I hope this helps to answer your question.(3 votes)
- How do the political parties now differ from the federalist and the anti-federalist parties then?(2 votes)
- What are the differences between Federalist and Federal government ?(1 vote)
- Federalists are people -who can be both inside and outside of the federal government- who support a powerful central government to govern over State governments. And the definition of federal government is just that. The term that defines the US's form of government, local state governments dividing power with a larger central government. That's why the term Federalist describes the supporters of a powerful central government, because it was coined from 'Federal government' the system which they advocated for.(2 votes)
- That the Federalist No 10 argued that a large republic can control factions and that the Brutus disagreed and advocated for local government that would meet the needs of the people is not in doubt. But what is really missing from this lesson is the fact the dialectic the Founders chose to frame the argument, is only because the Constitution never recognized party, money and business interests in the formal checks and balances. The Founders never realized that the greatest idea that they had, was that of checking balancing powers in system of fair game so that compromise can happen. That idea IS the most important one because it then allows free, fair elections; equal application of fair law; and a rational free press that would report corruption and hopefully drive policy. Had they had made so party and their agents would be nowhere near the mechanisms of elections and nominations in the Judiciary. And Corporations and their agents nowhere near the financing of elections and appointments in the regulatory agencies...we would not now have all the gerrymandering, judicial partisans, legal bribery, grid-lock that only benefits special interests, etc. etc.(1 vote)
- whats the difference between them(1 vote)
- 1. The Constitution created a limited government by instating checks and balances.
2. A large central government, as described in Federalist No. 10, would be able to control factions.
3. A large central government, as described in Brutus No. 1, may not be able to meet the needs of all U.S. citizens.(1 vote)
- What is the difference between federalist and federal government?(1 vote)
- what would the federalists consider an ideal government(1 vote)
- Sorry we couldn't get to you as early as you had hoped. Federalists consider a democratic republic with strong executive control ideal.(0 votes)
- how did the papers go places that influenced people thoughts ?(0 votes)
- Plagiarism is not tolerated on KA.(1 vote)