The one thing that you can say about the federalists is that they were optimistic. They truly hoped that; truly believed that Americans would see it for what it was and grasp their liberties firmly and protect them for generations yet to come.
The Anti-Federalists weren’t quite so rosy in their outlook. While some were firebrands and dedicated to the idea of State Sovereignty and Confederation, more of them were pragmatic and understood that things had to be changed. But was the proposed Constitution the best way to make that change?
Perhaps the most lucid and well spoken of the Anti-federalist was an anonymous writer who went by the pen name “The Federal Farmer.” his writings, which began this week in 1787, were a measured consideration of the proposed government. in fact, of the three possible forms of government that he saw for the nation, the proposed Constitution probably made the most sense.
But that didn’t mean that there weren’t some potential problems that, whoever he was, could foresee…
Three weeks after the convention ends, one of the first of the many letters debating the proposed Constitution appears in published newspapers. The discussion will revolve around whether the Nation should remain as it is, a confederation of thirteen sovereign republics, or if it should move to a single central government.
Already dividing lines are being drawn between those who favor the new Constitution and those who fear that it goes too far and takes too much away from the individual States.
By this point, virtually every newspaper in the country has printed a copy of the proposed Constitution, allowing every citizens to read it or at least hear it, and to discuss it among themselves. This is the moment when every man will have to decide for himself under what impressions he will act.
For this first, and perhaps only time in all of history, the People are asked to decide their form of government, not just who will be the leaders.
And the debates, are just beginning.