In 1787, after The United States Constitution was written, and prior to it’s ratification, in 1789, there were a considerable amount of citizens, in the thirteen respective States, who were very skeptical about ratifying this Federal Constitution, and thus creating this new Federal Government. James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay wrote a collection of articles and essays called The Federalist – which, today, we refer to as The Federalist Papers – in hopes to gain support in favor of ratification. Conversely, a series of essays were written by a few men, writing under pseudonyms, warning against ratification, and making the case that the proposed Constitution was not sufficient in guarding against tyranny.
The anti-Federalists, as they were called, insisted that a Bill of Rights be included in this new Federal Constitution if it were to have any hope of gaining their support. Eventually, the Federalists conceded to a Bill of Rights, which would be drafted in the form of Constitutional Amendments and sent to the States for ratification once The Constitution was ratified and the first Congress was convened.
While today, The Bill of Rights is largely accepted as a critical part of our Federal Constitution, it is very interesting to read the conflicting opinions of that time, as both the Federalists and the anti-Federalists made very valid and very insightful observations. Below, I will first share the anti-Federalist point of view. Below that, I will share The Federalist point of view. After reading both, and considering the state of our Government, today, it’s not hard to see the validity of both points of view. Continue reading