by Laurence M. Vance
“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.”
~ James Madison, Federalist No. 45
History has shown this statement to be either wishful thinking or a deliberate falsehood. Regardless of which opinion you hold, the Anti-Federalists were right. They correctly predicted the unlimited power of a consolidated government under the Constitution. Not only were the Anti-Federalists right to a degree that they could never have imagined; I seriously doubt that the Federalists could have envisioned or would have approved of their new government becoming the monstrosity that it now is.
The U.S. Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787. Nine states were needed to ratify the new Constitution. On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire became the ninth state, and the Confederation Congress began making plans for the transition to government under the Constitution. Virginia ratified the document on June 25, 1788, and New York followed on July 26, 1788. On March 4, 1789 — 218 years ago yesterday — the new Constitution took effect, replacing the Articles of Confederation that had been in force since 1781. North Carolina did not ratify the Constitution until November 21, 1789, and Rhode Island not until May 29, 1790.
Although the arguments of the Anti-Federalists against the new Constitution were numerous and varied, there is one thing that underlies them all: The danger to liberty from a strong central government.
The term Anti-Federalists is a misnomer. A federal government is a decentralized government. Yet…
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