The U.S. Constitution and the Federalist v. Antifederalist Papers “But what


The U.S. Constitution and the Federalist v. Antifederalist Papers

But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.

– James Madison 

On September 17, 1787, 39 of the 55 delegates from 12 of the 13 states signed the newly crafted U.S. Constitution in Independence Hall, Philadelphia, PA. (O’Connor & Sabato, 2019) The new U.S. Constitution was approved by the United States’ current government, the Congress of the Confederation and a resolution was sent to all 13 states that sought ratification of the Constitution: Article VII: “The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.” (U.S. Constitution, Article VII) 

Now, it was up to the individual states to either ratify or not ratify the new Constitution. 

As each of the thirteen colonial legislatures sought to ratify the U.S. Constitution, newspapers published the U.S. Constitution so that ‘we the people’ could understand and debate the new, governmental document. During the fall of 1787 and into the summer of 1788, newspapers published hundreds of letters to the editor penned by individual citizens that argued for and against ratification. 

Additionally, the debate over ratification of the new U.S. Constitution saw the emergence of two, opposed political parties composed of this nation’s founding fathers: the Federalists and Anti-Federalists. The Federalists advocated for the adoption of the new Constitution; the Anti-Federalists opposed ratification of the new Constitution. Members from both parties produced newspaper articles that explained their ideological rationale for or against ratification. 

More information regarding the Federalist v Anti-Federalist debate can be found from the National Constitution Center and the U.S. Archives.

In this assignment, you will examine and explain how the Federalist and Anti-Federalist plans shaped the U.S. Constitution. Your expository essay should have a clearly established and sustained viewpoint and purpose. In addition, your writing should be well ordered, logical and unified, as well as original and insightful. 

Directions: Within a 500 word, APA formatted expository essay, please include:

  • How do Federalists and Anti-Federalists plan to organize the federal government?
    • Executive Branch
      • How does the U.S. Constitution reflect the Federalist plan?
    • Legislative Branch
      • How does the U.S. Constitution reflect the Federalist plan?
    • Judicial Branch
      • How does the U.S. Constitution reflect the Federalist plan?
  • How did the Federalists and Anti-Federalists understand the relationship between the federal government and the states?
    • How does the U.S. Constitution reflect the Federalist plan?
  • How did the Federalists and Anti-Federalists articulate their arguments within local newspapers’ letters to the editor that argued for and against ratification?
    • Although you may pick other Federalist and/or Anti-Federalist documents, you may find these documents of particular interest:
  • Based on your academic understanding of federalism which party would you align yourself with? Why?
  • Support your analysis with information obtained from the text, the U.S. Constitution, and at least two Federalist and/or Anti-Federalist essays.
  • APA format.
    • Title page.
    • Reference page.
    • APA citations.
    • Double spaced sentences.
    • 12 point Times New Roman.
  • Standard English grammar and structure.
    • Introduction and conclusion.
    • Correct punctuation and spelling.
    • Logical, well ordered sentences. 

The Assignment should be at least 500 words, and must use and cite the text and primary documents as sources. Cite the work internally and in full reference at the end, following APA style guidelines. Citation is important to build the definitions, demonstrate your research, and to make it clear which ideas are yours and which are from the source. Check with the Writing Center for APA style tips and assistance. 

 Minimum Submission Requirements  


  • This assessment should be a minimum of 500 words of text
  • Your submission should include the following:
    • An introductory paragraph
    • APA formatting (including in-text citations and a separate reference page following the narrative)
    • A conclusion
    • Four sources (including the class text, the U.S. Constitution, and two additional outside sources) 

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