. ‘AtiadU.N.W ‘ . . 4`” w 4. THE INNOVATION OF FEDERALISM It is an overstatement to say the U.S. Constitution is nothing but a bundle of compromises. Those who gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 were not only practical men of politics, they were also students of public affairs and history and political theory. The Constitution they created re flected this, as much as the need to forge a compromise that might work. One of the principal features of that compromise was one of the novel inventions of the Constitutional Convention: federalism. The debate over the definition of the relationship between the states and the new central government not only captured the attention of the delegates to the Philadelphia Convention, it also was the overriding debate among those who would decide the fate of the Philadelphia consti tutionthe delegates to the various state ratification conventions. While it is unnecessary to dwell on all the issues in those debates, it is instructive to consider how the arguments mounted during the ratification period sprouted from two very different approaches to government in general and embraced differing understandings of citizenship, community, and indi vidual rights. We shall see that the issues that `. led to disagreement and debate in 1787 are not unrelated to the sorts of concerns Americans confront today as they struggle to redefine their democracy and sense of self-government. CONCERNS OF THE ANTI-FEDERALISTS The concerns of the opponents of the new constitution, the Anti-Federalists, should be examined first. The term Anti-Federalist is used here in reference to that unorganized, loose coalition of men throughout the 13 states who wrote in opposition to the ratification of the Constitution and argued against it during the state ratification convention. Because they lost the ratification debate, their arguments are too often ignored. But the Anti-Federalists’ position reflected a firm grounding in republican political theory and practical political experience. Moreover, most Americans at the time would have been comfortable with their arguments. Citizenship was a critical concern to the Anti interes ts wider generaT e t This concern fthmanaqtheI can exist betwe: community or root of the Antit publican politici citizenship, Pop Wit succeed, required public sense of what was once ca ttevt can virtue needs to be cultit, within the society. This civic 417, motel by the interaction of citize other as they sought to pursue t. terests. Civic virtue was what . built on Citizens interacting with o the discussion and pursuit of puilic’ within a community in which each citizen reccig’ nizes his well-being is related to the well of his fellow citizens. The new Constitution with its relatively sophisticated institutional arrangement of checks and balances among sepa Federalists. siro quired an inf ted zenry. The only wa y through structuring an individual and his zenship was nurture government, reas they are to abLe to and control ir touch with thou distant got/dr’ own. Most impor tani undermines the in a democrat”””” ii for that republi: In order to .ment must be sub. accountability;i: meant kee p need to be abi order to rem ain tribute tp i .’ self -g A 4 *A3 .,.m. ..4,,..t. ,17i: 02e::4 !1 \\ \\: \\ ;IA V, s k . ., ,, ,-, k’ ”. ”’stk ” *,. ,. \\. Vs::’k s ..: s , ..**”, …1,1%.fit ,., slk,. . ‘. 4t” . ”’ VAs :IP Civil So4z e tv x Pennsylvania. EXECUTIVE OFFICES: P.O, BOX 208, WACO, TEXAS 76703, 817-772.3050 AUGUST 30, 1996 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 21
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