Thursday, April 22, 2010
The modern day Anti-Federalists
Tea Partiers would seem to have a special affectation for the U.S. Constitution seeing as how they are always saying they want to “get back to it” and the way they like to accuse President Obama of “shredding” it.
But the great irony, I think, is that if these same Tea Partiers had actually been around back when the Constitution was first written, they would most likely have been opposed to it.
The philisophical underpinnings of the Tea Party movement, that which there are, are rooted not in the words of the Founding Fathers and the Constitution, but rather in the words of those who opposed the Constitution and fought against its ratification — the Anti-Federalists, as they were known.
Like the Tea Partiers today, the Anti-Federalists were opposed to having a strong central government. They wanted a system of government where the federal part would be equal to or lesser than the sum of its parts. They wanted the states to have the final say in most matters and feared that a strong central government led by a strong executive branch could result in a dictatorship or a new monarchy.
There was something to be said about their concerns at the time and that is why Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay wrote The Federalist Papers. It was their response to and argument against the points being raised by the Anti-Federalists.