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Federalist vs. Anti-Federalist

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The Federalist and the Anti-Federalist had very conflicting views on several things; however, they did have some similar views on topics such as on human nature and how it affected government. Other common interest of the Federalist and the Anti-Federalist was the preservation of liberty and government. They both believed that there were things that men were destined to do that can not be prevented; because of this, it causes problems in government. Even though there are similar views shared between the two, they still are strong supporters of their own sides. The Anti-Federalist had more faith in human nature and man than the Federalist. They believed that the common man had no desire to bother with greed and power.

They also believed that whatever tendencies man may have toward selfishness should be overcome by instruction, morality and religion. Two main leaders for the Anti-Federalist were Thomas Jefferson, who years later became the third President of the United States, and Brutus who wrote the Anti-Federalist Papers which greatly contributed to the ratification of the Constitution. Although Jefferson was an Anti-Federalist he pictured more of a central government. In the Anti-Federalists papers Brutus states that it is human nature to want power, and by having one central government it would result in an absolute power.

The Federalist had a belief that the common man was ignorant; wanted to be against the common good, and prone to corruption and greed. One of the authors of the Federalist Papers was James Madison. Madison’s idea of government as a reflection of human nature is described in Federalist Papers. The Federalist Papers explain using a system of the separation of powers to minimize tyranny and protect democracy. These separations of powers are kept distinct to protect against the abuse of power and corruption. Human nature makes it necessary for this type of system. Madison argues that human nature will cause factions; and that men naturally have different beliefs and opinions, and because of this, different and sometimes opposing groups are formed, resulting in factions that may become violent. Madison states “in framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the place oblige it to control itself.”

I believe that Anti-Federalist and Federalist views on human nature’s role in government are both have similar traits to my own. Human nature is greatly influenced by society, economic status, different religions, and environment. I agree with a quote from Federalist James Madison that states “ambition must be made to counteract ambition”. This is a very short and powerful quote, and it reminds me of the checks and balances system which is an extremely important part of our government today which helps prevent absolute power, tyranny and monarchy. I think that the majority of mankind is not tempted by greed or corruption, whereas the minorities of the elite are more prone to commit acts of greed and self-interest. I believe that if the Anti-Federalist did not order the Declaration of Independence to be added into the Constitution then The United States would have fell victim to a complete dictatorship.

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