The US Constitution is an important document that outlines the rules and regulations that
guide American citizens as well as their rights. The Federalists and Antifederalists had many
contentious issues. First, the Federalists wanted to have a strong and stable Federal government
that was capable of ruling citizens directly and not through states. They argued that Articles of
the Confederation was weak because it did not give the Federal government adequate powers.
The Federalists had an incomprehensive interpretation of the constitution, which could allow the
Federal government to engage in activities that were not specifically outlined in the constitution.
Therefore, the Antifederalists were concerned with issues of accountability (Borowiak 1001).
They wanted assurances that various branches of government would not abuse their powers.
The Antifederalists wanted a weak central government that was capable of serving state
governments by undertaking activities that were better performed by one authority rather than
individual states, such as diplomacy and national defense (Moore and Kaminski 6). The
Federalists advocated for strong courts while Antifederalists wanted limited judicial powers. For
instance, the Antifederalists opposed the proposal that courts could hear a case between a state
and a citizen from a different state. They firmly believed that the suit would be about the laws of
the involved state; therefore, it should be handled by the local courts. They also believed that
giving such powers to the Supreme Court would eventually lead to the destruction of both the
judicial and legislative purposes of the state. In the end, the Antifederalist perspectives prevailed.
The above points of contention underline the structure of government that resulted from
the constitution. For instance, the central government is stronger than the state governments;
however, its actions are limited by the Bill of Rights. The US Constitution is widely based on the
Antifederalist vision, which involves the sharing of power between the national and state
governments (Moore and Kaminski 79). Also, the Antifederalists believed that a very powerful
central government would abuse the rights and liberties of the citizen. Therefore, the Bill of
Rightswas added to the Constitution (Moore and Kaminski 79). It addressed reservations that the
original document did not guarantee special rights such as the freedom of expression, freedom
from unreasonable seizure and searches. The amendments made the Antifederalists believe that
even though some branches of government had immense powers, they would not violate some of
the most essential human rights.
A contemporary issue that is as divisive in the American social space as the debate
between the Federalists and the Antifederalists was is the gun control debate. This topic has
gained prominence due to public concern about the mass shooting and other gun-related crimes
(Schuppe). The debate revolves about to common perspectives towards which people tend to be
drawn. On the one side, the attempts to regulate gun ownership at federal level are widely
perceived as the effort to repeal the Second Amendment altogether. On the other side, the
proponents of gun control legislations argue that they are dictated by common sense and the
desire to make access to guns difficult for prospective criminals. This dbate, as well as the one
about the amount of power to be given to the federal government, revolves around the core
questin about the impact policymakers should be allowed to have on the lives of individuals.
Borowiak, Craig. “Accountability Debates: The Federalists, the Anti-Federalists, and Democratic
Deficits.” The Journal of Politics, vol.69, no.10, 2007, pp. 998-1014.
Moore, Timothy and John, Kaminski. “Lessons on the American Constitution.” Jamesmadison
Accessed April 18, 2019.
Schuppe, Jon. “What Is Gun Control? Everything You Need To Know.” Nbcnews, June 2, 2018,
April 18, 2019.