Brutus 1 Explained | What Elements of the Constitution Concerned the Anti-Federalists?
What are Brutus’ main concerns about the new Constitution? In this episode of BRI’s Primary Source Close Reads, Kirk looks at Brutus 1 and its critiques of the proposed Constitution during the ratification debates. Why does Brutus feel a consolidated government will end liberty? Why is he concerned about the creation of an expansive republic?
The Ratification Debate
After the Constitution was completed and signed by 39 delegates on September 17, 1787, many of the debates from Independence Hall continued in the debate over ratification in the states. For the Constitution to go into effect, nine of them would have to ratify (or agree to adopt) it. A party division arose: Federalists argued in favor of ratification, Anti-Federalists against. Leading Federalists James Madison and Alexander Hamilton made a case for ratification in the Federalist Papers. Leading Anti-Federalists Patrick Henry and George Mason (the latter who had attended the Convention but refused to sign the final document) argued that the central government created by the Constitution would be a threat to liberty.
Federalist/Anti-Federalist Debate on Congress’s Powers of Taxation DBQ
Use this lesson with The Ratification Debate on the Constitution Narrative and the Were the Anti-Federalists Unduly Suspicious or Insightful Political Thinkers? Point-Counterpoint to have students analyze the debate between Federalists and Anti-Federalists.