Why I Am an Anti-Federalist

Some lost causes are still worth fighting for. From Ralph Ketcham's introduction to the Signet Classics Anti-Federalist Papers:

Anti-federalists saw mild, grassroots, small-scale governments in sharp contrast to the splendid edifice and overweening ambition implicit in the new Constitution — and, indeed, heralded by Publius and its other proponents. The first left citizens free to live their own lives and to cultivate the virtue (private and public) vital to republicanism, while the second soon entailed taxes and drafts and offices and wars damaging to human dignity and thus fatal to self-government.

Preach on, brother…

This was idealistic, of course, but the anti-federalists thought the goal of the American Revolution was to end the ancient equation of power where arrogant, oppressive, and depraved rulers on one side produced subservience and a gradual erosion of the self-respect, capacities, and virtue of the people on the other side. The result was an increasing corruption and degeneracy in both rulers and ruled. … The aspirations of the federalists for commercial growth, westward expansion, increased national power, and effective world diplomacy were in some ways attractive and worthy, but they also fitted an ominous, all-too-familiar pattern of "great, splendid … consolidated government" and "Universal Empire" that the American Revolution had been fought to eradicate.

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One thought on “Why I Am an Anti-Federalist

  1. Brian Rapp May 16, 2006 / 2:41 am

    Awesome stuff.

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