States Rights vs. Federalists

States Rights vs. Federalists

( – There were two major sects within the group that we now call the Founding Fathers on the issue of where the power of government should rest. On one side, there were those who thought the country should be viewed as 13 separate entities that were part of the pact under the umbrella of the system to deal with mutual concerns. The other side saw a developing country where individual states abided by the laws of the central government.

States Rights

Many framers of the Constitution envisioned a country where the federal government would be very limited on its impact within its borders and generally be the face of the Union of states to the rest of the world. This is not an unreasonable position for men whose experience was with an overbearing Monarchy where all political power rested with one person.

The idea was that each state and region would have a better understanding of its citizens’ needs. Someone from the more urbanized areas along the east coast would be ill-equipped to understand the issues faced by the farmers in rural areas, and vice versa. The idea was based on the theory that local control would allow each state to thrive, which would, in turn, allow the country as a whole to flourish.

Strong Central Government

Those belonging to the Federalist Party, however, had a very different concept of how the balance of power should work. To their way of thinking, the better path to freedom lay in a single consolidated seat of government.

The tenets of this movement included elements like taking care of all monetary issues, setting up a system that protected American shipping through tariffs, and strong internal security measures. These positions led to the passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, which gave the federal government broad powers that impacted the freedom of the press and immigration because of the looming potential war with France.

The battle between these two points of view did not end with the passing of the Colonial Era, but, have carried on throughout the history of the country. In recent years, the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled in favor of the sovereignty of the states on a wide variety of subjects including gun control and voting laws.

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