Federalists & Antifederalists: The Debate Over the Ratification of the Constitution is from the MODG 12th Grade Advanced American Gov & Econ Syllabus. It is by various authors and edited by Kiminski & Leffler.
Winston Churchill famously said that “Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it.” A proper understanding of the United States Constitution, the American government, and government in general is illuminated through the debates surrounding the ratification of the United States Constitution. Kiminski and Leffler present a selection of the many articles and speeches regarding the Constitution made by our founding fathers in 1787 and 1788; they have carefully edited and collated these documents to make them accessible and highlight the key facets of the Constitutional debate. Through these articles the reader can follow the Anti-Federalists concerns regarding the danger of a strong central government and overreaching federal courts, the possible loss of state power especially in the face of greedy officials who may succumb to corruption or even foreign influence to maintain their power. These are valid concerns that are quite present to the reader today. But the Federalists also present a compelling case about the true nature of republican government and the unique structure of this newly proposed Constitution. The student is invited into a consideration of the dangers of faction and how best to combat them and the significance of a truly limited federal extent. And the student is challenged to consider topics in a potentially new light, such as the benefit of stability or even gridlock within a representative government, or whether a bill of rights might actually change the people’s perception of the power of their government and their own inalienable rights. These debates provide the student a richer and more thorough understanding of the exact wording of the Constitution and a greater appreciation of the original plan where the Constitution has subsequently been amended. They also arm the student for present and future debates regarding our government and potential changes to our beloved Constitution.
- Recommended by Michaela Berquist, MODG parent, consultant and Advanced Gov & Econ teacher