Whenever I cite the Federalist Papers, the first thing I hear is that the Federalist Papers are not part of the Constitution of the United States, the next thing I hear is that there are Anti-Federalist Papers, to which I respond, very true, the Federalist Papers are not part of the Constitution of the United States, and the next thing I say is that most of the objections raised in the Anti-Federalist Papers were addressed in the Federalist Papers.
But I had an opportunity to download a copy of the Anti-Federalist Papers as an audiobook, so I embarked on listening to see where those people objected to the Constitution of the United States and why. But I was surprised, because I didn’t find any objections to the Constitution of the United States, what they were worried about is that the government established thusly would devolve and be consolidated into a national government. What they were worried about was that the government would be consolidated from a confederation of independent republics into a simple republic where each State would be subservient to a national governing body in congress that did not have the proper engagement and over site and control of the States by which it was comprised.
They also were concerned that the constraints that were very present in the Articles of Confederation were not similarly established in the Constitution of the United States, thinking, if it’s not expressly stated then it could be easily circumvented. Which is a well noted concern.
But those who hang their hat on the Anti-Federalist Papers should actually read them instead of pointing them out as sources of objection to the government established by the Constitution of the United States, because paper after paper without exception objected to any government in the form of the current embodiment of our government. The Anti-Federalist Papers could be written today in objection to the current embodiment of our government and they wouldn’t even need to change a single word. They didn’t want this disconnected federal government which did not depend on the sovereignty and suffrage of the States, and they didn’t want an elected dictator, like our president today, or a congress with the power to make the decisions that the States and their citizens would have to comply with without the participation of the States in those decisions.
In that way, I would suggest, that the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers say precisely the same things, it’s just that those who wrote the Federalist Papers were confident in the robustness and resistance to malfeasance and corruption, especially of factions like our political parties and their faux leaders, and the Anti-Federalist who suggested caution and a slower implementation of the principles of the Constitution of the United States to ensure that those principals produced the desired results, which I agree with.
I have often said that they should have just added the Republican Form of Government to the Articles of Confederation, and changed taxation from direct taxes based upon an assessment of the value of different forms of property to a per capita apportionment of direct taxes based upon an enumeration, keeping everything else constant for a period of years to judge the results of those changes before implementing other changes, would have been the best approach. Then once that form of government was established and proven then they could have tried to divide the government into different departments. I just think they bit off too much for the first bite, and that is what the Anti-Federalist are saying in their papers, not that there didn’t need to be changes to the current government under the Articles of Confederation, but it should be stepwise, instead of a complete overhaul all at once.