Constitutional Law

History of the Constitution

What were the principal objections of the Anti-Federalists to the Constitution?

The Anti-Federalists were particularly concerned with the so-called “necessary and proper” clause of the new Constitution. Article I, Section 8 provided Congress with the power to “make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper” for executing its powers vested in the Constitution. Other Anti-Federalists were concerned with the supremacy clause in Article I. Many Anti-Federalists viewed this clause as wiping out the powers of state governments.

Many Anti-Federalists also argued that the Constitution gave too much power to the president. Some feared that the president and the Senate would unite to become similar to the King of England and the upper house of the English Parliament, the House of Lords. The King of England and the House of Lords represented aristocrats, the upper class of society, and tended to ignore the interests of regular people.


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