United  States History 1607-1877

Does the Constitution represent a fulfillment or a betrayal of what the American Colonies fought for during the American Revolution?


The United States constitution is the highest governing document or the republics supreme law of the United States. It was adopted as the supreme law in 17th September 1787 by the constitutional convention held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was later to be ratified by the people of the republic in all the constituent states to start with the phrase “we the people”. Since its drafting, ratification and subsequent amendments it has withstood the tests of time to end up being one of the best constitutions in the world today.

The relation of the American Revolution to the constitution:

The American Revolution or the American revolutionary war for independence was the rebellion wars involving the American colonies against the Britons that led to the attainment of American independence of the states in 1776. Since the main aim for the American Revolution was to free the American colonies from foreign or British rule, the American constitution sought to set up a frame work that would ensure total freedom for all American citizens.

Thus the constitution was drafted, in such a way that it would make it very difficult or impossible for any other person or group of persons to deny the people of America their freedom. Thus no one would be able to impose their will bon the American people without their approval or consent.

United States History 1607-1877

In order to make the constitution people based there was need to have it ratified in order to portray the togetherness of the American people the preamble to the American constitution was changed to start with the phrase “we the people…”.

Compare and contrast the ideas of the Federalists and Anti-Federalists:

In American history the term federalists refers to two instances. in the first case the term is used to refer to the public figures or statesmen who supported the ratification of the proposed constitution of the united states (1787-1789) it is closely related to the federalist papers (these were a series of 85 articles written by Alexander Hamilton, john jay, and James Madison, that advocated for the ratification of the American constitution). In this line the anti-federalists was the distinct counter movement group that was opposed to the creation of a stronger national government under the constitution. This group was in favor of leaving the government under the auspices of the articles of confederation intact. (The article of confederation and perpetual union was the American republics’ first governing document that had been written in 1777.)

In the second perspective the term is used to refer to the people or statesmen who were supportive of George Washington’s administration (1789-1797) they were later to be called he federalist ‘party’. The federalists were in favor of a system of power where the national power is shared between the national and state governments. This they expected would be met by adopting a system of separation of powers and checks and balances.

Through the federalist papers especially essay b45 and 46 the federalists explained the form of government they wanted in existence within the United States. These so called federalists faced stiff competition from the second group of anti-federalists who were mainly opposed to Alexander Hamilton’s’ (the chief federalist) aggressive fiscal policies of George Washington’s first administration. These anti-federalists were later to form one of the first political parties in United States politics (the democratic-republican ‘party’ of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

United States History 1607-1877

In addition the federalists argued that the federalist approach helps enshrine the principle of due process by limiting the arbitrary actions of the state. Furthermore the federalists argued that federalism helps to secure democracy in a democratic state. It also helps improve human rights; this view has come to be enhanced by the contemporary public choice theory.

On the other side of the field the anti-federalists were convinced of the fact that a stronger national government would infringe on the sovereignty of the individuals, the localities, as well as the states.

Consider the differing opinions of Hamilton and Jefferson, and discuss the impact of both their individual philosophies and their ideological conflict upon the political and economic formation of the United States from Washington’s first term through the end of the War of 1812.

Alexander Hamilton was the first secretary to the secretary of the United States. He was very critical in his duties and within his first year as the secretary of the treasury he introduced some very disturbing reports that lead to a financial revolution in the United States, among them were the first report on public credit and the report on the manufactures.

These reports attracted massive criticism from the secretary of state Thomas Jefferson and the speaker, James Madison. While Hamilton was in favor of federalism, Jefferson was a staunch anti-federalist. Their continuing conflicts between them in United States politics helped to start what some historians call the first party system in America. Hamilton founded the Federalist Party while Jefferson helped form the democratic Republican Party. In addition, Hamilton helped to form the bill of rights through the ten amendments that were made to the United States constitution. The United States executive branches of government as well as the entire judiciary (through the judiciary act of 1789) were drafted against the criticisms of Jefferson and others. The ideological differences between Hamilton and Jefferson went on even into president Adams

United States History 1607-1877

administration. They differed on the issue of the ‘French crisis’ which was sometimes referred to as the ‘quasi-war’., they also differed strongly on the issue of the alien and seditions act as well as the naturalization act that was meant to target French-Irish immigrants that seemed supportive of the democratic-republicans to which Thomas Jefferson was strongly affiliated to. In retaliation, Jefferson and James Madison sponsored the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions, which allowed states to interpose and in practice nullify federal actions. Through the Washington and Adams administrations, the government had become too strong on the guidance of federalists led by Alexander Hamilton. Through Jefferson’s idealism and his association with the average American, and his increasing attacks on what he called ‘federalist tyranny’, Jefferson was able to change the political landscape to win the 1800 general elections.

In 1808, James Madison succeeded Jefferson as the president of the United States. Behind the scenes, the so-called jeffersonians’ and the federalists still had their influence on the state. Their main difference arose from the issue of war with Britain that begun in 1812. This war was highly supported by the democratic-republicans (jeffersonians) and strongly opposed by the federalists (Hamiltonians). The aftermath of the war, (a win for Americans) dealt a great blow to the federalists and this marked the start of the federalists decline as a political force in United States politics.


Through the adoption of the constitution of the United States of America and its subsequent amendments, the people (citizens) of the United States have been able to enjoy life over the years. The constitution has made it possible for the state governments to implement laws that have led to the level of advancement that is existence today in United States society.

Through the roles of the founding fathers of the united states the American citizen can afford to sit back and enjoy his/her life.

United States History 1607-1877


George B. Tindall (1984), America: a narrative history, Norton, New York.