D. B. Q. 4: Ratifying the Constitution The Constitution of the United States was written in 1787, yet there was a struggle for its ratification that went on until 1790. Members of Congress believed that the Articles of Confederation, the first government of the United States, needed to be altered while others did not want change. After the Revolutionary War, the people did not want a strong central government, because it reminded them too much of what they were trying to escape. Under the Articles, each state had their own laws, and the need for a new Constitution was desired by many.
This desired Constitution created a huge dispute and an argument between people who wanted things to stay the way they were and people who urged to change the Articles. The people who desired change in government were called Federalists. James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and Ben Franklin were all a part of the Federalists. The Federalists believed that the economy was in turmoil because of the Articles (Doc 1). Under the Articles each state had its own currency which created a problem for interstate trade. Another issue that the Federalists had was that the rich were not making money.
On August 1, 1786, George Washington wrote a letter addressed to John Jay stating that they “have errors to correct”. In saying this Washington agrees in the fact that the Articles needed to be revised. The Federalists believed that the government trusted the people with too many rights. The states were allowed to refuse the Federal government whenever they chose. The new country that was trying to establish themselves, weren’t united, but instead “thirteen sovereign, independent, disunited States” (Doc 3). The central government didn’t have enough power under the Articles.
The Federalists believed that even though they didn’t want to be ruled again like they were under England’s rule, that it was necessary to have a strong central government. Anti-federalists were the people who believed that the Articles were working perfectly fine and it would be unnecessary to change them. Two of the major leaders of this group were Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson, who was overseas during this time. The Anti-Federalists thought that under the Articles people had the rights that they rightfully deserved. Under the Articles, the poor people benefitted greatly.