The letters from the Federal Farmer argued that the proposed Constitution would give too much power to a central government.
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It has long been thought that Richard Henry Lee was the author of the letters under the name Federal Farmer, but some recent scholars believe Melancton Smith authored them. Either way you take it, it is the argument brought forth in the letters that should get the attention.
The Constitution as it was presented was only a few weeks old when these letters were written, but the content thereof was an opinion worthy of getting attention. It was the opinion of the writer that the proposed Constitution would make the government too powerful and that it was set up to take power from the states.
The proposition in the letters was that none other knew better for the people of one state than that of the same state. So, the view of centralizing all the power into the formation of a grand government was one that people were fearful of and in opposition of.
So, the author of the letters wished to offer three solutions to be taken under consideration.
- A federal plan.This plan gave the most power to the states, and that they would operate separately under the powers of congress. The federal government would take an advisory role, instead of a governing role.
- A complete consolidating plan. This was a plan that would centralize, and operate, the respective states under one entity. It would render all powers of the states to the government.
- A partial consolidating plan. This plan would offer the most separation of powers of the three. It would give separate and divided powers to a federal government, while still allowing the states to govern on their own.
Of these three plans, careful consideration was to take place on the direction of the Constitution. These Anti-Federalist views expressed in these letters were influential in the eventual passing of the Constitution and how the practice of government would be for the upcoming years. Even then was there an argument that the government had too much power.
With special thanks to Constituting America and Heritage College, we will be taking part in their project: The U.S. Constitution: A Reader. It is a 90 day challenge to learn and dive deeper into understanding the Constitution.