201 internautes sur 211 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
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I highly recommend "The Anti-Federalist Papers and the Constitutional Convention Debates" along with the companion volume "The Federalist Papers." Reading these two books will give you both sides of the arguments that revolved around the creation and adoption of our Constitutional government. "The Anit-Federalist Papers.." contains an excellent introduction by Ralph Ketcham, the complete Anti-Federalist papers and Constitutional Convention Debates with commentaries, an Index of Ideas, and cross-references to "The Federalist Papers."
The original intent of the Convention of States was to simply amend the Articles of Confederation, but instead it set out to frame an entirely new constitution. The Conventional debates began on May 29, 1787, in Philadelphia, with the "Virginia Plan" as the topic of the debates. This was James Madison's plan to strengthen the national government. However, not all our founding fathers wanted a centralized government. Statesmen such as Patrick Henry and John DeWitt argued for a decentralized government with a minimal central government. These men saw that the government as depicted in the Constitution would not represent the people adequately and that rights and liberties recently won from England would be lost.
This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to learn about the political thought which shaped our Constitution.
76 internautes sur 78 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
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Everyone is probably familiar with what the Anti-Federalist papers are, and the other reviews do a great job of explaining this aspect for those who aren't, so there is no great need to do it again. Needless to say, familiarity with the basic Anti-Federalist arguments and their general themes is essential to understanding the foundation from which the Constitution arose and the twists its historical development would undertake. Believe it or not, but strains of Anti-Federalism are apparent even in today's politics, like the arguments for state power found in debates about topics like abortion or gay-marriage.
The biggest question to ask before buying this book, then, isn't why the information is important, but why you should pay money for something that can be found for free online. There are several reasons, for which I give this edition 4 stars:
First, it is an accompaniment to the Signet Classics edition of the Federalist Papers, and has a variety of cross-references to it. If you have both, it makes the search for certain topics and both sides' arguments in its regard much easier.
Second, it has a great introduction. The problem with approaching the Anti-Federalists without any editorial priming beforehand (whether from an introduction, a class, or both) is that one becomes liable to think of the group as nothing but a rag-tag group of guys with as many different opinions as there are men professing them, whose only point of unity is their opposition to Federalism. Their negative name--the "Anti-"Federalists--implies this, after all, and Madison himself tries to play off this point in one of his papers. The masterful introduction tries to prevent this, by expounding on the fundamental, unifying vision of the Federalists, the Anti-Federalists, and exactly how the two differed.
Lastly, there is a variety of tables of ideas that make finding specific points of opposition to specific topics that much easier.
For these three reasons, on top of the simple fact that it groups together all the scattered Anti-Federalist essays (making it more likely that you will actually read them), I believe this book is worth the $8 that it costs today.
It does have some issues, however. First, the paper quality is the same as of the Federalist Papers edition I reviewed before, with the same associated defect of leaving ink blotches behind on your finger. For some reason, it actually leaves less ink than the Federalist Papers, but the pulpy texture is still unpleasant. Second, and most important, is the relatively sparsity of the essays included. As it is, if you take a class that touches on this topic, you will invariably end up having to find several essays online that were not included into this edition. There presently seems to be no medium alternative between buying a sparse edition like this and a full anthology that can cost into the thousands of dollars, however, so you're not likely to find anything better.
198 internautes sur 218 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
J. Fay Kelle (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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These often intense and firey speeches made by the Anti-Federalists or the detractors of the Constitution (as it was being written and then debated) are powerful, passionate and sharp enough to make one feel these words were meant to be weapons, i.e., the front line defense of the freedom and liberty we so easily take for granted today. I feel that much of what is wrong in our political system today was predicted here, and what would constitute the only real solution, i.e., active, democratic citizenship, is also demonstrated here in their willingness to fight against tyranny with reason and passion. How much greater our public debates would be today if this were required reading for all citizens! "Politics" would be thought well of again and refer to what citizens do in noble service to communities, close to home and far away. Do yourself a favor, get inspired again as to the original principles and purpose of democracy, read this book, and believe again! And do something!
278 internautes sur 346 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Kirk F. Mackenzie
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The Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist Papers contain the arguments and debate that surrounded the creation of the federal government. The Federalist Papers argue for a strong, centralized federal government. The Anti-Federalist Papers argue for decentralized government, with only the minimal central government necessary - a confederation - to provide for the common interests of the States without becoming a monarchy or dictatorship. It's good to read both sides. Those who feel the U.S. federal government has become too big and too intrusive may be surprised to find themselves more aligned with the Anti-Federalist Papers.
However, I would not recommend this edition. The editor is clearly Federalist. For example, his bias can be found at the bottom of page 214, where he inserts the comment "[Here Mr. Henry strongly and pathetically expatiated on the probability of the President's enslaving America and the horrible consequences that must result.]" Strongly? Pathetically? Expatiated? These are pretty strong words, certainly not the words of an unbiased historian. The "Mr. Henry" he is referring to is Patrick Henry, one of our nation's greatest patriots. The comment is inserted in the middle of one of Patrick Henry's speeches. The editor's bias casts doubt on the analysis, comments, historical reference, and background information he has inserted throughout the book, ostensibly to provide a frame of reference for better understanding the actual documents. If the frame of reference is tilted, your understanding risks being tilted.
Read the Anti-Federalist papers, by all means. But get an edition with no bias, or a bias in favor of the anti-federalist viewpoint.
43 internautes sur 52 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
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The Anti-Federalist Papers and the Constitutuional Convention Debates edited by Ralph Ketcham is the counter to the Federalist Papers we know so much about. Yes, debate was strong as were the opinions expressed by the people between 1765 and 1787, as nothing was certain and the fledgling United States of America was going through dissenting opinions and concepts to ensure that the threats to the rights and liberties that were recently won from England were not thrown to the wind.
To get a better knowledge of what was going on at that time in our history we need to read about what was really going on and how was the political climate. Reading the "Federalist Papers" will not give you a complete picture, a good start, yes, but the concept of a strong central government was looked upon as an infringement of individual and states rights. The constitutions ws looked upon, by some, as a threat. Thus, this volume, of dissenting opinions, is valuable to balance the thought process.
Patrick Henry and John DeWitt are but two of these men who had a different concept of what a federal govenment should be, as James Madison and Alexander Hamilton. Madison was primary in the consept of compromise or composite, partly national is that some powers impinged directly on the people (taxing power) and partly national as the states acted as "units" of a central government. This early on would be the ground work for dual-sovereignty, but with carefully laid out laws.
This book cross-references to the "Federalist Paper" making his an excellent book for the novice reader. Also, there are complete texts of the Anti-Federalist papers and Constitutional Convention Debates complete with commentaries and an Index of Ideas making the olume invaluable to anyone interested in political thought in action. As political independence required new mode of thinking, the United States became a hotbed of political thought about government. Thus, the next step was national indetity and to accomplish this they had to have a national government acting as one, a union and confederated government. As the debate flurished, giving rise to pamphlets, newspaper articles and other writings on questions of a representative government, eventually a quest for freer and more democratic government persisted.
This book has quite a lot of informantion in it and along with other readings makes the reader better prepared to underdstand as to why things are as they are, with respect to the Constitution of the United States, the oldest still-in-use.