Constitutional Powers: the Founders vs. the Progressives

Constitutional Powers:
The Founders vs. the Progressives
By Wesley Cambron
Nov. 2011

    Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Thomas Paine, George Whitefield, George Mason, Benjamin Franklin and Samuel Adams; those seven names are among those vital fifty six men whom founded our great country, the United States of America. After a long, costly and intense war against not just imperial England, but at the time the world’s main source of tyranny, for the freedom of a budding country, revolutionary and extraordinary documents were written-- the Declaration of Independence, written and ratified in 1776, and the Constitution for the United States of America, created in 1787.
  Both documents are drastically important, yet feverishly debated over. The Constitution is to grant the power over the nation. The question remains: to whom? Even back in its conception, battle lines were drawn for a strong, powerful and central government led by the federal government and the elite privileged (those supporters were led by Alexander Hamilton and the Federalist party) and those whom wanted a limited and weak federal government in which the power is to the people and the states (those supporters were led by Patrick Henry and his Anti-Federalist party). Both sides wanted freedom; they just couldn’t agree exactly how to obtain it.
  The Framers of the Constitution were reminded how desperate the new country needed a working government in the form of Shay’s Rebellion of 1786. Dan Shay and his neighbors revolted against the elites of the city in frustration of foreclosure. While in Paris, Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter after hearing about Shay’s Rebellion in which he wrote “A little rebellion now and then is good thing... The tree of liberty must be refreshed time to time by the blood of patriots and tyrants.” (Davis, 1990, pg. 110) Due to the revolt, it was clear to the Framers that a national government was truly needed to protect its citizens; whether it is an act of war...