Benson: The Antifederalists Were Right on Target

A couple days ago someone forwarded me an article from November 17, 2019 by Gary M. Galles about the Antifederalists who opposed the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. Mr. Galles felt the Antifederalists were pretty much on target with their objections to the Constitution and over the years I’ve felt the same way. The Christian statesman Patrick Henry, who I have high regard for, was an Antifederalist.

Henry felt that the convention in Philadelphia in 1787 had exceeded its authority when it gave us a new constitution rather than amending the Articles of Confederation, which is what the delegates had been sent there to do.

I’ll pass along some of Mr. Galles’ comments so you all can see where he’s coming from. Mr. Galles observed: “Everyone knows about the Federalists who pushed the Constitution. But far less known are the Antifederalists who warned with good reason against the creation of a new centralized government, and just after so much blood had been spilled getting rid of one. The first of the Antifederalist papers appeared in 1789. The Antifederalists were opponents of ratifying the U.S. Constitution as it would create what would become an overbearing central government.” Can anyone today honestly say that’s not what we have?

Mr. Galles continued: “As the losers in that debate, they are largely overlooked today. But that does not mean the were wrong or that we are not indebted to them. In many ways the group has been misnamed. Federalism refers to the system of decentralized government. This group defended states’ rights – the very essence of federalism – against the Federalists, who would have been more accurately described as Nationalists. Nevertheless, what they predicted would be the results of the Constitution turned out to be true in most every respect. The Antifederalists warned us that the cost Americans would bear in both liberty and resources for the government that would evolve under the Constitution would rise sharply. That is why their objections led to the Bill of Rights to limit that tendency.” Patrick Henry had contended for 19 amendments, but we only ended up with 10. Better than nothing, but not the whole loaf!

And something else you should notice about the amendments, which many probably have not. For the first twelve amendments, they are prefaced with “Congress shall make no law.” From the 13th amendment on, several of them state, quite forthrightly, “Congress shall have the power to enforce…” There’s a decided change in direction here from “Congress shall make no law” to “Congress shall have the power to enforce.”

Galles continued: “Antifederalists opposed the Constitution on the grounds that its checks on federal power would be undermined by expansive interpretations of promoting the ‘general welfare’ (which would be claimed for every law and the ‘all laws necessary and proper’ clause which would be used to override limits on delegated federal powers) creating a federal government with unwarranted and undelegated powers that were bound to be abused.”

There were some things the Antifederalists could not have foreseen, but given their time in history they could hardly be blamed for that. For instance, Galles notes that “…they could not have foreseen how the 14th Amendment and its interpretation would extend federal domination over the states after the Civil War. But despite that it is very difficult to argue with their conclusions in light of the current reach of our government, which doesn’t just intrude upon, but often overwhelms Americans today. Therefore, it merits remembering the Antifederalists’ prescient arguments and how unfortunate is the virtual absence of modern Americans who share their concerns.”

                That “goddamned piece of paper” – again

There was a lot in Galles’ article I couldn’t put in. However, noting that he wrote back five years ago while Trump was still in office and that we are currently under the domination of Obama’s unofficial third term, with Demoncrats currently on tap who are planning to steal Obama’s unofficial fourth term for him, can we honestly say anything has gotten any better? Only those prone to wild delusion would claim such – but that might include most Demon-crats and a goodly number of Republicans! We live in an apostate age of leftist political offal being spread liberally over all and every subject imaginable. The ability to discern truth is seldom visible among us.

A good exercise for us might well be to study the Antifederalists and what they believed and why they believed it. We might learn something that would benefit us in this day of political delusion. And we might well learn where our government has screwed up–on purpose! A study of Antifederalist beliefs might well reveal even yet more of our history that has been denied us because our elitist betters have decided we didn’t need to know all that stuff. Undoubtedly that’s better for them than for us. Keeps all those embarrassing questions from being asked.

June 27, 2024

~ The Author ~
Al Benson Jr. is the editor and publisher of “The Copperhead Chronicle“, a quarterly newsletter that presents history from a pro-Southern and Christian perspective. He has written for several publications over the years. His articles have appeared in “The National Educator,” “The Free Magnolia,” and the “Southern Patriot.” I addition he was the editor of, and wrote for, “The Christian Educator” for several years. In addition to The Copperhead Chronicles, Al also maintains Revised History.

He is currently a member of the Confederate Society of America and the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and has, in the past, been a member of the John Birch Society. He is the co-author, along with Walter D. Kennedy, of the book “Lincoln’s Marxists” and he has written for several Internet sites as well as authoring a series of booklets, with tests, dealing with the War of Northern Aggression, for home school students.

Mr. Benson is a highly respected scholar and writer and has graciously allowed the family of Kettle Moraine Publications to publish his works. We are proud to have his involvement with each of our projects.

One thought on “Benson: The Antifederalists Were Right on Target

  1. Justin O Smith

    Thank You, Mr Benson! Your history lesson and assessment of our current situation is spot on accurate. I’ve long been a huge fan of the Anti-Federalists for every reason they stood against the ratification of the Constitution but primarily due to the gift of the Bill of Rights, without which we would have reached our current juncture in time a whole lot sooner.

    And from its earliest days, one proponent for Big Government after the next has slowly chipped away at and eroded what few rights were embedded within the Constitution, from Marbury vs Madison on through Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus and states’ sovereignty and the Wilson Era’s further bastardization of the Constitution and FDR’s New Deal and Johnson’s Great Society. With each massive push towards Big Govt and more government services came an expansion of tyrannical-minded government bureaucracies and greater infringements on individual liberty.

    Now, every damned day we see another example of an out-of-control oversized federal government and men and women who have little to no regard for America’s virtues and principles doing any damned thing they are of a mind to do, and no matter the legality of their actions. Rule by fiat and edict is the rule of the day and the lawless people in charge — who have captured our government mechanisms, the machine itself — are destroying our justice system and our republic, fundamentally transforming our nation into one whereby their asinine unhinged communist idiotic utterances are what passes for “the law” today.

    Thank You Again, Mr Benson. May we live long enough to see a better day in this America we love so well, and our enemies driven from these shores or left dead by the hundreds of thousands, millions even, where they drop, so that future generations will live free in full and righteous liberty long after we’re dead and gone.

    ~ Justin O Smith

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