A complement to a lesson covering the Federalists and their influence over the Constitutional Convention, this lesson is intended to help students understand the Anti-Federalist perspective. By the conclusion of this lesson, students should be able to explain the differences between Federalists and Anti-Federalists. Students will be able to assess and sort both perspectives and identify the importance of Anti-Federalist views in shaping the Constitution as we know it.
Making the Constitution (CKHG Unit)
Students who listen to this Grade 2 Core Knowledge History and Geography unit discover that Americans had a difficult task at hand after winning the Revolutionary War: they had to figure out a better way to govern themselves. Such leaders as James Madison, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and Benjamin Franklin traveled to Philadelphia to meet at the Constitutional Convention, with the goal of creating a new government. Students learn that the talks were held in secret in Independence Hall and that American leaders argued about many issues until they agreed to approve a new Constitution. They then hear that James Madison (whom we call the Father of the Constitution), along with John Jay and Alexander Hamilton, wrote the Federalist Papers to explain the document’s merits and to persuade the states to vote for it. Students find out that the states did finally approve the Constitution; that Madison wrote a Bill of Rights that was added to it; that the Constitution gives the American people the right to decide what the laws should be for our country; and that we can still amend it today.(5 lessons)
Discover the documents at the bedrock of our nation’s founding and understand the fundamental ideas from each of the documents, and the major principles of the U.S. Constitution. Primary sources include the Declaration of Independence, Articles of the Confederation, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, Federalist papers (#51, #70, #78), Brutus #1, and the amazing Letter from the Birmingham City Jail. Check out the National Constitution Center’s learning module for more resources!
Federalist No. 10
The Federalist Papers
A series of 85 articles written anonymously by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. Originally published in New York newspapers, the papers were designed to convince New Yorkers to ratify the Constitution. Today, the Federalist Papers help clarify what the Constitution’s authors intended.
Founding Documents: Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers Podcast
Ten days after the Constitution was signed at the Old Philadelphia State House, an anonymous op-ed appeared in the New York Journal. Signed by “”Cato,” it cautioned readers of the new Constitution to take it with a grain of salt. Even the wisest of men, it warned, can make mistakes. This launched a public debate that would last months, pitting pro-Constitution Federalists against Constitution-wary Anti-Federalists. It was a battle for ratification, and it resulted in a glimpse into the minds of our Framers – and a concession that would come to define American identity.
Our guides through the minds of the Federalists and Anti-Federalists are Claire Griffin and Cheryl Cook-Kallio.
This short episode includes a one-page Graphic Organizer for students to take notes on while listening, as well as discussion questions on the back side.
Lesson 1: Anti-federalist Arguments Against “A Complete Consolidation”
This lesson focuses on the chief objections of the Anti-federalists, especially The Federal Farmer (Richard Henry Lee), Centinel, and Brutus, regarding the extended republic. Students will become familiar with the larger issues surrounding this debate, including the nature of the American Union, the difficulties of uniting such a vast territory with a diverse multitude of regional interests, and the challenges of maintaining a free republic as the American people moved toward becoming a nation.
Lesson 2: The Federalist Defense of Diversity and “Extending the Sphere”
This lesson involves a detailed analysis of Alexander Hamilton’s and James Madison’s arguments in favor of the extended republic in The Federalist Nos. 9, 10 and 51. Students consider and understand in greater depth the problem of faction in a free republic and the difficulty of establishing a government that has enough power to fulfill its responsibilities, but which will not abuse that power and infringe on liberties of citizens.
Alexander Hamilton Primary Source Documents
Alexander Hamilton, the subject of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s eponymous Broadway show, influenced the drafting the United States Constitution, ensured its ratification, and helped to save the fledgling nation from financial ruin. Learn more about Hamilton’s role at the Constitutional Convention, New York Ratifying Convention, and in drafting the famous Federalist Papers by exploring historical documents in the ConSource digital library.
The Federalist Debates: Balancing Power Between State and Federal Governments
This series of activities introduces students to one of the most hotly debated issues during the formation of the American government — how much power the federal government should have — or alternatively, how much liberty states and citizens should have.
By tracing the U.S. federal system of government to its roots, established by America’s Founding Fathers in the late 18th century, student examine the controversial issue of state sovereignty versus federal power. Students compare the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution, analyzing why weaknesses in the former led to the creation of the latter. Then they examine the resulting system of government formed by the Constitution.