Anti-Federalist Papers: Brutus No.1 eLesson
In order to develop a comprehensive understanding of the American Founding, it is important to also understand the Anti-Federalist objections to the ratification of the Constitution. Among the most important of the Anti-Federalist writings are the essays of Brutus. Although it has not been definitively established, these essays are generally attributed to Robert Yates. The Brutus essays provide the most direct and compelling rebuttal of the Federalist argument. This lesson provides a summation of arguments made in Brutus’ first essay written to the citizens of the state of New York.
Questions to Consider
- Which form of government (a large national republic or a confederation of small republics) is more likely to preserve and protect personal liberties and why?
Can a larger republic, based on the principle of consent of the governed, sufficiently protect the rights and liberties of the individual states and people, or is a confederation the only method of securing such liberty?
Should the federal legislature be able to repeal state laws in order to impose federal laws for the purpose of promoting the general welfare or common defense of the nation? If so, why? If not, why?
Brutus argues that in a republic, “the manners, sentiments, and interests of the people should be similar…if not, there will be a constant clashing of opinions and the representatives of one part will be constantly striving against the other.”Should a republic be made up of a small group of like-minded people? Or, is diversity of opinion beneficial to the success of a federal government?