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A Revolution in Favor of GovernmentOrigins of the U.S. Constitution and the Making of the American State$
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Max. M Edling

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195148701

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0195148703.001.0001

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Conclusion: The Constitution, the Federalists, and the American State

Conclusion: The Constitution, the Federalists, and the American State

Chapter:
(p.219) Conclusion: The Constitution, the Federalists, and the American State
Source:
A Revolution in Favor of Government
Author(s):

Max. M Edling

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195148703.003.0016

The conclusion ends the book with an explication of the Federalists’ idea of an American national state.

It starts by pointing out that the ratification of the US Constitution did not mean the end of politics, nor the end of the debate about the future course of the American republic, for now the Federalists faced the next step of state building: creating the institutions of government that would realize their ideas about a national state in America. The mainstream interpretation of the Federalist argument presents it as a call for limited government and protection of minority rights, but this study has offered a different interpretation. It sees the Federalist argument as an attempt to convince the American public about the need to build a powerful state and to explain how this state would work – the idea of an American national state that the Federalists developed during the ratification debate was the result of creative thinking in the face of serious challenges. This conclusion is devoted to an explication of both the challenge that the Federalists faced and the concept of the state they developed, but the basic issue may be summed up as follows: what the Federalists had to do, and what they did, in the debate over ratification, was to develop a conceptual framework that made it possible to accommodate the creation of a powerful national government to the strong anti‐statist current in the American political tradition.

Keywords:   American national state, American political tradition, anti‐statism, Federalism, national government, powerful government, ratification, US Constitution, USA

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