The federalists and the anti-federalists debated what form of democracy should be formed over the newly founded United States of America. Should the country have an overarching government, or should the states maintain the power to govern themselves? This debate still rings true to this day because America still has conflicts between the states and the federal government. Just one of the most common examples would be the civil rights movement. During the 1950s the states and the federal government were put into opposition because a group of people demanded action from their government that is supposed to protect their rights. The segregationists wanted blacks to remain segregated, but this violated their rights to life, liberty, and happiness. African Americans eventually got the supreme court to ban segregation with the Brown v. Board of Education case. This was an important case that shows that the laws of the federal government are more important than state laws.
States cannot infringe on the rights of its citizens that are given by the federal government. This is important because the country needs to keep a check on the states. However, how do the citizens check on the federal government? In the 1940s, shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. government started putting Japanese Americans into internment camps. They were completely stripped of their rights and taken from their homes. Who was able to stop the government from infringing on its citizens rights when this happened? No one. Here is a webpage for further information about the atrocious act committed by the American government that mimicked Hitler.
The closest institution that we have is probably the supreme court. Cases are brought to the supreme court and determined whether or not they are constitutional. However, not all supreme court decisions protect the citizens rights by the constitution. For example, in 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson determined that segregation was constitutional so long as things were separate but equal. Only later was it determined that separate was not equal.
Furthermore, there are supreme court cases in the last ten years that infringe on the rights of citizens but have been determined constitutional. Citizens United v Federal Election Commission determined that businesses were allowed to create political campaigns that advocate for or against a candidate, so long as the company does not do this through the candidate. By granting citizens rights to companies, it takes away from the voice of the citizens. The average citizen does not have the money to create a campaign advocating for one candidate or another, so why should big business be able to influence so many citizens with their money. By not regulating money in political campaigns, it allows for only those with money to be able to compete. This takes away the ability of the average American to run for office, as well as takes away the voice from the people and gives it to the corporations of America.
While the federalists and the anti-federalists may have disagreed, they both firmly believed in the rights of individual. Both sides would feel ashamed that the citizens of America are losing their voice in American politics. The federalists and anti-federalists were able to come to a compromise to try and protect the country, as well as its citizens, from this very thing. It seems the political elites in this nation will remain in power, until the citizens choose to do something about it. When that will be, I don’t know.