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Overall it is hit and miss. Ketcham gives a VERY detailed review of the Constitutional Convention (180 pages). If you have read The Federalist Papers then you can probably skip it. He does provide a fine annotated bibliography at the end (this is one of those things that separates good books from great ones).Summarizing the Anti-Federalist Position(1) It is agreed that the Articles were defective, but that does not logically prove that the new Constitution is good (Melancton Smith).(2) The problem of representation: In any representative government, there must be a proportion between the size of the population and the ones representing that population. So far, that’s common sense. But when you have a large population, you must either have [1] a small representation, or [2] an extremely large representation. If [1], then you have oligarchy and tyranny. If [2], you have chaos. Therefore a third position is needed: [3] new republics. Republican government by necessity MUST remain small(ish).(3) The problems in the country aren’t so much the fault of the confederation itself, but simply that the people haven’t yet fully recovered from the war (“Federal Farmer” 258).(4) Further complicating the problem was that paper currency (and all its instabilities) was introduced during the war and the people were only now overcoming that debt system. And it bears noting that the Anti-Federalists were militantly anti-usury (Dewitt 191)..(5) The constitutional convention was called in secrecy (238).(6) A very extensive territory cannot be governed on the principles of freedom, otherwise than by a confederation of Republics (242).(7) Intermediating structures have been negated. Congress has direct power over the purse to tax. Previously in agricultural and quasi-anarchist societies, the commune or district mediated the tax burden between the man and government.(8) Since the number of representatives is so small, the ones who represent will always be part of the monied elite (e.g., Goldman Sachs, Koch brothers, etc).(9) Interestingly enough, the anti-Federalists appear to reject the idea, quite republican in itself, of the Senate electing the president (252). They saw the president as always being buddies with the Senators.(10) The power to tax directly is inversely proportionate to liberty. The anti-federalists predicted the rise of the IRS.Conclusions and impressions:The Federalist ideas aren’t wrong as long as you have a unified people sharing a common bond of love (cf Augustine, City of God, Bk. 19.24). And if it is a small area, then it should work. But since self-government is strained (if not impossible) over larger areas, then The Federalist becomes a manifesto for Empire.As it stood the Anti-Federalist program, while godly and ensuring liberty, was inadequate. There really wasn’t a way to withstand a foreign invader (though to be fair, invading a forested, hill-country like America, protected by 2,000 miles of ocean, isn’t easy). What is needed is something like the Russian-CIS federation, where a collection of republics find their leadership and direction from a larger, stronger republic like Russia. Such a republic would respect the autonomy and culture of the smaller ones.But that seems to point back towards the Anti-Federalists’ complaint: what is the difference between this situation and that of a larger republic like Virginia crowding out smaller ones? Admittedly, in 1787 there wasn’t a good answer to this. However, today, there might be one: Russia, to go back to that example, cannot survive an economic war with the West. However, smaller republics like Kazakhstan and larger countries like China can band together with Russia in an economic alliance that would counter any move the Atlanticists make. Russia, therefore, would have a vested interests in keeping the smaller republics strong and unique in order to form a counter to Atlantis.The parallels are worth exploring.

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