Early republic, antifederalism, standing army, ratification, constitution, political philosophy
The severely neglected subject of Antifederalism is the focal point of this project. As the framing ideology opposed to the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, Antifederalism has not been treated with the same historical care as Federalism, the successful and currently operational ideology. This is both an intellectual and ethical mistake that ignores the role that Antifederalism played in procuring the Bill of Rights, and still plays in the sphere of political dissent. The de facto successors to the Revolutionary mentality, Antifederalists took it upon themselves to conclusively secure the American conception of liberty, already wrested from British hands, from a growing threat—those whom they deemed domestic imperialists. Even Thomas Jefferson, architect of the Declaration of Independence, espoused the principles behind Antifederalism, especially when confronted with those of Hamiltonian Federalism. Moreover, Jefferson’s Revolution of 1800, which gave rise to the Democratic-Republicans, consisted of many former Antifederalists. While wholly relevant and increasingly indispensible, the few studies that do examine Antifederalism fall short of finding or acknowledging its lasting significance, owing to supposed internal dissension, socioeconomic in nature. However, Antifederalists featured ideological unanimity in at least one area: opposition to standing armies. This opposition is evident in both the theoretical (why they were against standing armies) and practical (what to do about it) areas. The imperial legacy of hostility, a historical and lived experience for Americans of the time, drove Antifederalists to make their objections to ratification obvious, of which the standing army issue played the most elemental part. Informed and inspired by this lengthy history of distrust for military forces maintained in time of peace, which included their own Revolution, Antifederalists sought to safeguard their liberties from future encroachments, for future generations. By arguing iii that Antifederalists, regardless of region or class, objected to standing armies, this thesis seeks to elevate Antifederalism to its rightful place in the contexts of political history and the encompassing American tale.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic, Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities
Brand, Charles, "The Bane Of Liberty: Opposition To Standing Armies As The Basis Of Antifederalist Thought" (2013). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2735.