Front Page Titles (by Subject) The Constitution Establishes a Consolidated Empire - Liberty, Order, and Justice: An Introduction to the Constitutional Principles of American Government
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The Constitution Establishes a Consolidated Empire - James McClellan, Liberty, Order, and Justice: An Introduction to the Constitutional Principles of American Government 
Liberty, Order, and Justice: An Introduction to the Constitutional Principles of American Government (3rd ed.) (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2000).
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The Constitution Establishes a Consolidated Empire
Thus the Anti-Federalists’ main objection to the proposed Constitution was that it created a central government that was too strong. “We drew the spirit of liberty from our British ancestors,” Patrick Henry told the delegates of the Virginia ratifying convention, and “by that spirit we have triumphed over every difficulty. But now, Sir, the American spirit, assisted by the ropes and chains of consolidation, is about to convert this country to a powerful and mighty empire. If you make the citizens of this country agree to become the subjects of one great consolidated empire of America, your government will not have sufficient energy to keep them together. Such a government is incompatible with the genius of republicanism. There will be no checks, no real balances in this government.” Like other Anti-Federalists, Henry saw no need for a powerful Federal government, preferring instead a loose-knit confederation that allowed the States to determine their own needs and interests. Why, asked Henry, should Virginia, a State with a large population, vast resources, and extensive territory, compromise its sovereignty and share power with smaller, less influential States? Given the great political, economic, cultural, and geographical differences among the States, was a powerful union either possible or desirable?
The Anti-Federalists did not think so. “Agrippa,” the pseudonym of a Boston Anti-Federalist, warned the citizens of Massachusetts that the new Constitution was impractical and dangerous. “We find,” he said,
that the very great empires have always been despotic. … It is impossible for one code of laws to suit Georgia and Massachusetts. … This new system is, therefore, a consolidation of all the States into one larger mass, however diverse the parts may be of which it is composed. The idea of an uncompounded republic, on an average, one thousand miles in length, and eight hundred in breadth, and containing six million white inhabitants all reduced to the same standard of morals or habits, and of laws, is in itself an absurdity and contrary to the whole experience of mankind. The attempt made by Great Britain to introduce such a system struck us with horror, and when it was proposed by some theorist that we should be represented in Parliament, we uniformly declared that one legislature could not represent so many different interests for the purposes of legislation and taxation. This was the leading principle of the revolution.