Essay and Focus Questions Partisan Politics



Read Chapter Nine in the US History E-Book in preparation for this topic then answer these questions.


1. The Articles of Confederation are often described as as “weak” national governent, why do you think the delegates to the 2nd Continental Congress drew up such a weak document?


2. List the main problems encountered in drafting the Constitution of 1787.  How were these problems solved? 


3. Some historians say that the Constitution was a conservative reaction against the liberalism of the Articles of Confederation.  How was the Constitution less demoncratic than the Articles?


4. Why was the Bill of Rights added to the Constitution?  How did these amendments change the character of the Constitution?


After answering questions write and essay:


Essay: Partisan Politics


At the time of ratification of the U.S. Constitution, the new American nation of the early nineteenth century found its citizens divided in their political views. Those who favored a strong central government and thus a restriction of the powers possessed by the states belonged to the Federalist Party; those who believed that the Constitution should be interpreted so as to limit the power of the national government, thus giving additional power to the states, joined the Republican Party. The Federalists, therefore, espoused a nationalistic view; the Republicans, though they would not deny the efficacy of a national government, believed that definite rights should be reserved to the states. This activity will help you better understand how ideals embraced at the time of the nation’s founding still effect contemporary American society as well as help you develop skills in critical thinking and organization. (Meets Course Objectives: 7, 9, and 12)

Primary Sources


(1) You must write an essay explaining the political philosophy of either the Federalists OR the Republicans an


For your essay, you must read the primary sources listed above and examine them for a Federalist OR a Republican point of view. Then you must write an essay explaining on the political philosophy of ONE of these parties.

Focus Question:

Your essay should address the following questions: What did the party believe about the role of the government and why did they adopt these views?


Your essay should have an introduction, supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion. The introduction should present your thesis (i.e., your answer to the question listed above) and the conclusion should summarize your findings. In the supporting paragraphs, you should include specific examples (quotations or paraphrases) from the primary sources for this activity.

You must also follow the conventions of grammar, style, and citations covered in a freshman level composition course. Regarding grammar and style, you should proofread your work carefully because spell and grammar check do not catch all errors. FYI: It is best to write about the past in the past tense as the events you discuss have long since ended. If you struggle with grammar and spelling, you have the option to submit your essay to Smarthinking Online Tutoring for assistance. Regarding citations, you must provide numerical  citations in the text for all of the information that you looked up in your sources and you must include correspondingly numbered footnotes or end notes to document the source of these citations.

Do not use the first person in a scholarly essay.  If you wish to express your personal opinion you may do so, but use skilful writing to do so and not the first person.  No I’s in your essay.

When you complete your essay, submit your work to the Dropbox for the Unit 4, Essay on Partisan Politics.





After The Essay:


After you have written your essay on either Republicanism or Federalism, you will participate in a follow up discussion. (Meets Course Learning Objectives: 7, 9, and 12).



Focus Questions:


Use the following questions to guide your thinking and to prepare for the class discussion.


  • Why did the Republicans believe in strict Constitutional interpretation?
  • What danger did the Republicans see in giving seemingly unlimited powers to the national government?
  • How did the Federalists think the Constitution should be interpreted?
  • Think of the national government as a horse and the Constitution as either a set of spurs or a set of reins.  Which of the two parties would use it as a set of spurs to make the government horse go faster and which would use it as a set of reins to slow down the government horse?
  • What reasons did the Federalists give in their writings to support the idea of a strong national government?
  • How do the Federalists and the Republicans of the 1790s compare to the Republicans and Democrats of the twenty-first century?
  • Pleas try to find a quote by Thomas Jefferson which illustrates his political opinions.




After making your initial post, you should respond to at least two of your classmates. Please remember to proofread your posts before you submit them as well as to list any relevant sources you used as evidence for this portion of the assignment.If someone challenges your interpretation of the evidence, be sure to respond specifically to that challenge in the course of the discussion.



Consult the Course Calendar for HIST 2111 for the appropriate due dates for these tas

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