The central debate between Federalists and Anti-Federalists was where power was going to be located. Anti-Federalists were convinced that power would be consolidated into a national government, while Federalists insisted that power would be shared between the two levels. In Federalist 39, Madison clarifies the republican nature of the newly proposed government and how it exemplifies shared powers.
FEDERALIST 39 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
- How does Madison define a republic?
- What arguments does he offer for the republican character of the Constitution? Provide three specific examples to illustrate the republican principles of the Constitution.
- How does Madison respond to the claim that the Constitution created a national rather than a federal (what we consider confederal) form of government? What different aspects of the Constitution does he consider in responding to that claim?
- What historical events or trends have changed the balance of power between the states and the federal government?
MCCULLOCH V. MARYLAND DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
- What are the two central questions raised by this case?
- How does the Court answer these two questions? What rationale (constitutional clauses) does the Court use to explain its decision?
- Compare the Court’s reasoning with the concerns raised by Brutus regarding the power of the government.
- How would our nation be different today if the Court had decided differently?
A few more resources on McCulloch v. Maryland: