Sometimes I wonder if gentlemen such as Mason, Patrick Henry, George Clinton, James Winthrop and all the other Anti-Federalists were correct. It is too bad that Thomas Jefferson was in Paris as the first US Ambassador to France at the time of the writing of the Constitution; his input could have made a great deal of difference.
It is not that the Constitution is flawed per se, it's just that there were so many compromises made, and so little of it dealt with the extraordinary rights of the people, and too much dealt with the rights and balances of power of the different branches of government.
If this was not so, there would not have been a need for the Bill of Rights, that is, the first 10 amendments, which several states insisted upon, and would not join the the Republic until they were added.
Therefore, of course, those amendments became part of the Constitution. And now, 220 years later, we have a federal judiciary that concludes the Commerce clause has more authority than the 10th amendment. Dang it, both are part of the Constitution, and since it was deemed necessary to AMEND the document with items such as the 10th, it should always be given more consideration, not less.
The biggest problem with the Constitution turns out to be just as Mason said—the men who “follow” it. They've made a mess out of it, and have to often got it wrong in giving power to the government rather than to the people and the states.
In my reading of the Convention debates, as well as a book on the State ratifications, it is fair to say the fundamental difference between the federalists and anti-federalists was how long each thought the republic would endure before sliding into tyranny.
Without making any hard estimates in terms of years, the anti-federalists thought despotic government was just around the corner. The federalists thought it much further off.
I am convinced none would have thought we would last so long, for a republic can only reflect the values of its people.
Interesting personal page. I see we shared the same barracks.
The biggest problem... We now have a Congress— and a Court, and an Executive all of which believe they have been given the power to make the Constitution a thing of wax in their hands i.e. it is a Living Constitution. The Patriot Post has begun a class action lawsuit to ask the Court to decide if solemn Oaths administered mean anything —if we the people have any right to expect our Govt. honor the oaths taken?