The issue seemed clearer to some (but not all) in 1787. When the Constitution was presented for ratification in Virginia the issues were much better understood than they are today. Of course people back then had not had the dubious “benefit” of our government school system with its obfuscations and omittances regarding our history. It was pretty well understood in Virginia, as well as in other areas, that the issue was a strong federalism, or centralism, as opposed to a loose confederacy of state governments where states rights were to be the rule–the dreaded (by historians) Compact Theory!
In his speeches against ratification Patrick Henry noted that the delegates in Philadelphia had overstepped their bounds in that they had not been sent there with power to create a central government, but only to amend the Articles of Confederation.
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