States rights proponents were concerned that the smaller states would not have equal representation. The Articles call for different representation than eventually passed in the Constitution: "No State shall be represented in Congress by less than two nor by more than seven members and no delegate shall be capable of being a delegate for more than three years" (Article Five). The Constitution, developing both equal and proportional representation inn the Senate and the House changed that, as did term limits which occurred only in the 20th century.
The essential concern is the unequal representation as written in the Constitution. "It leaves the powers of government and the representation of the people so unnaturally divided between the general and state governments, that the operation of our system must be very uncertain" (Allen & Lloyd 2002 78). This may be one of the first "official" discussions of states' rights versus the central federal government.
Both the Articles and the eventual Constitution developed a political group called the "anti-federalists." "The greatest concern of the anti-federalists, in endorsing the Constitution, is that it might diminish the equality of the various states. "The essential feature of the Anti-federalist disposition was not dismemberment of the union; rather the essential 'federal principle' endorsed by a union of equal states" (Allen & Lloyd 2002 77). This the Articles of Confederation also endorsed. The specter of a central government in control seemed to spook many of the Anti-federalists, feeling that the rights of their individual states would now be subservient to a strong central government, where the needs and priorities of the individual states might be secondary.
It is this concern with a strong central government that seems to frighten those people who believe that the needs of individual states and its citizens should be paramount, especially since the majority of dele...
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