Faculty Research at Morehead State University

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2019


Federalists and Anti-Federalists were different kinds of republicans insofar as they offered opposite solutions to the perennial problem of republican government. The Anti-Federalists hoped to minimize faction by cultivating piety, self-control, and patriotism in the citizenry. The Federalists rejected the traditional approach. Instead, they unleashed the selfish passions for the sake of economic and military strength. To mitigate the pernicious effects of faction along economic lines, they designed the constitutional order to channel elite ambition in service to the republic. They seem not to have foreseen, however, that in unleashing human greed they risked creating an environment that would corrupt the ambition of those very elite, a problem made worse by the advent of political party. This article investigates the reasons Federalists did not institutionalize mechanisms to perpetuate those attributes of civic character that their regime in fact presumes, as well as disagreements among Federalists on the importance of religion and public morality to a well-ordered republic.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.