Need support both true and false for this statement: The Founding Fathers were right to be skeptical of government officials having too much power.While I can find plenty of evidence that the...

Need support both true and false for this statement: The Founding Fathers were right to be skeptical of government officials having too much power.

While I can find plenty of evidence that the Founding Fathers had every right to be skeptical of a strong central government, could some point me to information that would back the case for a strong central goverment?

I have read and re-read my text and cannot seem to find anything definitive about who supported a strong central government and reason for the support.

I have a paper to write is based on a true/false debate. The true portion is easy enough to support, the false portion has me scratching my head.

Expert Answers
kapokkid eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The other side of the argument, the idea that the central government can become too powerful and seek after things that are not in the best interests of the people.  In this case, that same seperation from the people likely to make "dumb" decisions can be very useful.  Patrick Henry was one of the folks who was very nervous about strengthening central government, afraid that it would only encourage the pursuit of empire and other grand things that would only be built upon the backs of the common man, not benefitting them in any way.

If you consider just a few things that the central government can do without any popular vote, perhaps you could argue that he was correct to be afraid.  The fact that Obama, who campaigned against the "drill, baby, drill" idea immediately started signing exemptions and leases for oil drilling upon entering office.

You could also look at the wars which have been fought without congressional approval and are sold as being "in the nation's best interest" but that is a debatable concept at best.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The main support for the idea of a strong central government came from the Federalists.  They thought that we needed to be more afraid of the people than of government officials.

If I were writing this, I would not exactly try to argue that we don't need to be skeptical of a powerful central government, but that we need to worry even more about powerful state governments.  The idea behind this was that states were too close to the people and the people could make really dumb decisions.

Some examples of this are things that happened in the US under the Articles of Confederation.  In some states, farmers had heavy debts and so they pushed their governments to do things like "stay laws" that forgave the debts or "legal tender laws" that let them pay in (less valuable) paper money.  This hurt the economy and it hurt the people who had lent the money.

So the idea is that a central government would be more distant from the people and less likely to indulge them by doing dumb things.

marbar57 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Having just come out from under the tyrannical rule of King George III, the leaders of the newly formed United States of America were very skeptical of giving too much power to any one man or group of men!  They were completely justified in their skepticism and took great pains to set up a government that would be just, wise and efficacious.  They took great pains to design a system of government with checks and balances in an effort to prevent tyrannical control, a system so thorough, yet so simple!  They wrote it all down in one of the greatest documents ever written--The Constitution! 

Say what you want, but I feel the founding fathers were completely justified in their skepticism of giving government officials too much power!



drmonica eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The current situation of education accountability K-12 is a classic instance where federal oversight and participation is spurring reform and better behavior by the states. Public education of minor children in the United States has been, since its inception, the provenance of the states, with strong participation by local boards of education.

The USDOE's Race to the Top requires that states who win the funding demonstrate willingness to embrace school choice, buy-in by the teachers' union, and commitment to closing the achievement gap. Without the federal money being dangled in front of them, state boards of education would be much slower to institute meaningful, lasting reform.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Yes, the power of government needs limitations, both in practice and in society.  There is a social contract John Locke spoke of, an agreement between the people and the government to allow them to have the power as long as the public trust is not violated.  When the contract is broken, people remove their governments, whether through elections or revolution.  There should always be a healthy skepticism of government power.  There should always be a healthy debate, and a justification for, increasing that power in any meaningful way.  Democracy depends on it.

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One word:  czars.  The Founding Fathers were brilliant people who believed in God and designed not only our government but also our nation's capital on those beliefs and principles.  The checks and balances system they put in place were meant to keep any one branch of government from having too much power...they never would have accepted the idea of appointed czars who, like the IRS, answer to no one and have absolute power to do whatever they deem necessary.  Scary!

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In response to #2, the other side of this debate is that powerful central governments worse than powerful state governments in some ways, because central governments make laws without the necessary knowledge of states and how those laws would apply in each state, each with its own very different context and situation. This could lead to massive problems.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Yes, the Founding Fathers were right to be skeptical about one person having too much power. This is why they put limitations on the president. It is actually one of the things that makes our country so strong. No one is above the law, including the president.