Why did the nation become divided in the 1790s?

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mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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The nation began to divide in the 1790s. One reason for this was differing viewpoints of how the Constitution should be interpreted. There were people who believed the Constitution should be interpreted in a strict manner. These people believed the government should be allowed to do only what the Constitution specifically says it can do. Other people believed in a loose interpretation of the Constitution. They said it would be impossible for the writers of the Constitution to cover every possible situation. Thus, the government should be free to interpret what the words of the Constitution really meant.

Another reason for the growing divide in our country was the needs of Americans weren’t identical. The farmers of the South had different needs than the business people in New England. Thus, they tended to support different policies. This led to the creation of political parties that further divided the country.

A third reason for the growing division was over the concept of how much power the federal government should have. The Federalists believed the federal government should be strong and have a lot of power. The Antifederalists wanted the state governments to have more power. These divisions began to appear in the 1790s.

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