Virginia and the birth of Party Politics in America

Who wrote the Bill of Rights and How did we get 2 Major Political Parties?

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The first 10 amendments to the Constitution make up the Bill of Rights.  People in Virginia did not want the government to have too much power.  These people were called “Anti-Federalists.  James Madison wrote the notes that would make up the Constitution while George Mason believed strongly in citizen and state rights.   The Bill of Rights lists specific limits on governmental power and rights of individual citizens and the states.


There is a Passion natural to the Mind of man, especially a free Man, which renders him impatient of Restraint.

 – George Mason 1766

This idea spoken by George Mason shows the desire for freedom that many American patriots and later the Anti-Federalists had.  They did not want government to be too controlling.  Thomas Jefferson was also from Virginia and he was the first “Anti-Federalist” to be elected as President leading the Democratic Republican party.  He ran against the Federalist candidate Alexander Hamilton. .

Jefferson’s policies. Jefferson supported the Constitution under the condition that basic human rights would be protected through a series of amendments.

Federalists didn’t want the constitution to have the bill of rights because they said that people and the states kept any powers not given to the federal government and they worried the government would be too weak like it was under the Articles of Confederation.


How did we get two major political parties?  From the very beginning we had two different ways of thinking about our US Constitution.  The link above explains the difference between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists. Today the Bill of Rights and other Amendments continue to protect citizens from the power of the government and they are the foundation of the Civil Rights movement.  These rights continue to help Americans make progress and they keep the power balanced between the government and the people.