The solution to the problem of establishing a federal-court system was a compromise between the desire for broad access to federal justice and the desire on the part of citizens to maintain state traditions. Many citizens feared the extension of a federal-court system would do away with the unique procedures that had operated at the state level for decades. Many citizens therefore initially rallied against the development of the federal-court system within the states. Bearing in mind these fears and objections, Congress passed the Judiciary Act of 1789, which both increased access to federal justice and assuaged fears that state traditions would be lost.

The demand for the Bill of Rights sprang from the fear, stoked by the Anti-Federalists, that a strong central government would neglect the rights of citizens in the pursuit of what officials thought to be the greater good. While the Anti-federalists had not been able to stop the creation of a strong national government, they hoped the Bill of Rights would serve to limit the powers of the government and protect individuals from despotism and tyranny. The Federalists, on the other hand, insisted that the Bill of Rights, while guaranteeing personal liberties, would not deprive the national government of powers essential to the fulfillment of its duties.

The Ninth and Tenth Amendments seem to be the only major concessions made by the Federalists in the drafting of the Bill of Rights. However, their wording was vague enough that it left loopholes that would allow the national government to avoid the restriction of any significant power. The Tenth Amendment especially, leaving all power to the states not explicitly granted the national government, seemed a great success for the Anti-federalists. However, it would prove far less useful than its wording suggested. Time after time the national government avoided adherence to the Tenth Amendment by invoking what became known as the elastic clause of the Constitution, which granted Congress the authority to pass any measure which was "necessary and proper." A loose interpretation of this clause allowed the national government to effectively ignore the Tenth Amendment. The interpretation of the elastic clause would prove to be a bone of much contention during the Washington administration and well beyond.

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