Why do small-government conservatives call themselves “federalists”?

Clearly their historical antecedents were literally the Anti-Federalists!

I’ll be interested to see if there are any factual answers. My guess is that it just sounds cool and old-fashioned and fits nicely with their self-image as being the direct ideological descendants of the Founding Fathers. Kind of Like how Many of them Capitalize random Words to get that Eighteenth Century Vibe.

LOL, right. I’m surprised someone like Scalia, who actually was well-read about the Founders, didn’t tell them to stop it. Maybe in another 200 years, the people who are for free markets will call themselves communists? :confused:

Completely different context. In that day the Federalists wanted to create a strong Federal government to deal with big issues (war, interstate commerce, common coinage, etc.) while balancing plenary power with the states. This was in reaction to the weak (almost powerless) national government under the Articles of Confederation.

Today’s Federalists want the exact same thing - a Federal government that deals with big national issues with the local issues dealt by the sovereign states but today it is to counter the bloated Federal government that micro-manages everything down to how much corn you can grow to feed your own chickens, 10th amendment be damned.

A federation has a balance of power, with distinct roles for the central government and the state governments.

The original federalists thought the state governments were too powerful, and the central government should have a larger role.

The modern federalists think the central government is to powerful, and the state governments should have larger roles.

Was this a serious question, or just an attempt to mock people with whom one disagrees?

Lots of things are different today. That doesn’t mean it makes sense for the side arguing for less federal power and more state power to take on the name of the group that argued then for more federal power and less state power.

It’s about wanting balance.

But it’s not, or shouldn’t be, about what the status quo is at any given time. The Federalists wanted to move the United States toward placing more power with the federal government then was currently the case, and the Anti-Federalists wanted to devolve power to the states. The emphasis on what direction to move is exactly the opposite with the people today who join the Federalist Society. And I don’t believe they really understand this, because I so often see them refer to “federalism” as being about placing more power with states.

THAN was currently the case. (Stupid voice-to-text.)

Why wouldn’t it be a serious question? The poles reversed, and confusion about that is pretty reasonable, IMHO.

People are sometimes surprised to learn that many democrats were pro-segregation in the 1950s. The poles flipped on that subject when Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, but if you’ll didn’t know that, the apparent platform about-face could be really confusing.

Right, or how the election of 1860 was basically the reverse map of what we generally see today, and African Americans voted overwhelmingly Republican for the first 50 years at least after emancipation.

And yet today’s conservatives, had we lived 200 years ago, and had the exact same ideals and principles as we have today, would have been liberals.

As you said, things are different today.

Oh, I actually read about this. Hamilton was the one using the term wrong- they called themselves “Federalists” because they supported a Federal Constitution, but Federalism as a political idea is still about defending the rights of states inside of a federation, something he didn’t want. I understand he even tried to change the name.

Arachnid, cite?

Not the religious right. The liberal founders were way too secular for them.

Moving to IMHO.

IME people join the Federalist Society for the free beer.:smiley:

Scalia was there at the start of the Federalist Society, so if he had an objection he could have stopped the name. The reason the Federalist Society is called that is because they wish to return to the role of the judiciary expressed in Federalist 78. Moreover in the historical context the original federalists were pro-constitution, like the current Federalist Society.

Somewhat of an oversimplification. Southern Democrats were pro-segregation, but Northern Democrats were against it. The party split on the issue in 1948.

But the rift existed before that. The 1924 Democratic convention saw it in the fight between the pro- and anti-Ku-Klux-Klan delegates, which led to over 100 ballots before a candidate emerged.