This Topic Page concerns the Federalists versus the Anti-Federalists and the struggle for ratification. Generally speaking, the federalists were in favor of ratification of the Constitution, and the Anti-Federalists were opposed. Note the the Anti-Federalists are often referred to as just Antifederalists without the hyphen.
Antifederalists Patrick Henry delivers his famous "If this be treason, make the most of it! The Antifederalists were a diverse coalition of people who opposed ratification of the Constitution.
Although less well organized than the Federalists, they also had an impressive group of leaders who were especially prominent in state politics.
Ranging from political elites like James Winthrop in Massachusetts to Melancton Smith of New York and Patrick Henry and George Mason of Virginia, these Antifederalist were joined by a large number of ordinary Americans Federalist vs antifederalist yeomen farmers who predominated in rural America.
The one overriding social characteristic of the Antifederalists as a group was their strength in newer settled western regions of the country. On August 31,George Mason declared he would "rather chop off my right hand than put it to the Constitution as it now stands.
Having just succeeded in rejecting what they saw as the tyranny of British power, such threats were seen as a very real part of political life.
To Antifederalists the proposed Constitution threatened to lead the United States down an all-too-familiar road of political corruption. The court system of the national government appeared likely to encroach on local courts.
Meanwhile, the proposed lower house of the legislature would have so few members that only elites were likely to be elected.
The fifty-five members of the proposed national House of Representatives was quite a bit smaller than most state legislatures in the period. Since the new legislature was to have increased fiscal authority, especially the right to raise taxes, the Antifederalists feared that before long Congress would pass oppressive taxes that they would enforce by creating a standing national army.
The preamble of the United States Constitution: This range of objections boiled down to a central opposition to the sweeping new powers of the proposed central government. George Mason, a delegate to the Philadelphia Convention who refused to support the Constitution, explained, the plan was "totally subversive of every principle which has hitherto governed us.
This power is calculated to annihilate totally the state governments. The most powerful objection raised by the Antifederalists, however, hinged on the lack of protection for individual liberties in the Constitution.
Most of the state constitutions of the era had built on the Virginia model that included an explicit protection of individual rights that could not be intruded upon by the state.
Why, then, had the delegates to the Philadelphia Convention not included a bill of rights in their proposed Constitution?
Most Antifederalists thought that such protections were not granted because the Federalists represented a sinister movement to roll back the gains made for ordinary people during the Revolution. The Antifederalists and Federalists agreed on one thing:The Federalist is a web magazine focused on culture, politics, and religion.
Be lovers of freedom and anxious for the fray. The Antifederalists were a diverse coalition of people who opposed ratification of the Constitution. Although less well organized than the Federalists, they also had an impressive group of leaders who were especially prominent in state politics.
Federalist vs. Anti-Federalist The road to accepting the Constitution of the United States was neither easy nor predetermined.
In fact during and after its drafting a wide-ranging debate was held between those who supported the Constitution, the Federalists, and those who were against it, the Anti-Federalists. This web-friendly presentation of the original text of the Federalist Papers (also known as The Federalist) was obtained from the e-text archives of Project Gutenberg.
For more information, see About the Federalist Papers. Constitutional Topic: The Federalists and Anti-Federalists. For example, in New York, George Clinton was a political opponent of John Jay, a prominent Federalist, and also disliked Alexander Hamilton.
And in Virginia, Patrick Henry was a political rival of James Madison. Federalists Vs Anti federalists. STUDY. PLAY. Interest groups arising from the unequal distribution of property or wealth that James Madison attacked in Federalist Paper No. Today's parties or interest groups are what Madison had in mind when he warned of the instability in government caused by factions.