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Anti-Federalists vs.

• Read the excerpt and answer questions 8-11“The Declaration of
Independence, drawn up by the Continental Congress, was actually a
declaration by ‘thirteen united States of America’ proclaiming that as
‘Free and Independent States they have full power to levy war,
conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all
other acts and things which independent States may of right do.’ And
the Articles of Confederation, for all the powers it theoretically gave
to the Congress, did not in fact alter this independence. . . .
Congressional resolutions continued to be mere recommendations
which the states were left to enforce. . . . The Confederation was
intended to be, and remained, a Confederation of sovereign states.”
Who were the Federalists and Anti-Federalists?
Anti-Federalists: People who opposed ratifying the Constitution
– George Mason, Edmond Randolph, and Elbridge Gerry
Each had attended the Philadelphia Convention but refused to sign the
– John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Richard Henry Lee
All signed the Declaration of Independence, but opposed at first the
ratification of the new Constitution

Federalists: People who favored ratification

--John Jay, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison
James Madison

Alexander Hamilton John Jay

Prominent Anti-federalists

-Cato’s Letters
-Federal Farmer
Patrick Henry

Anti-Federalists were more concerned with protecting the rights of the

individual people and states than promoting the pubic good as a
George Mason

 Anti-Federalist
 Virginian Plantation owner
 Wrote the Virginia Declaration of
Rights which becomes the model
for the Bill of Rights
 Refused to sign the Constitution
until a Bill of Rights was included
• Most Americans were very
suspicious of government, but
the Anti-Federalists were
especially mistrustful of strong

– They feared they had created a

government that the people
could not control
 Federalists  Antifederalists
argued for argued
• a strong national • States should have power
government • Legislative branch should
• Three branches of be strongest branch of
government filled with government
men of “reputation” • A strong president could
• a president to lead become a tyrant
executive branch • A Bill of Rights was needed
• No Bill of Rights to protect the rights of
(Unnecessary) Americans
An Unfair Advantage?
 The Federalists publish
their essays in New
York newspapers and
pamphlets in 1787-
 Newspapers support
the Federalist side and
publish more Federalist
writings than Anti-
Federalist writings!
The Federalists Papers
 John Jay, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison wrote
the Federalist Papers to get support for the Constitution.
The Federalist addressed issues such as representation,
rights of individuals and majority rule.

 The Anti-Federalists respond in the “Objections to the

Constitution of Government formed by the Convention”,
which argued the fear of a strong executive branch and
the absence of a Bill of Rights.
Does the national government have too much
Anti-Federalists Federalists

• The supremacy clause • The Constitution

means that all the provides protections
national government’s for the state
laws are superior to governments by
laws made by the specifically reserving
states certain powers for the
• It will only be a matter states
of time until the state • This will prevent the
governments are states from being
destroyed destroyed by the
national government
Does the national government have too much
Anti-Federalists Federalists

• The necessary and • The necessary and

proper clause is too proper clause and
general general welfare
• It gives too much clause are needed if
power to the national the national
government government is to do
• It is dangerous not to the things it is
list all the powers of responsible for doing
government in order to
put clear limits on
Does the national government have too much
Anti-Federalists Federalists
• The Constitution gives too much • A strong executive branch is
power to the executive branch of necessary
government • It is needed if the national
• It will soon become a monarchy government is to fulfill its
• Congress and the U.S. Supreme
Court have checks on the use of
power by the Executive branch
• The executive branch cannot
become a monarchy
• The power of the national
government are separated and
balanced among the three
• No one branch can dominate the
• This system makes it impossible
for any person or group to take
complete control of government
Does the Constitution provide for republican
Anti-Federalists Federalists
• Throughout history, the only • History has proven that selfish
places where republican groups destroyed all the small
governments worked had been in republics of the past
small communities • The civic virtue of the citizens
• There, the people had similar was not enough to keep people
wealth and the same values from seeking their own interests
• People who are not too rich or too • People did not work for the
poor are more likely to have civic common good
virtue • A large republic where power is
• Such people are more likely to divided between the national and
agree on what is best for the state governments is a better
common good solution
• The new nation would be too large • It is also better to organize
and diverse government based on checks
• The people will not be able to and balances
agree on their common welfare • Under such a government, it will
be more difficult for special
interests to work against the
common good
Does the Constitution provide for republican
Anti-Federalists Federalists

• Free government requires • The national government

the active participation of cannot become a tyranny
the people • The limits placed on
• The national government government by the
will be located far from system of separation of
where most people live powers and checks and
• People will be unable to balances will prevent it
participate in government • Government will be so
• As a result, the only way good at protecting the
government will be able to rights of the people that it
rule will be with military will soon gain their loyalty
force and support
• The result will be tyranny
Is a Bill of Rights needed for the Constitution?

Anti-Federalists Federalists
• The Constitution does not include • A bill of rights is not needed
a bill of rights • The Constitution is the ultimate
• A bill of rights is necessary to protection for people’s rights and
protect people against the power the people are the ultimate
of the national government sovereigns
• There is no mention of freedom of • The Constitution does not give
religion, speech, press, or government the power to deprive
assembly people of their rights
• Since these freedoms are not in • It gives government only limited
the Constitution, government is power to do certain things
free to violate them • A bill of rights will give the
• Americans recently fought a war to impression that the people can
secure their fundamental rights expect protection only for the
• They do not want a constitution rights that are actually listed
that places those rights in • The Constitution protects a
jeopardy number of rights by requiring
writs of habeas corpus, and
prohibiting ex post facto laws
and bills of attainder
Issue Anti- Federalists Response
The The biggest The largest threats to
Bigg threat to the the people is having a
est people is the small government in
threa tyranny of which those in the
t to the minority will never
The government. have power. If there is
peop If a a large government
le government the diverse
is too big, it populations will
will have too ensure that a small
much power, group of people, a
and dangerous minority
Issue Anti-Federalists Federalists
Fear Response
The rights The checks and
guaranteed to balances are
the people enough to keep
should be the government
Protectio included in the from taking the
n of Constitution or rights of the
Individu else they are people away.
al not
Rights guaranteed
Issue Anti-Federalists Federalists
Fear Response
Representa The government The federal
tion should be run government
by should be
representativ run by well
es that are very educated
similar to those and
who they are experience
representing. d men, the
This new elite.
government will These are
encourage only the men
the well that are best
educated elite educated
to be and will be
Issue Anti-Federalists Federalists
Fear Response
People A free The central
will not government government
hold requires the created cannot
govern active support take the rights
ment of the people. of the people
account The new because of the
able government many checks
would be so and balances in
large that the Constitution
people would
not be involved
in government,
Anti-Federalists Federalists
Issue Fear Response
Power The limits of The checks and
given to the power balances in the
the given to the Constitution will
federal federal be effective in
govern government restraining the
ment are not clear power of the
and will result federal
in the government.
president The president
becoming a does not have
monarch. the power to
More limits make laws, so
Why did the Federalists agree to add a
Bill of Rights to the Constitution?
• A compromise was reached on the
issue of a bill of rights
– The Federalists made this
compromise to get enough support for
the Constitution so that it would be
– They agreed that when the first
Congress was held, it would draft a
bill of rights
• The argument to add a bill of rights
was a victory for the Anti-
– It was an important addition to the
Constitution and has been of great
importance in the protection of the
basic rights of the American People