As history recalls, after the Articles of Confederation were passed, a movement, the Federalist movement began to sweep the nation. The men of this movement such as Alexander Hamilton and James Madison were pushing to create a more centralized government. They eventually succeed in their goal, but after many compromises with the Anti-Federalists. Who were these men, where did they come from?Tested Time: 18s
Generally speaking, Anti-Federalists were a group of citizens who disagreed with the ideas contained within the constitution of 1787. That said, not all of the Anti-Federalists disagreed with the constitution for the same reason. The Anti-Federalists can be divided into two groups. The first group includes those who feared that a strengthened central government would lead to a tyranny and loss of personal freedom. Later on anti-federalists who shared this concern, for example those based in North Carolina, demand that a bill of rights be added to the constitution. The second group of Anti-Federalists feared that the states, which had significant power and freedom under the articles of confederation, would loose their influence and authority. In the end, these anti-federalists lost out and with adoption of the constitution the balance of power was moved in favor of the federal government as opposed to the state governments.
Before American independence, the rights of people such as religion, speech, justice were decided by declaration of rights. There were decided colony by colony. But post-independence, these rights were not so clearly defined. As the colonies became states, their declaration of rights became moot and the articles of confederation said nothing of these rights. And as talks of creating the new constitution started to emerge, our anti-federalists were worried about their rights. Centinel, a pseudonym for a strong anti-federalist writer, argued that the Constitution was ambiguous and gave power to declare the rights of the people to the whims of the as he says “well-born few”.
Fighting word with word, the Anti-federalists also wrote papers to the general public trying to encourage them to the join their side. This was the main method of propaganda for each party. As history tell us, the papers were not as influential or successful as their Federalist counterparts. However, they were very successful in creating an agenda for the anti-federalist parties in many states.
Brutus was a pen name used by Robert Yates, who was an activist, a student of law, and later, a supreme court justice of New York. In 16 essays published concurrently with the federalist papers, Robert Yates, through Brutus, argued against the constitution, because he thought that it would diminish the liberties of the people. He thought that the best form of government would be, quote: “a number of independent states entering into a compact, for the conducting certain general concerns, in which they have a common interest, leaving the management of their internal and local affairs to their separate governments.” Robert Yates used a pen name to protect his identity, because his writings were radical. He used the pseudonym “Brutus” because Brutus fought for to preserve the roman republic, as yates was fighting to preserve the American republic as he saw it. Robert Yates, before and during the American Revolution was active political figure promoting freedom for the people. Yates was one of the representatives sent by new york to suggest revisions to the articles of confederation, but he later left the convention citing the lack of authority to create a new constitution since he believed that the articles of confederation created a strong enough union between the states. Estimated Time:
Patrick Henry the leading Anti-Federalist in America. As a founding father and a former Governor of Virginia, Patrick Henry had great amount of political power. Patrick Henry made it his goal to shoot down or at least greatly change the new constitution being formed. He was large supporter of state and individual rights, therefore he didn’t believe that a stronger federal government was the answer to America’s problems. When invited to constitutional convention of 1787 he said he "smelt a rat in Philadelphia, tending toward the monarchy.” In 1788 Patrick Henry voted against ratification in Virginia. After America adopted the constitution and Patrick Henry watched the French Revolution develop, his views changed. He agreed that in order for the America to avoid a situation similar to that of France, America must have a stronger central government.
George Mason, a child of virtually no schooling other than reading the occasional book from his uncle, eventually serving a essential role for Virginia as well as the nation. At the Virginia Convention, George Mason outlined the initial Virginia Declaration of Rights which serve as the basis for the Bill of Rights. Mason, also a staunch anti-federalist, didn’t believe that the Constitution offered enough liberty or clarity over the issue of slavery. As a plantation owner, Mason owned slaves, but did not believe that the slavery practice should be abolished. However, he did want to abolish the slave trade. He says, “It is far from being a desirable property. But it will involve us in great difficulties and infelicity to be now deprived of them.” Mason did not want his Southern economic stability to be jeopardized by northerner influence.
In Rhode Island, the adoption of the constitution didn’t go as smoothly as it did in other states such as Massachusetts. Most of the federalists in Rhode Island lived in or around the city of Providence, while the Anti-Federalists tended to dwell in the country side and made up a majority of the population. The Anti-Federalists controlled the local government through men such as William West and Arthur Fanner staunch anti-Federalists who held high positions in the government including including governor, and deputy governor. In the fact, William West was so determined to defeat the federalists that he lead a group of more than 1,000 armed protestors to Providence with the intention of fighting to stop the adoption of the new constitution. Despite their efforts Rhode Island voted to ratify by a vote of 34 to 32 on May 29, 1790. Rhode Island was the last state to adopt the constitution.
The final tally of the votes was 30 to 27 in favor of ratifying the constitution. If you look at the map, most of the state by landmass was either anti-Federalist, or unorganized. So how did the federalists win? Since New York City is by far more populous than the rest of New York, they received more representatives in the state legislature. The Federalists were generally supported by the city folk who needed standardization between the states to expand their businesses; while the anti federalists were generally supported by the farmers who saw no reason to expand the government.36secAlexander Hamilton was possibly the largest supporter of the constitution, and an extremely popular man. He led the federalists in New York,
So why did the anti federalists lose? They lost mainly because the federalists were willing to appease, made great efforts at propaganda through the federalist papers, and were charismatic.The federalists were willing to compromise. The 3/5s clause was added to help receive votes from the south. The Massachusetts compromise helped many of the minority federalists parties actually win in many states, by agreeing to recommend a bill of rights as amendments to the constitution. Even a minority can win if they convince enough other people to be on their side. Most of the anti federalists were actually not against a constitution, they just did not agree with this one, and once there was hope for amendments concerning the bill of rights, many of them voted for the constitution. The federalists had supporters like George Washington, alexander Hamilton, and other revolutionary war generals. These men were extremely popular and charismatic because they were thought of as war heroes, and as such, people listened.But the final straw was the federalist papers. They were great propaganda for the federalist cause, the constitution. They made good arguments explaining why the constitution was the way it was, and why the states needed it. Eventually the anti federalists, after the constitution was passed, dissolved as a party, although their ideas still remained out there. Once the constitution was passed the cause which had united the party fell apart, and along with it, so did the party.
After the adaptation of the constitution, the parties evolved into new parties and eventually into today’s two powerhouses, the Democratic and the Republican Party. The Anti-federalists and the Federalists are the foundation of today’s democratic decisions.
TheOrigins of Anti-Federalism Chinmay Nirkhe, Alex Tong, Henry Ackerman
Anti-FederalistsWho Were They? • Anti-Federalists were a diverse group of people. • Feared that a strengthened central government would lead to tyranny and a loss of personal freedom. • Feared that the states would loose their influence and authority.
Rights of Man• Colonial Declaration of Rights• Articles of Confederation
The Anti-Federalist Papers • 85 Anti-Federalist Papers vs. 85 Federalist Papers • Propaganda • Anti-federalist parties
“Brutus” Robert Yates• Diminished Liberties• Why Brutus?• Why anti-federalist?
Patrick Henry • Leader of Anti- Federalists • Was a major advocate of adding the Bill of Rights to the constitution. • Greatly disagreed with the views of James Madison.
George Mason• Virginia Declaration of Rights• Slavery Practice• The Amendments/ Bill of Rights
Rhode Island • The people of Rhode Island felt very strongly about individualism.William West • They refused to ratify till a Bill of Rights was put into the constitution. • They came to the verge of a civil war over the subject of ratification.
New York• Rural vs. Urban• New York City• Alexander Hamilton • “Its not tyranny we desire; its a just, limited, federal government.” http://www.ohwy.com/history%20pictures/ratification2.jpg
Why Did they lose?• Appeasement• Charisma• Federalist papers http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/23/Federalist.jp g/220px-Federalist.jpg
Anti-Federalist Party Anti- AdministrationFederalist Party Party Democratic- Pro- Republican Party Administration Party Whig Party
Sources• 2011 Most Walkable Cities. Walkscore. Walkscore, 20 July 2011. Web. 19 Oct. 2011.• "Anti-Federalist Papers: "Brutus"" Constitution.org. Ed. John Roland. Web. 25 Oct. 2011. <http://www.constitution.org/afp/brutus00.htm>.• "Anti-Federalists." United States History. Web. 25 Oct. 2011. <http://www.u-s- history.com/pages/h374.html>.• "Antifederalists." UshistoryPrecolumbian to the New Millenia. Independence Hall Association. Web. 25 Oct. 2011. <http://www.ushistory.org/us/16b.asp>.• Bielinski, Stefan. "Robert Yates." New York State Museum, Albany, New York. 30 Mar. 2005. Web. 25 Oct. 2011. <http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/albany/bios/y/ryates.html>.• Mount, Steve. "New Yorks Ratification - The U.S. Constitution Online." The U.S. Constitution Online. U.S. Constitution Online, 8 Jan. 2010. Web. 25 Oct. 2011. <http://www.usconstitution.net/rat_ny.html>.• Unsheltered Homeless Needs Assessment Findingsssesment. Seattle Homeless Needs Assesment. Oct. 2009. Web. 19 Oct. 2011.• "HamiltonBio." UMKC School of Law. Web. 25 Oct. 2011. <http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/burr/HamiltonBio.htm>.
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