The Anti-Federalist Papers is the collective name given to works written by the Founding Fathers who were opposed to or concerned with the merits of the United States Constitution of 1787. Starting on 25 September 1787 (8 days after the final draft of the US Constitution) and running through the early 1790s, these anti-Federalists published a series of essays arguing against a stronger and more energetic union as embodied in the new Constitution. Although less influential than their counterparts, The Federalist Papers , these works nonetheless played an important role in shaping the early American political landscape and in the passage of the US Bill of Rights.
Following its victory against the British in the Revolutionary War, the United States was plagued by a variety of internal problems. The weak central government could not raise taxes to cover war debts and was largely unable to pass legislation. Many early American politicians and thinkers believed that these issues were the result of the Articles of Confederation, the first governing document of the United States.In 1787 a convention gathered in Philadelphia to attempt to amend it. Soon, however, the gathering shifted its focus to constructing a newer and more powerful Constitution for the fledgling country. Two main competing factions emerged, the Federalists and the anti-Federalists. The former supported a more powerful central government while the latter opposed it.
During the lengthy and heated national debate following this convention, both groups wrote extensively in favor of their respective positions. The anti-Federalist papers are a selection of the written arguments against the US Constitution by those known to posterity as the anti-Federalists. As with the Federalist papers, these essays were originally published in newspapers. The most widely known are "a series of sixteen essays published in the New York Journal from October 1787 through April 1788 during the same period. The anti-Federalist was appearing in New York newspapers, under the pseudonym 'Brutus'."[ attribution needed ]
The Anti-Federalist papers were written over a number of years and by a variety of authors who utilized pen names to remain anonymous, and debates over authorship continue to this day. Unlike the authors of The Federalist Papers, a group of three men working closely together, the authors of the anti-Federalist papers were not engaged in an organized project. Thus, in contrast to the pro-Constitution advocates, there was no one book or collection of anti-Federalist Papers at the time. The essays were the product of a vast number of authors, working individually rather than as a group. [ citation needed ]). Works by Patrick Henry and a variety of others are often included as well.Although there is no canonical list of anti-federalist authors, major authors include Cato (likely George Clinton), Brutus (likely Melancton Smith or Robert Yates or perhaps John Williams), Centinel (Samuel Bryan), and the Federal Farmer (either Melancton Smith, Richard Henry Lee, or Mercy Otis Warren
Until the mid-20th century, there was no united series of anti-Federalist papers. The first major collection was compiled by Morton Borden, a professor at Columbia University, in 1965. He "collected 85 of the most significant papers and arranged them in an order closely resembling that of the 85 Federalist Papers". The most frequently cited contemporary collection, The Complete Anti-Federalist, was compiled by Herbert Storing and Murray Dry of the University of Chicago. At seven volumes and including many pamphlets and other materials not previously published in a collection, this work is considered, by many, to be the authoritative compendium on the publications.
Considering their number and diversity, it is difficult to summarize the contents of the Anti-Federalist papers. Generally speaking they reflected the sentiments of the anti-Federalists, which Akhil Reed Amar of the Yale Law School generalized as: a localist fear of a powerful central government, a belief in the necessity of direct citizen participation in democracy, and a distrust of wealthy merchants and industrialists. '" and "New Constitution Creates a National Government; Will Not Abate Foreign Influence; Dangers of Civil War And Despotism" fill the collection, and reflect the strong feelings of the authors.Essays with titles such as "A Dangerous Plan of Benefit Only to The 'Aristocratick Combination
In the table below, a selection of Anti-Federalist papers have been contrasted with their Federalist counterparts.
|Need for stronger Union||John Dewitt № I and II||Federalist № 1–6|
|Bill of Rights||John Dewitt № II||James Wilson, 10/6/87 Federalist № 84|
|Nature and powers of the Union||Patrick Henry, 6/5/88||Federalist № 1, 14, 15|
|Responsibility and checks in self-government||Centinel № 1||Federalist № 10, 51|
|Extent of Union, states' rights, Bill of Rights, taxation||Pennsylvania Minority: Brutus № 1||Federalist № 10, 32, 33, 35, 36, 39, 45, 84|
|Extended republics, taxation||Federal Farmer № I and II||Federalist № 8, 10, 14, 35, 36|
|Broad construction, taxing powers||Brutus № VI||Federalist № 23, 30–34|
|Defense, standing armies||Brutus № X||Federalist № 24–29|
|The judiciary||Brutus № XI, XII, XV||Federalist № 78–83|
|Government resting on the people||John DeWitt № III||Federalist № 23, 49|
|Executive power||Cato № IV||Federalist № 67|
|Regulating elections||Cato № VII||Federalist № 59|
|House of Representatives||Brutus № IV||Federalist № 27, 28, 52–54, 57|
|The Senate||Brutus № XVI||Federalist № 62, 63|
|Representation in House of Representatives and Senate||Melancton Smith, 6/20-6/27-88||Federalist № 52–57, 62–63|
The Anti-Federalists proved unable to stop the ratification of the US Constitution, which took effect in 1789. Since then, the essays they wrote have largely fallen into obscurity. Unlike, for example, The Federalist No. 10 written by James Madison, none of their works are mainstays in college curricula or court rulings.The influence of their writing, however, can be seen to this day – particularly in the nature and shape of the United States Bill of Rights. Federalists (such as Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist 84) vigorously argued against its passage but were in the end forced to compromise. The broader legacy of the Anti-Federalist cause can be seen in the strong suspicion of centralized government held by many Americans to this day.
The Federalist Papers is a collection of 85 articles and essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay under the pseudonym "Publius" to promote the ratification of the United States Constitution. The collection was commonly known as The Federalist until the name The Federalist Papers emerged in the 20th century. The original plan was to write a total of 25 essays, the work divided evenly among the three men. In the end they wrote 85 essays in the span of six months. Jay wrote five, Madison wrote 29, Hamilton wrote the remaining 51.
Anti-Federalism was a late-18th century movement that opposed the creation of a stronger U.S. federal government and which later opposed the ratification of the 1787 Constitution. The previous constitution, called the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, gave state governments more authority. Led by Patrick Henry of Virginia, Anti-Federalists worried, among other things, that the position of president, then a novelty, might evolve into a monarchy. Though the Constitution was ratified and supplanted the Articles of Confederation, Anti-Federalist influence helped lead to the passage of the United States Bill of Rights.
Article Seven of the United States Constitution sets the number of state ratifications necessary in order for the Constitution to take effect and prescribes the method through which the states may ratify it. Under the terms of Article VII, constitutional ratification conventions were held in each of the thirteen states, with the ratification of nine states required for the Constitution to take effect. Delaware was the first state to ratify the Constitution, doing so on December 7, 1787. On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the Constitution, ensuring that the Constitution would take effect. Rhode Island was the last state to ratify the Constitution under Article VII, doing so on May 29, 1790.
The United States Constitution has served as the supreme law of the United States since taking effect in 1789. The document was written at the 1787 Philadelphia Convention and was ratified through a series of state conventions held in 1787 and 1788. Since 1789, the Constitution has been amended twenty-seven times; particularly important amendments include the ten amendments of the United States Bill of Rights and the three Reconstruction Amendments.
Robert Yates was an American politician and judge best known for his Anti-Federalist stances. He is also known as the presumed author of political essays published in 1787 and 1788 under the pseudonyms "Brutus" and "Sydney". The essays opposed the introduction of the Constitution of the United States.
Melancton Smith was a New York delegate to the Continental Congress. His first name is sometimes spelled "Melancthon"; it derives from Philip Melanchthon, the leader in the Reformation.
Federalist No. 10 is an essay written by James Madison as the tenth of The Federalist Papers, a series of essays initiated by Alexander Hamilton arguing for the ratification of the United States Constitution. Published on November 22, 1787 under the name "Publius", Federalist No. 10 is among the most highly regarded of all American political writings.
Federalist No. 1 is an essay by Alexander Hamilton, which became the first of a collection of essays named The Federalist Papers. It was published on October 27, 1787, under the pseudonym Publius. This paper provides the outline for the rest and argues for the inadequacy of the Articles of Confederation.
Federalist No. 14 is an essay by James Madison titled "Objections to the Proposed Constitution From Extent of Territory Answered". This essay is the fourteenth of The Federalist Papers. It was published on November 30, 1787 under the pseudonym Publius, the name under which all The Federalist papers were published. It addresses a major objection of the Anti-Federalists to the proposed United States Constitution: that the sheer size of the United States would make it impossible to govern justly as a single country. Madison touched on this issue in Federalist No. 10 and returns to it in this essay.
Federalist Paper No. 29 is an essay by Alexander Hamilton, the twenty-ninth of The Federalist Papers. It was published on January 9, 1788 under the pseudonym Publius, the name under which all The Federalist papers were published. It is titled "Concerning the Militia". Unlike the rest of the Federalist Papers, which were published more or less in order, No. 29 did not appear until after Federalist No. 36.
Federalist No. 52, an essay by James Madison or Alexander Hamilton, is the fifty-second essay out of eighty-five making up The Federalist Papers, a collection of essays written during the Constitution's ratification process, most of them written either by Hamilton or Madison. It was published in the New York Packet on February 8, 1788, with the pseudonym Publius, under which all The Federalist papers were published. This essay is the first of two examining the structure of the United States House of Representatives under the proposed United States Constitution. It is titled The House of Representatives".
The Federal Farmer was the alias used by an Anti-Federalist who wrote a methodical assessment of the proposed United States Constitution that was among the more important documents of the constitutional ratification debate. The assessment appeared in the form of two pamphlets, the first published in November 1787 and the second in December 1787. The letters, which were addressed to "The Republican," were signed only with the pseudonym "the Federal Farmer." The identity of the author is unknown, though scholars have put forward Richard Henry Lee and Melancton Smith as possibilities, though recent evidence suggests Smith is the most likely author. "The Republican" was most likely New York state governor George Clinton.
Samuel Bryan was a resident of Pennsylvania and Anti-Federalist author, who wrote during the Confederation Period. Historians generally ascribe to him the Letters of Centinel written under the pseudonym Centinel between 1787 and 1789. Centinel attacked the proposed Constitution of the United States as a document in the interests of the "well-born few". He was the son of George Bryan, a judge on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the principal Anti-Federalist in the state, to whom the essays were frequently attributed at the time they were written.
The Virginia Ratifying Convention was a convention of 168 delegates from Virginia who met in 1788 to ratify or reject the United States Constitution, which had been drafted at the Philadelphia Convention the previous year.
The United States Bill of Rights comprises the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. Proposed following the often bitter 1787–88 debate over the ratification of the Constitution, and written to address the objections raised by Anti-Federalists, the Bill of Rights amendments add to the Constitution specific guarantees of personal freedoms and rights, clear limitations on the government's power in judicial and other proceedings, and explicit declarations that all powers not specifically granted to the U.S. Congress by the Constitution are reserved for the states or the people. The concepts codified in these amendments are built upon those found in earlier documents, especially the Virginia Declaration of Rights (1776), as well as the English Bill of Rights (1689) and the Magna Carta (1215).
The Complete Anti-Federalist is a seven-volume collection of the scattered Anti-Federalist Papers compiled by Herbert Storing and his former student Murray Dry of the University of Chicago, who oversaw the completion of the project after Storing's death. Michael Lienesch treats Storing's compilation as "definitive," and many of the pamphlets and other materials included had not previously been published in a collection. The collection is noted for its sympathetic portrayal of the Anti-Federalists. The commentary underscores little-known similar positions and arguments made by the birth of the first two-party system in America. Storing points out that many "Anti-Federalists" actually considered themselves Federalists in the sense that a federation is a structure over sovereign states.
The drafting of the Constitution of the United States began on May 25, 1787, when the Constitutional Convention met for the first time with a quorum at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to revise the Articles of Confederation, and ended on September 17, 1787, the day the Constitution drafted by the convention's delegates to replace the Articles was adopted and signed. The ratification process for the Constitution began that day, and ended when the final state, Rhode Island, ratified it on May 29, 1790. In addition to key events during the Constitutional Convention and afterward while the Constitution was before the states for their ratification, this timeline includes important events that occurred during the run-up to the convention and during the nation's transition from government under the Articles of Confederation to government under the Constitution, and concludes with the unique ratification vote of Vermont, which at the time was a sovereign state outside the Union. The time span covered is 5 years, 9 months, from March 25, 1785 to January 10, 1791.
The Congressional Apportionment Amendment is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution that addresses the number of seats in the House of Representatives. It was proposed by Congress on September 25, 1789, but was never ratified by the requisite number of state legislatures. As Congress did not set a time limit for its ratification, the Congressional Apportionment Amendment is still pending before the states.
Brutus was the pen name of an Antifederalist in a series of essays designed to encourage New Yorkers to reject the proposed Constitution. His series are considered among the best of those written to oppose adoption of the proposed constitution. They paralleled and confronted The Federalist Papers during the ratification fight over the Constitution. Brutus published 16 essays in the New-York Journal, and Weekly Register from October, 1787, through April, 1788, beginning shortly before The Federalist started appearing in New York newspapers. The essays were widely reprinted and commented on throughout the American states. All 16 of the essays were addressed to "the Citizens of the State of New York".
The New York Circular Letter was a solution reached in a controversy between Federalists and Anti-Federalists over ratification of the United States Constitution. The compromise built on earlier deals like the Massachusetts Compromise to call for the use of the Convention provision written into the newly ratified Constitution in order to get the amendments demanded by New York and other states.