Anti-Federalists wanted to protect states' and individuals' rights. They opposed the adoption of the U.S. Constitution because they feared the strong central government created by the Constitution could become corrupt and tyrannical.Continue Reading
Anti-Federalists admitted that the Articles of Confederation needed to be changed, but they believed the Constitution, as it was written at the time, threatened to create political corruption and make the federal government too powerful. Their concerns and agitations helped force the addition of the Bill of Rights.
Perhaps the most powerful arguments raised by the anti-Federalists were those about the lack of protection of individual liberties present in the Constitution before the addition of the Bill of Rights. Most state constitutions of the time had followed the model set by Virginia and had explicitly detailed what individual rights could not be taken away by the government. Many people of the time thought this was a great improvement over the British constitution, which relied on unwritten protections. Anti-Federalists believed the delegates of the Philadelphia Convention had not included a bill of rights in the Constitution because they wanted to take away what ordinary people had gained in the Revolution.
A diverse group of people considered themselves anti-Federalist. Well-known proponents of the movement included Patrick Henry, George Mason, James Winthrop, Samuel Adams and Thomas Paine.Learn more about US History
The primary difference between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists was their view on the creation of a stronger U.S. Federal Government. These differing views lead the Federalists to support the ratification of the Constitution and the Anti-Federalists to oppose it. According to Reference.com, one of the primary worries of the Anti-Federalists was the position of a president evolving into a monarchy.Full Answer >
The key similarities between Federalists and Anti-Federalists are in terms of agreement to a democratic or republic government and a general outline of a government. Both Federalists and Anti-Federalists agreed that states should be given power for government.Full Answer >
The Anti-Federalists believed in more rights for the individual than for the state, asserting that the biggest threat to freedom was a powerful federal government. They believed that even the balance of power between the three branches of government was not enough to prevent the government from becoming tyrannical. They wanted to see a Bill of Rights added to the proposed Constitution.Full Answer >
The Anti-Federalists and Democratic-Republicans were not the same parties. The Anti-Federalists opposed the adoption of the United States Constitution prior to its ratification in 1788. Democratic-Republicans formed during George Washington's first presidential term in 1792 and built on many of the ideologies expressed by the Anti-Federalists. After the ratification of the Constitution, the Anti-Federalists dissolved, but fear of an elite ruling class persisted until the Democratic-Republicans were created.Full Answer >