What Did the Anti-Federalists Believe In?

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.

The Anti-Federalists did not think the Constitution afforded the citizens enough power. They wanted the states to have more power and the national government less. They thought the country was too big for a national government to take care of the needs of the citizens properly. They wanted to see a legislative branch have more power and an executive branch less power. Anti-Federalists also wanted more representation in the legislative branch, believing that one Congressman per 30,000 constituents in the House of Representatives did not offer enough representation of the people. They also did not want to experience ever again a powerful ruler as they had under England’s control. They wanted state and local courts to have more power and federal courts not as much. The Anti-Federalists were a less wealthy group overall than the Federalists. Among the more famous Anti-Federalists were leaders such as Patrick Henry and George Mason.