List of pseudonyms used in the American Constitutional debates

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During the debates over the design and ratification of the United States Constitution, in 1787 and 1788, a large number of writers in the popular press used pseudonyms. This list shows some of the more important commentaries and the (known or presumed) authors responsible for them. Note: the identity of the person behind several of these pseudonyms is not known for certain.

Pseudonym Author Notes
A.B. Francis Hopkinson Federalist.[1]
Agrippa James Winthrop[2] Eighteen essays appeared under this name in the Massachusetts Gazette between November 23, 1787 and February 5, 1788.[3]
Alfredus Samuel Tenney Federalist.[4]
Americanus John Stevens, Jr.[5]
Aristedes Alexander Contee Hanson Federalist.[6]
Aristocrotis William Petrikin Anti-Federalist.[7]
An Assemblyman William Findley
Brutus Robert Yates,[2] Melancton Smith Anti-Federalist. After Marcus Junius Brutus, a Roman republican involved in the assassination of Caesar. Published sixteen essays in the New York Journal between October 1787 and April 1788.
Caesar Alexander Hamilton?
Candidus Benjamin Austin[2]
Cato George Clinton[2] Anti-Federalist.
Centinel Samuel Bryan Alternately, the author possibly was George Bryan.[2]
Cincinnatus Arthur Lee After Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus. Six essays addressed to James Wilson appeared under this name in the New York Journal beginning November 1, 1787.[8]
A Citizen of America Noah Webster
A Citizen of New Haven Roger Sherman
A Columbian Patriot Mercy Warren[2]
A Countryman Roger Sherman
A Country Federalist James Kent
Crito Stephen Hopkins
Examiner Charles McKnight
Federal Farmer Anti-Federalist. The Federal Farmer letters are frequently attributed to Richard Henry Lee, but modern scholarship has challenged Lee's authorship.[9][10]
Foreign Spectator Nicholas Collin[11]
Genuine Information Luther Martin
Harrington Benjamin Rush
Helvidius Priscus James Warren[2]
An Independent Freeholder Alexander White
John DeWitt Anti-Federalist. Pseudonym derives from Johan de Witt, Grand Pensionary of Holland.
A Landholder Oliver Ellsworth Thirteen essays, some of the most widely circulated commentary on the proposed Constitution, appeared under this name, with the first publication coming in the Hartford papers. The essays were certainly written by one of the Connecticut delegates to the Convention, and Ellsworth is the only likely possibility.[12]
Marcus James Iredell
Margery George Bryan
An Officer of the Late Continental Army William Findley[2]
An Old Whig Anti-Federalist.
A Pennsylvania Farmer John Dickinson
Philadelphiensis Benjamin Workman
Philo-Publius William Duer
Phocion Alexander Hamilton
A Plain Dealer Spencer Roane[2]
A Plebeian Melancton Smith
Publius Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay After Publius Valerius Publicola. Under this name the three men wrote the 85 Federalist Papers. Hamilton had already used the name in 1778.
A Republican Federalist James Warren[2]
Rough Hewer Abraham Yates
Senex Patrick Henry? Published an article in the Virginia Independent Chronicle, August 15, 1787, which was reprinted in four states. James McClurg wrote that the author was "supposed by some to be Mr. H---y."[13]
The State Soldier St. George Tucker
Sydney Robert Yates[2]
Timoleon After Timoleon of Corinth.
Tullius George Turner?


  • The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution, Vols. XIII-XVI. Ed. John P. Kaminski and Gaspare J. Saladino. Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1981.


  1. ^ Kaminski and Saladino, XV: p. 181.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Main, Jackson Turner. The Antifederalists: Critics of the Constitution, 1781-1788. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press. 1961, p. 287.
  3. ^ Kaminski and Saladino, XV: p. 51.
  4. ^ Kaminski and Saladino, XIII: p. 412.
  5. ^ Kaminski and Saladino, XV: p. 120.
  6. ^ Kaminski and Saladino, XIII: p. 489.
  7. ^ Kaminski and Saladino, XIII: p. 376.
  8. ^ Kaminski and Saladino, XIII, p. 529.
  9. ^ Kaminski and Saladino, XIV: pp. 15-6.
  10. ^ Wood, Gordon S. "The Authorship of the Letters from the Federal Farmer." The William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Ser., Vol. 31, No. 2. (Apr., 1974), pp. 299-308.
  11. ^ Kaminski and Saladino, XV: p. 454.
  12. ^ Kaminski and Saladino, XIII: p. 561.
  13. ^ Kaminski and Saladino, p. 90.