Anti-Federalist Papers

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Anti-Federalist Papers is the collective name given to the scattered writings of those Americans who starting 25 September 1787 (8 days after the final draft of the US Constitution) and running through the early 1790s opposed or raised doubts about the merits of a firmer and more energetic union as embodied in the 1787 United States Constitution. The authors of these writings, like those who wrote The Federalist Papers - articles and essays in support of and promoting a firmer and more connected union - wrote mostly under pen names but, unlike the three authors of The 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. Their work is vast and varied and, for the most part, uncoordinated.[1]

Although there is no canonical list of anti-federalist authors, major authors include Cato (likely George Clinton), Brutus (likely Robert Yates), Centinel (Samuel Bryan), and the Federal Farmer (either Melancton Smith, Richard Henry Lee, or Mercy Otis Warren). Speeches by Patrick Henry and Smith are often included as well.

One notable collection of anti-federalist writings was compiled by Morton Borden and published by Michigan State University Press in 1965. He collected 85 of the most significant papers and arranged them in an order closely resembling that of the 85 The Federalist Papers, e.g. #10 in Borden's arrangement argues against Federalist No. 10. The most frequently cited contemporary collection, The Complete Anti-Federalist, was 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. At seven volumes and including many pamphlets and other materials not previously published in a collection, this work is considered by many the authoritative compendium on the publications."[2]

Opposed arguments in Federalist and Anti-Federalist writings[3][edit]

Subject Anti-Federalist Federalist
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 № V 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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gordon Lloyd. "Introduction to the Antifederalists". Ashland, Ohio: The Ashbrook Center at Ashland University. Retrieved June 23, 2014. 
  2. ^ Journal Of Politics 45.1 (1983): 263. Academic Search Premier. Web. 3 Nov. 2011.
  3. ^ The Anti-Federalist Papers and the Constitutional Convention Debates. Ed. Ralph Ketcham. Penguin, 2003. Print.


  • 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.

External links[edit]