Anti-Federalist In the United States Essay

Submitted By elizabethleo
Words: 578
Pages: 3

In the midst of discussing the ratification of the Constitution in 1787 two factions emerged, the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists. The Anti-Federalist by Murray Dry offers a concise and abridged version of Herbert Storing’s original The Complete Anti-Federalist. Dry has chosen a selection of what he feels are the most poignant letters, essays and speeches or the Anti-Federalist papers which outline and explain their opposition toward the Constitution. Evidently, the idea for this book was not his own, but rather Dry’s former professor at the University of Chicago, Herbert Storing. In his late academic career Storing compiled volumes of Anti-Federalist writings. Following his death, Dry continued this project; he is a political scientist interested in many facets of American politics and Constitutional Law. Unlike the Federalist faction, the Anti-Federalists were not cohesive group. There were many proponents of Anti-Federalism although they did share a common outlook. While the Federalist group typically appealed and attracted more of the elite class, the Anti-Federalists were typically comprised of farmers, labourers and some politicians. The fundamental root of their cause was that they did not want to ratify the Constitution. They did not want a Constitution or a Federal State. The Anti-Federalists were suspicious of a centralized government because they felt that it would just lead to tyranny. What further fueled this unease for the Anti-Federalists was that the Federalists were implementing a system that the United States had just rid themselves of; that is, the English.
In his book, Dry outlines in the introduction the main concerns for the Anti-Federalists towards the Constitution. They argued for a small and more limited government that would be based on common interests. As they saw it, a federal government was too large and diverse and would not be able to effectively govern. A fisherman from Boston, for example, would surely have different interests and problems than a cotton farmer from the Carolinas. To the Anti-Federalists the government would become too big and too remote from ordinary people and their problems. They worried that this disconnection would engender feelings of apathy among the masses and eventually people would stop following politics and government altogether. In turn, the Anti-Federalists argued that ordinary people would become the government’s doormat; submissive and indifferent to its rising authority.