Who were the Antifederalist, and why did they oppose the Constitution?

Topics: United States Constitution, Federalism, Articles of Confederation Pages: 1 (335 words) Published: November 7, 2013

Who were the Antifederalist, and why did they oppose the Constitution? During the procedure to ratify the constitution, the delegates did not submit the Constitution to state legislature contravening the Articles of Confederation. Alternatively they decided the constitution would be established after nine of the thirteen states ratified it. As the constitutional debate began, many of the nationalist took an advantage of the opportunity and took initiative. They began by calling themselves Federalists, “suggesting that they supported a federal union- a loose, decentralized system- and obscuring their commitment to a strong national government.” (Henretta 189) The opponents of the Federalist and constitution were known as the Antifederalist, which had diverse backgrounds and motives. There were several issues, mostly coming down to their opposition to a strong central government and protection of the rights of the citizens.  The Antifederalist did not want to ratify the Constitution and argued that it gave the national government too much power at the expense of the states. They also argued that congress wielded too much power due to the ‘necessary and proper clause’. Furthermore, they feared that the central government would be run by wealthy men. “Lawyers and men of learning and monied men expect to be managers of this constitution” (Henretta 189) worried a man of Massachusetts. However out of these complaints, the lack of a bill of rights was the most effective. The American people had just fought a war to defend their rights, and they did not want an intimidating national government taking those rights away again. For example, Patrick Henry perturbed that the Constitution would “re- create British rule: high taxes, an oppressive bureaucracy, a standing army, and a “great and mighty President… supported in extravagant munificence.” (Henretta 189) This was so long feared by many Antifederalist that some “rather be a free citizen of the small republic of...
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