In 1788, the ratification process began for the Constitution. Previously, in 1787, the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia drafted the document. It was signed by forty-two of the original fifty-five delegates at the convention. The remaining members refused to sign and returned to their states to stand firm against ratification. Those who did not agree with the ratification of the Constitution were known as anti-federalists. Those who wanted it ratified were federalists. The anti-federalists were against the Constitution because it did not contain a Bill of Rights, they believed it created a centralized government with too much power, and that big states would dominate small states.
One of the most popular arguments against the Constitution was that there was an absence of a Bill of Rights. The basic rights of all citizens were not listed in the Constitution. Anti-federalists feared that government would become too powerful and would abuse their power if the rights of the people were not clearly stated in the Constitution. They also thought that the absence of a list of rights went against the initial believes held by Americans during the Revolution. During the Revolutionary War, basic freedoms such as freedom of speech, the press, and religion were important to most Americans who fought. Anti-federalists saw not having these freedoms protected in our government as disregarding all America had worked for. Anti-federalists demanded a Bill of Rights, and they were not going to consider ratification until an agreement was made between them and the federalists.
The anti-federalists also believed that the Constitution made government too strong. Under the Constitution, the government could levy taxes, raise an army, and control trade and commerce. This took away a lot of the power that the individual states had had under the Articles of Confederation. Anti-federalists also believed that... [continues]
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