All About Anti-Federalists

How They Influenced America

Where It All Began

The Anti-Federalists made many contributions to change in America and the American people. However, they would never have gotten the chance had it not been for Thomas Jefferson. With him lies the beginning of the Anti-Federalists.

Jefferson lived from 1743 to 1826, and in his 83 years, he did many things. Most people know of him because he wrote the Declaration of Independence, but he did so much more with his life. An example would be when he became the most prominent leader of the Anti-Federalists. Along with James Madison, he detested the Federalist mindset of a strong national government. He disagreed with most anything Alexander Hamilton agreed with, as Hamilton was a Federalist and one of Jefferson's worst enemies. Jefferson believed 'that the heart and soul of America lay in the ordinary people, most especially the small farmers and their families who made up the bulk of the nation.' This was stated in Building a New Nation: The Federalist Era by Christopher and James Collier.

Learning the Basics

When the Federalists were promoting the ratification of the constitution in 1788, the Anti-Federalists rose up and spoke against the constitution. This group of Anti-Federalists became one of the first political parties in America, and they are now known as the Democratic-Republican party. While they no longer have the same name, many Democratic-Republicans have the same beliefs as they had in 1788.

Speaking Out Against Ratification

The Anti-Federalists did many things to speak out against ratification. In response to the Federalist Papers, the opposing party wrote the Anti-Federalist Papers,. These writings warned about the tyranny and monarchy that would become of the United States if everyone accepted the Constitution.

Accomplishments of The Anti- Federalists

The Anti- Federalists had two main accomplishments. The first would be their Anti-Federalist Papers. These creations had refutations for every argument that the Federalist Papers claimed. Another achievement would be that the Anti-Federalists are still active today. They now have adopted the title of Democratic- Republicans, but this is still the same group. this political party is one of the most prominent in today's terms, much like the Anti-Federalists were in 1788.

Anti-Federalist Contribution to American History

My belief is that the Anti-Federalists reminded the people of the United States to think for themselves. Even if the national government is powerful, the people still have a voice, and I think the Anti-Federalists reminded them of that power. Because of the Anti-Federalists' actions, the citizens were actively for or against the ratification, and many people were involved in the politics of the nation. I might even go as far as to say that these political challengers re-enforced the American way of thinking. They exercised their freedom of speech, press, and assembly. Without realizing it, they made an example of themselves about how to get your opinion across to an entire nation. True, it wasn't a large nation yet, but it was a nation nonetheless. The Anti-Federalists have helped us in many ways that we may never fully comprehend, but I, for one, will always remember where it all began.


  • Collier, Christopher, and James Lincoln Collier. Building a New Nation: The Federalist Era, 1789-1803. New York: Benchmark, 1999. Print.
  • Collier, Christopher, and James Lincoln Collier. The Jeffersonian Republicans, 1800-1823: The Louisiana Purchase and the War of 1812. New York: Benchmark, 1999. Print.
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