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Anti-Federalist Papers

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) to early 1790s opposed to or who 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 is no one book or collection of Anti-Federalist Papers. 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]

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

List of pseudonyms used in the American constitutional debates

During the debates over the design and ratification of the United States Constitution, in 1787 and 1788, a large number of writers in the popular press used pseudonyms. This list shows some of the more important commentaries and the (known or presumed) authors responsible for them. Note: the identity of the person behind several of these pseudonyms is not known for certain.

Pseudonym Author Notes
A.B. Francis Hopkinson Federalist.[4]
Agrippa James Winthrop[5] Eighteen essays appeared under this name in the Massachusetts Gazette between November 23, 1787 and February 5, 1788.[6]
Alfredus Samuel Tenney Federalist.[7]
Americanus John Stevens, Jr.[8]
Aristedes Alexander Contee Hanson Federalist.[9]
Aristocrotis William Petrikin Anti-Federalist.[10]
An Assemblyman William Findley
Brutus Robert Yates[5] Anti-Federalist. After Marcus Junius Brutus, a Roman republican involved in the assassination of Caesar. Published sixteen essays in the New York Journal between October 1787 and April 1788.
Caesar Alexander Hamilton?
Candidus Benjamin Austin[5]
Cato George Clinton[5] Anti-Federalist.
Centinel Samuel Bryan Alternately, the author possibly was George Bryan.[5]
Cincinnatus Arthur Lee After Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus. Six essays addressed to James Wilson appeared under this name in the New York Journal beginning November 1, 1787.[11]
A Citizen of America Noah Webster
A Citizen of New Haven Roger Sherman
A Columbian Patriot Mercy Warren[5]
A Countryman Roger Sherman
A Country Federalist James Kent
Crito Stephen Hopkins
Examiner Charles McKnight
Federal Farmer Anti-Federalist. The Federal Farmer letters are frequently attributed to Richard Henry Lee, but modern scholarship has challenged Lee's authorship.[12][13]
Foreign Spectator Nicholas Collin[14]
Genuine Information Luther Martin
Harrington Benjamin Rush
Helvidius Priscus James Warren[5]
An Independent Freeholder Alexander White
John DeWitt
A Landholder Oliver Ellsworth Thirteen essays, some of the most widely circulated commentary on the proposed Constitution, appeared under this name, with the first publication coming in the Hartford papers. The essays were certainly written by one of the Connecticut delegates to the Convention, and Ellsworth is the only likely possibility.[15]
Marcus James Iredell
Margery George Bryan
An Officer of the Late Continental Army William Findley[5]
A Pennsylvania Farmer John Dickinson
Philadelphiensis Benjamin Workman
Philo-Publius William Duer
Phocion Alexander Hamilton
A Plain Dealer Spencer Roane[5]
A Plebian Melancton Smith
Publius Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay After Publius Valerius Publicola. Under this name the three men wrote the 85 Federalist Papers. Hamilton had already used the name in 1778.
A Republican Federalist James Warren[5]
Rough Hewer Abraham Yates
Senex Patrick Henry? Published an article in the Virginia Independent Chronicle, August 15, 1787, which was reprinted in four states. James McClurg wrote that the author was "supposed by some to be Mr. H---y."[16]
The State Soldier St. George Tucker
Sydney Robert Yates[5]
Timoleon After Timoleon of Corinth.
Tullius George Turner?

See also


  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.
  4. ^ Kaminski and Saladino, XV: p. 181.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Main, Jackson Turner. The Antifederalists: Critics of the Constitution, 1781-1788. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press. 1961, p. 287.
  6. ^ Kaminski and Saladino, XV: p. 51.
  7. ^ Kaminski and Saladino, XIII: p. 412.
  8. ^ Kaminski and Saladino, XV: p. 120.
  9. ^ Kaminski and Saladino, XIII: p. 489.
  10. ^ Kaminski and Saladino, XIII: p. 376.
  11. ^ Kaminski and Saladino, XIII, p. 529.
  12. ^ Kaminski and Saladino, XIV: pp. 15-6.
  13. ^ Wood, Gordon S. "The Authorship of the Letters from the Federal Farmer." The William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Ser., Vol. 31, No. 2. (Apr., 1974), pp. 299-308.
  14. ^ Kaminski and Saladino, XV: p. 454.
  15. ^ Kaminski and Saladino, XIII: p. 561.
  16. ^ Kaminski and Saladino, p. 90.


  • 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

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