The Anti-Federalist Publications

The Anti-Federalists did not have a single organized collection of documents like the Federalists, rather the majority of the writings were free-lance politician writing to respond to arguments made in the Federalist Papers and to win the hearts and minds of the American people. These publications include the Centinel, the Federal Farmer, and others. Some of the most important documents were written under the pseudonym "Brutus."
Samuel Bryan, writer of The Centinel

The Centinel

The Centinel was a series of papers published by Anti-Federalists, stressing the need for a decentralized government, like the one under the Articles of Confederation. In The Centinel, the author writes, 

"All the blessings of liberty and the dearest privileges of freemen are now at stake and dependent on your present conduct."

The Centinel stressed the fact that a strong central government would create an aristocracy of the politicians in power. 

The Federal Farmer

The Federal Farmer, much like the Centinel:
  • Warned about the hasty adoption of a new Constitution. 
  • Was one of the first widely read documents to suggest an adoption of a Bill of Rights. 
  • Argues that a partial Bill of Rights is already present in the Constitution 
  • A new Bill of Rights would not be a big stretch and would pose no danger to rights not explicitly mentioned in it.

The Federal Farmer
Robert Yates


The Brutus documents, written by Robert Yates under the pseudonym Brutus, were a direct rebuttal to the Federalist Papers. 
  • They interpreted each of the Federalist Papers 
  • Gave the Anti-Federalist point of view on the subjects addressed in the Constitution. 
  • They were the most widely read Anti-Federalist documents in the United States at the Time of Ratification.

Anti-Federalist No. 44

The 44th Anti-Federalist document is actually a letter, signed by the anonymous name "Deliberator." The main body of this paper is a list of points the Anti-Federalist party objected to. Certain points include:
  • "Congress may, even in time of peace, raise an army of 100,000 men, whom they may canton through the several states, and billet out on the inhabitants, in order to serve as necessary instruments in executing their decrees."
  • "Congress may levy and collect a capitation or poll tax, to what amount they shall think proper; of which the poorest taxable in the state must pay as much as the richest."
  • "Congress may withhold, as long as they think proper, all information respecting their proceedings from the people."
  • "Congress may, if they shall think it for the "general welfare," establish an uniformity in religion throughout the United States. Such establishments have been thought necessary, and have accordingly taken place in almost all the other countries in the world, and will no doubt be thought equally necessary in this."
All of these points raised by Anti-Federalists were eventually added into the Bill of Rights.
An amalgam of Anti-Federalist Papers
Back to Leading Members                                                                                                                                    Go to The Ratification