The Anti-Federalists did not want to ratify the Constitution. Basically, they argue that: • It gave too much power to the national government at the expense of the state governments. • There was no bill of rights. • The national government could maintain an army in peacetime. • Congress, because of the `necessary and proper clause,' wielded too much power. • The executive branch held too much power.
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. The lack of a bill of rights was the focus of the Anti-Federalist campaign against ratification.
Overall, the Federalists were more organized in their efforts. By June of 1788, the Constitution was close to ratification. Nine states had ratified it, and only one more (New Hampshire) was needed. To achieve this, the Federalists agreed that once Congress met, it would draft a bill of rights. Finally, New York and Virginia approved, and the Constitution was a reality. Interestingly, the Bill of Rights was not originally a part of the Constitution, and yet it has proved to be highly important to protecting the rights of the people.
In support of the Constitution, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay published a series of anonymous essays now known as the Federalist Papers. These propaganda essays extolled the benefits of a strong central government and allayed fears about civil liberties. Well written and persuasive, the essays are now regarded as some of the finest writings on American politics and republicanism. Though many political philosophers in the 1700s had argued that republican government was impossible for large countries with diverse populations, the writers of the Federalist Papers argued the opposite.