Federalists, Anti-federalists Federalism is a system of government that divides power between a central and a provincial government or state. Each level has its own power and obligations to provide services, raise revenue and meet other obligations. Contrary to Confederations and federal systems, the central authority has some control over its citizens. This gives it some sovereignty.
It is easy to see the difference: while one group supports Federalism, anti-Federalists do not support a federally governed country with each region having its own rights. The conflict between federalists or anti-federalists stems from the fact that while anti-federalists believed that the constitution would create a monarchy of aristocracy, federalists believe that a nation governed by the articles of Confederation is insufficient to support an ever expanding and growing country. Next came ratification by at minimum nine states. In 1887, the state ratification was still possible. Any state that did not ratify it would be considered an independent country. The opinions of the federalists as well as anti-federalists on how government should be structured were vastly different. The antifederalists comprised mostly farmers and tradesmen. These people were supporting their families while the federalists comprised wealthy and elite plantation owner and businessmen. The anti-Federalists were concerned about three issues when they read the proposed Constitution. They were: the new nation’s size, the problem with political representation, and the disturbing concentration of government powers. The Constitution was interpreted by the anti-Federalists as if these key issues were being addressed and how they would be dealt with by the new government. The new government was a target of their distrust and fear.
The Constitution’s opponents pointed out that there were many signs of potential despotism, including the single power to tax, the lack or protection of freedoms, a large military force, dissolution state powers, and, above all, the concentration on a few of these powers. This was the issue most troubling to the anti-Federalists. This is because the Constitution gave these men all powers and laws that they were to interpret and execute.
One theme that recurred throughout the anti-Federalist writings is the fear that the centralization and eventual establishment of power would result in an oppressive, not democratic, government.