Difference Between Federalists and Anti-Federalists

Federalists vs Anti-Federalists
 

Between federalists and anti-federalists, we can see differences in their views and opinions of a federal government. It was in July 1783 that America broke away from the rule of Great Britain but the big question that confronted people was, to develop a new system of governance to protect the rights of the people and also to maintain the law and order. Because of the obvious differences in the thinking of people, it was only natural for many to agree and for many to disagree on how this objective was to be achieved. Those groups that supported a strong central government came to be known as federalists, and those who believed a strong centre would usurp the rights of the member states were called anti-federalists. This article attempts to high light the differences between federalists and anti-federalists.

One thing has to be said at the outset; that is, the common motive of both the federalists and anti-federalists. That is, though federalists and anti-federalists were at loggerheads because of their divergent views, both were concerned with finding a system that could preserve the new found liberty.

Who are Federalists?

The federalists wanted the power to be concentrated in the hands of the central or the federal government as they felt more power to states would be counterproductive. They felt that a strong center would be helpful in maintaining peace and order in the country. They also felt that the center should have the power to make uniform rules and regulations for the whole of the country. Federalists felt that giving power to states to make distinct rules and regulations would lead to chaos as each state would have rules and regulations as they wanted. However, it was not that federalists wanted states to be powerless as they visualized powers to be retained with the states in areas where all powers were not vested with the federal government.

On the other hand, the federalists believed that, in a large republic, the presence of diverse groups would eliminate the fear of tyranny and that the groups would compromise their view points to arrive at a consensus. Some of the famous federalists were Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, John Jay, and John Adams.

Difference Between Federalists and Anti-Federalists

George Washington

Who are Anti-Federalists?

Anti-federalists were in favor of small states as they felt the presence of communities with divergent views would make passing resolutions difficult, and small republic would make it easier to arrive at a consensus, to achieve the common good of the people.

Anti-federalists wanted the inclusion of bills of rights for the people as they believed the constitution proposed by the federalists would not be able to protect the individual rights of the citizens. Their views finally prevailed with the inclusion of bills of rights in the constitution. These rights pertained to freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Only when these rights were included in the constitution did the anti-federalists gave support to ratify the American constitution. Some of the famous anti-federalists were Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and Patrick Henry.

 Federalists vs Anti-Federalists

Thomas Jefferson

What is the difference between Federalists and Anti-Federalists?

• Definitions of Federalists and Anti-Federalists:

• Federalists were those who were in favor of the American Constitution that declared a stronger federal government.

• Anti-federalists were those who were against the American Constitution, which created a strong federal government.

• Beliefs and Opinions:

• Federalists wanted a strong center as they were convinced that maintaining law and order in the country was possible only with a strong and effective center.

• Anti-federalists feared that, with most powers vested in the federal government, states would be toothless to protect their rights.

• Preference:

• Federalists were in favor of a large republic.

• Anti-federalists favored small communities where arriving at a consensus was rather easier.

• Support to the Constitution:

• Federalists proposed the constitution and supported it from the beginning.

• Anti-federalists wanted the inclusion of bills of rights for the citizens in the constitution. Only after that did they support the constitution.

• Famous Personalities:

• Some of the famous federalists were Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, John Jay, and John Adams.

• Some of the famous anti-federalists were Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and Patrick Henry.

These are the differences between federalists and anti-federalists.

 

Images Courtesy: George Washington and Thomas Jefferson via Wikicommons (Public Domain)