What might the U.S. have looked like if Anti-Federalists "won" their points in the debate over the Constitution.

3 Answers

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

If the Antifederalisfs had been successful, state governments would have had more power than the federal government. As it stands now, the federal government can override the states, and federal law supersedes state law. The country would be a different place if states had the power and the federal government was toothless.
brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

One distinct possibility is that we would not today be one country, but more likely at least four or five nations. We wouldn't have expanded to our present imperial size, or at least, much more slowly and with more international competition. Slavery would have lasted much longer, in my opinion, with no strong federal government to eventually abolish it. Native Americans might even have fared better against a weaker US government, although admittedly, that is a longshot given the effects of disease.
pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

It is, of course, impossible to know this.  But my opinion is that the United States could not have continued to exist if the Anti-Federalists had won.  This is because the US would have looked too much like it had under the Articles of Confederation and would have eventually broken up.

Under the Articles of Confederation, the states had way too much power and the federal government had too little.  The US looked more like the United Nations does today with the central government unable to control the states and the states being in conflict with one another quite often.  I think that if the Anti-Federalists had won, this sort of dynamic would have continued.  There would have been little to bind the states together than they would have split up into smaller and separate nations.