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Why Did Anti Federalists Favor A Bill Of Rights?

The Anti-federalists wanted a Bill of Rights in order to safeguard the liberties of the American people. The Anti-federalists were always leery of creating a strong central government that would assume the role that Parliament took during the tumultuous times before the American Revolution. Many of the items listed in the Bill of Rights are stated explicitly to avoid abuses by the federal government.

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The Anti-federalists were afraid of creating a centralized government that would become unresponsive to the needs of the people. Even though the states were incapable of paying down the national debt incurred by the Revolutionary War, the Anti-federalists also did not see a strong central government as the answer to the nation's problems. Anti-federalists insisted on the addition of a Bill of Rights to the Constitution in order to safeguard the freedoms of the people. These freedoms that protected speech, the press, and religion were considered to be basic for all men. Ideologically, the colonists fought the Revolutionary War because Britain was willing to trample these freedoms in order to ensure colonial compliance in taxation. The Anti-federalists wanted these freedoms explicitly stated in order to avoid a situation where a centralized government would have enough power to limit these basic freedoms.

The Anti-federalists also wanted to ensure the survival of state governments since these governments would theoretically be more responsive to their local constituents. The Tenth Amendment assures that any powers not explicitly listed as the domain of the federal government are the responsibility of the state governments. This ensured that state governments would always exist and serve a viable role in the lives of the citizens of their respective states.