The Constitutional Convention

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Would you favor the Federalists or the Anti-Federalists? Why?

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Your answer will vary depending upon your view of the federal government. The Federalists believed in a strong central government with little power given to the states. They believed in a strong military and a nation of industrialists. They also believed in having close ties to Britain, as that was the United States's main trading partner. The Federalists also favored a central bank. Many of the wealthy joined the ranks of the Federalists, as they liked the power of a central bank and thought that a strong federal government would be stable.

The Anti-Federalists thought that a strong central government would be aloof to the people's needs; therefore, they believed in having strong state governments. They thought that it was natural for the United States to have strong ties to republican France. They thought that a strong central bank would put economic interests in the hands of the elites, to the detriment of the middle and working classes. The Anti-Federalists thought that the United States should be a nation of farmers, as property-owners had the most to gain or lose from good governance and this would help to ensure that the United States remained true to its republican values. They also believed in state militias, as a strong federal military would be hard to fund with taxes and could be used as a weapon against the people by the federal government.

As for me, I would back the Anti-Federalist cause. I do not like the idea of a central bank, as it would put too much power in the hands of the elitist class. I also think that, at the time of the debate, the United States had more of a need for militias than it did a strong national military. At the time of the debate, I would have also favored the United States becoming a nation of farmers, as this would have encouraged westward expansion.

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This answer depends on your political ideas and, to some extent, what your socioeconomic circumstances were.

For the most part, people who were strongly involved in the market economy supported the Federalists.  These were people who were involved in buying and selling goods.  They might have sold imported goods in stores or they might have exported cotton from their plantations.  Conversely, people who were more self-sufficient favored the Antifederalists.  These were the many people who farmed for themselves and who largely just traded with their neighbors for anything they did not grow or make on their own.  You would likely have decided which side to support based on your economic circumstances.

You might also have made this decision based on your political ideas.  Do you think that the federal government is likely to threaten your freedom?  If so, you would probably be an Antifederalist because they wanted the states to have most of the power.  Do you think that the common people are too likely to make really bad laws that will weaken our country?  If so, you would probably support the Federalists because they wanted a strong central government that would be less closely tied to the people’s opinions.  You would probably have chosen between the Federalists and the Antifederalists based on your economic circumstances and/or your political beliefs.

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