Federalists and Anti-Federalists
Document A: Anti-Federalist Position (Modified)
Melancton Smith, June 21, 1788
Representatives should be a true picture of the people. They should understand
their circumstances and their troubles. Therefore, the number of representatives
should be so large that both rich and poor people will choose to be
If the number of representatives is small, the position will be too competitive.
Ordinary people will not attempt to run for office. A middle-class yeoman
(farmer) will never be chosen. So, the government will fall into the hands of the
few and the rich. This will be a government of oppression.
The rich consider themselves above the common people, entitled to more
respect. They believe they have the right to get anything they want.
Document B: Federalist Position (Modified)
Alexander Hamilton, June 21, 1788
The Anti-Federalists seem to think that a pure democracy would be the perfect
government. Experience has shown that this idea is false. The ancient
democracies of Greece were characterized by tyranny and run by mobs.
The Anti-Federalists also argue that a large representation is necessary to
understand the interests of the people. This is not true. Why can’t someone
understand fifty people as well as he understands twenty people?
The new constitution does not make a rich man more eligible for an elected office
than a poor person. I also think it’s dangerous to assume that men become more
wicked as they gain wealth and education. Look at all the people in a
community, the rich and the poor, the educated and the ignorant. Which group
has higher moral standards? Both groups engage in immoral or wicked behavior.
But it would seem to me that the behavior of the wealthy is less wicked and
Federalists and Anti-Federalists
Federalist and Anti-federalist Graphic Organizer Name______________
Document A:
Melancton Smith
Document B:
Alexander Hamilton
Is this person happy
with how the new
Constitution deals
with representation?
What kind of
government would
this person like to
Find a quote to
support your claim.
Based on this
document, what sort
of people in society
would support this
point of view?
Federalists and Anti-Federalists
Alexander Hamilton, James Madison,
John Jay – all known as “Publius”
(Federalist Papers)
Property owners, landed rich,
Believed in elitism. Saw themselves
and those of their class as most fit to
Powerful central government. 2-
house legislature. Representative
democracy, with single representatives
for 30,000 people.
Thomas Jefferson, “Brutus” and
Small farmers, shopkeepers, laborers
Believed in the decency of the
common man and in participatory
democracy (closer to direct
democracy). Viewed elites as corrupt.
Sought greater protection of individual
Wanted stronger state governments
at the expense of the federal
government. Frequent elections,
smaller districts, more direct