The American Revolution Birthplace of the Bill of Rights Federalism and Anti-Federalism

Federalism and Anti-Federalism

These two concepts divided the Founding Fathers more than any other.

Federalists argued for a constitutional central or national government which would provide for finances, defense, and foreign policy for the new republic. The liberty and rights of the people would be secured by common values. Federal, state, and local governments would thus be defined by function and authority. George Washington led this faction, which ultimately evolved into America’s first political party.

Anti-Federalists, flowing from the Articles of Confederation, still believed in state sovereignty and codification of the rights and liberties of The People. George Mason (IV) was one of the principal leaders of this movement. Its principles were later absorbed by Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican Party.