The name, Anti-Federalists is not the best-suited name for what they truly are, or what they believe in. “They are called the Anti-Federalists, but it should be made clear at once that they were not Anti-Federal at all.” (Main xi) Originally, the word federalist, meant anyone who supported the Articles of Confederation. The term “Anti-Federalist” was placed on them to portray them as people who did not agree with the Federal Government, which was exactly opposite of what they are.
According to the proper definition, the Anti-Federalists were really more “Federal” than the so-called Federalists. Many Anti-Federalists felt this way because “they took their bearings from the principles of federalism laid down in the Articles.” (Allen viii) The Anti-Federalists say they stuck with the Articles of Confederation and stayed with the government. Before the Federalists took on their name, they were called the Nationalists. The Nationalists changed the name to Federalists to show that they were improving the government and were not trying to destroy it. The Federalists were more interested in forming a new government, while the Anti-Federalists wanted to improvise and improve on the Confederation.
One argument that the Anti-Federalists had against the forming of a new constitution was that they claimed it would “lead to a new consolidation system of government” and the leaders of Philadelphia intended “such a system and that the consolidated system would in the end destroy republican government and individual liberty as well as the independence of the states.” (Lewis 2) The Federalists feared that the government would have so much power it would be abused. They were constantly speculating about what would happen to the United States and it’s government if this much power was given to the government. The Anti-Federalists believed that the government would want more and more power. They thought that the national government would soon dominate the state governments.
The Federalists started calling the groups of people who disagreed with them the Anti-Federalists. The Federalists felt that what they were trying to do what was best for the country and government, therefore being more “federal”. Not only were they calling their enemies Anti-Federalists just because they did not agree with them, but they also had a reason behind...