Ratification debates

The ratification debates between Federalists and anti-Federalists lead to a prolonged process of ratifying the American Constitution. The Federalists were advocates for a strong central government. Noted Federalists included Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison. They believed that the Constitution empowered the people, outlined voting procedures and created separation of powers which would deter tyranny in the new nation. The Federalist Papers were a medium to highlight their beliefs. Eighty-five of these articles were written. In contrast the anti-Federalists desired a decentralised system of authority. They feared that personal liberties would be threatened and a new aristocracy would be formed by the elite class (thus returning to a rule of the elite class much like the old British system). Noted anti-Federalists included John Hancock, Patrick Henry and Sam Adams. They promoted the anti-authoritarian spirit of 1776 which founded the Declaration of Independence. The Bill of Rights however tempered the anti-Federalists attitudes against the Constitution, especially those anti-Federalists who would only ratify if the rights of all Americans were safeguarded through a Bill of Rights.