The Anti-Federalists were a complex group of men dedicated to real federalism.
That’s important. In fact, they should be called the Federalists, not the group who co-opted the name.
You see, the “Federalists” we’ve come to know and love or despise were in reality nationalists who sought to centralize power in the general government by hook or crook.
Some of them honestly believed the Constitution would maintain the original federal republic. Quite a few jumped ship once they realized their “friends” weren’t so honest.
The Anti-Federalists predicted much of the modern nightmares we face in American politics.
But the important thing to note is how their positions were abused by men like Joseph Story in order to “prove” that the Constitution really intended to centralize government.
That would have been news to just about anyone who argued for ratification, at least in regard to what they said publicly.
Story does a great job flipping the ratification of the Constitution on its head. You see, the Constitution really intended to create a central government with unlimited power because the Anti-Federalists said it would.
If that were true, then the Constitution never would have been ratified.
The Anti-Federalist arguments against the Constitution offer a cogent reminder that opponents of power are often correct in their assessments and that “slippery slope” fallacies are often not poor logic when placed within the context of government authority.
You can never trust psychopaths once they wield power.
Proponents of the document promised the opposite, which is why we should listen to them instead of the Antis. That is the Constitution as ratified.
Of course, that Constitution is no longer in effect. We have a new Constitution, the 14th Amendment. Students might as well just memorize it and ditch the Preamble.
That said, reviewing Anti-Federalist arguments against the Constitution provide nice historical summary of what they thought would happen, which is why I discuss them on Episode 902 of The Brion McClanahan Show.
p.s. Do you want the REAL scoop on the Constitution? Then pick up any of my classes or books on the topic. Right now, every class at McClanahan Academy has a 35% discount. Just use the coupon code BLACK FRIDAY 23 at checkout. That’s the best you’ll get this year, and they make GREAT gifts.