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The debate over the ratification of the Constitution produced a flood of propoganda on both sides of the issue. Those who opposed the adoption of the Constitution, or who wanted the Constitution amended, quickly came to be known as the anti-federalists. The anti-federalists were extremely suspicious of centralized authority and, hence, wanted to reduce the power of the federal government under the Constitution. The editors of the Annals of America (vol. 3, p. 150) list the major anti-federalist arguments as follows: (1) the Constitution was designed by a propertied artistocracy, (2) the Constitution contained no bill of rights, (3) the Constitutional Convention went beyond its authorized authority to amend the Articles of Confederation, thereby illegally framing the new governement, (4) the Constitution did not equally divide power among the three branches of government, and (5) the the newly created federal government would completely overwhelm the power of the states. Additionally, we note that the anti-federalists wanted specific limitations on the government's taxation and commerce powers.

As history records, the anti-federalists lost most of their battle. The Constitution was ratified in 1788, and Congress began meeting the following year. At the same time, the anti-federalists did succeed in convincing the states of the need for a bill of rights. Our current Bill of Rights, containing the establishment and free exercise clauses, were framed by the first Congress and were ratified by the states in 1791.

Absence of Delegated Power