Did the Anti-Federalists have their own published writings?
Yes, the Anti-Federalists also relied on a series of anonymous essays. Several Anti-Federalists also wrote articles under pen names attacking various aspects of the Constitution. An Anti-Federalist who called himself the "Federal Farmer" critiqued the Constitution in a series of letters published in the Poughkeepsie Country Journal from November 1787 to January 1788. The letters also appeared in pamphlet form. For many years, it was assumed that Richard Henry Lee of Virginia was the author. Now, some historians believe the author was the New York Anti-Federalist Melancton Smith.
The "Letters from the Federal Farmer" criticized the new Constitution and its proponents as showing a "strong tendency to aristocracy." The Federal Farmer argued that the Constitution concentrated too much power in the central government. The Federal Farmer also made some accurate predictions about the future of our government. For example, the Federal Farmer wrote: "This system promises a large field of employment to military gentlemen and gentlemen of the law."
Robert Yates, a New York judge who served in the Convention, wrote a series of articles under the pen name "Brutus." Brutus was the Roman republican who helped assassinate Julius Caesar to prevent Caesar from overthrowing the Roman Republic. In one of his articles he criticized the powers granted to the judicial branch. He wrote that "the supreme court under this constitution would be exalted above all other power in the government, and subject to no control."
How did the battle between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists conclude?
The battle between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists was intense. However, the Federalists possessed advantages. They enjoyed most of the media support. The large newspapers from Boston, New York and Philadelphia took up the Federalist cause. They also seemed to have the best ammunition—the detailed document known as the Constitution. Though the Anti-Federalists made many arguments against provisions of the Constitution, they did not have their own document. The Anti-Federalists could only criticize the new document.
However, the Anti-Federalists seized upon the lack of a bill of rights as a prime weapon in the ratification battles. Delaware became the first state to ratify the Constitution and it did so unanimously on December 7, 1787. Then, an intense battle began in Pennsylvania. James Wilson took the lead in defending the Constitution in his home state.
In a well-known address delivered on October 6, 1787, Wilson argued that the inclusion of a bill of rights was "superfluous and absurd." The new Congress, Wilson argued, "possesses no influence whatever upon the press." Wilson pointed out that many Anti-Federalists were criticizing the new document because it provided for a standing army. Wilson responded: "Yet I do not know a nation in the world, which has not found it necessary and useful to maintain the appearance of strength in a season of the most profound tranquility."
The state assembly had to vote on a state convention. Many of the Anti-Federalists in the state legislature refused to attend the assembly. They did not want the Assembly to have a quorum, or a sufficient number of members to take a valid vote. Allegedly, a mob of people broke into a local home and dragged two Anti-Federalists to the Assembly floor in order to create a quorum. The delegates voted 45 to 2 in favor of a ratification convention. The state convention met for five weeks. Finally, on December 12, 1787, the delegates voted for ratification by a vote of 46 to 23. The vote upset some citizens with Anti-Federalists's sympathies. A mob of such people attacked James Wilson in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania delegates also considered fifteen amendments proposed by Anti-Federalist Robert Whitehill. These proposed amendments were similar to what would later become the U.S. Bill of Rights.