• Lesson 13

    What Was the Anti-Federalist Position in the Debate about Ratification?

    Most of the delegates at the Philadelphia Convention signed the Constitution on September 17, 1787. Their product would become the law of the land only if ratified by at least nine of the thirteen states. This lesson explains the process of ratification and the opposition that erupted immediately after the draft Constitution became public. Supporters of the proposed Constitution called themselves Federalists and labeled their opponents Anti-Federalists. The names stuck, even though the opponents argued that they—not the Constitution?s supporters—were the real believers in a truly "federal" system, a confederation of equal states.