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The Anti-Federalist Papers and the…

The Anti-Federalist Papers and the Constitutional Convention Debates… (original 1986; edition 2003)

by Ralph Ketcham (Editor)

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1,054313,510 (3.96)3
The dissenting opinions of Patrick Henry and others who saw the Constitution as a threat to our hard-won rights and liberties. The complete text of dissenting opinions of those who saw the Constitution as a threat are collected in this volume with Convention debates, commentaries, and lists that cross-reference to its companion Signet Classics volume The Federalist Papers.… (more)
Title:The Anti-Federalist Papers and the Constitutional Convention Debates (Signet Classics)
Authors:Ralph Ketcham (Editor)
Info:Signet (2003), Edition: 58615th, 480 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Anti-Federalist Papers and the Constitutional Convention Debates by Ralph Ketcham (Editor) (1986)

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Essential reading. ( )
  nittnut | Aug 30, 2018 |
Unless your an avid student of politics, this book is a VERY hard read.
But if you're interested in how the United States of America was born, it's worth plowing your way through.
And you might just discover that some of the facts you were taught in school [oh. like President George Washington was elected unanimously, hands-down with no competition of any kind for the office) are flat-out wrong. ( )
  dragonasbreath | Oct 12, 2012 |
The encroachment on civil and political rights, in the post Obama inauguration period, suggests that the Anti-Federalist writers provide reasonable alternatives to the imposition of government power. These writers provide a sound counterbalance to the notion that the government, especially big government, provides American answers to classic issues of governmental organization.

One writing nugget is typical:

"It is natural for men, who wish to hasten the adoption of a measure, to tell us, now is the crisis--now is the critical moment which must be seized, or all will be lost; and to shut the door against free inquiry, whenever conscious the thing presented has defects in it, which time and investigation will probably discover. This has been the custom of tyrants and their dependents in all ages. If it is true, what so often been said, that the people of this country cannot change their condition for the worse, I presume it still behooves them to endeavor deliberately to change it for the better. The fickle and ardent, in any community, are the proper tools for establishing despotic government. But it is deliberate and thinking men, who must establish and secure governments on free principles. Before they decide on the plan proposed, they will inquire whether it probably be a blessing or a curse to the people (pp. 259-260)."

Letters From the Federal Farmer, 8 October 1787

These thoughts are just as relevant as they were at their writing as Americans have considered the issues brought on by the financial crisis, bailouts, cap and tax, and health care rationing. The spark for radical transformation of America is claimed to be justified by the proclamation of a crisis, real or imagined. This has always been the realm of the tyrant in opposing a free Republic of people.
3 vote gmicksmith | Aug 6, 2009 |
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For anyone interested in political thought in action, the United States during the 1770s and 1780s is perhaps the most exciting period in the country's history
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The Federalist Papers defend the concept of a strong central government with their arguments in favor of the Constitution.
The Anti-Federalist Papers revealed the dissenting opinions of such statesmen as Patrick Henry and John DeWitt, who saw in the document threats to rights and liberties so recently won from England.
Although the Anti-Federalists lost, they came so close to winning, and their opinions represent an important contribution to the American political Tradition.

This volume includes complete texts of Anti-Federalist papers and Constitutional Convention debates, commentaries, and an Index of Ideas. The book also lists cross-references to the companion volume, the Federalist Papers, which is also available in a Mentor edition.


  • Should the central government of the United States be stronger than the individual state governments?¬†
  • Should the members of the government be elected by direct vote of the people?
  • Dopes slavery have any place in a nation dedicated to liberty?
  • should the government be headed by a single executive, and how powerful should he be?
  • Should immigrants be allowed into the United States?
  • Which citizens should have the vote?
  • How should judges be appointed, and what should their role in government be?
  • What human rights should be safe from government infringement?

In 1787, these important questions and others were raised as the States debated the merits of the proposed Constitution. Along with THE FEDERALIST PAPERS, this invaluable book documents the political context in which the Constitution was born.
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