1776 Strikes Back—Anti-federalist Critics of the Constitution

  • Ivan JankovicEmail author


This chapter examines anti-federalist critique of the newly proposed Constitution. It combines the elements of the older tradition of “mixed” or ancient constitutionalism, with the typical economic arguments against mercantilism and central government’s control over the economic life. It demonstrates that anti-federalists were a diverse group of people who cherished American traditional political concepts mixed with an intuitive, and yet sometimes rather sophisticated grasp of free market economics and the dangers for economic liberty posed by the emerging mercantilist machinery of government. The chapter challenges the conventional interpretation of the weakness of the regime under the Articles of Confederation and demonstrates its superiority over the new Constitution in protecting economic liberty. It employs economic analysis to demonstrate the relevance of anti-federalist arguments for modern theories of fiscal federalism and decentralization.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MaryBismarckUSA

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