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A Guide to Primary Resources for U.S. History
The United States Constitution Back to History Unit

(c) describing the conflict over ratification, including the Bill of Rights and the arguments of the Federalists and Anti-Federalists;

Federalist Paper #1
Yale University Law School: The Avalon Project

Anti-Federalist Paper #1

Description: The Federalist Papers support the ratification of the new Constitution while the Anti-Federalist Papers oppose the ratification. There are many different objections raised in this series of open letters. Basically, Federalists were in favor of a stronger central government while the Anti-Federalists were wary of giving such authority to a reigning entity. These documents are the first of the series and provide an introduction to the positions of the two groups.

Teaching Tips:

"Do Now" Suggestion
  • Define the terms Federalist and Anti-Federalist. Discuss the historical context underlying the fears of the Anti-Federalists.
Suggestion for Using this Resource as Part of a Lesson
  • Use this as a secondary introduction to the Federalist and Anti-Federalist debates. Using the documents, have students identify main points of opposition. Then have students highlight the main points supporting and opposing the positions. Create a large visual summarizing the arguments for both sides to keep posted for ready reference.

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