CUREJ - College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal

The Antifederalists Were (Mostly) Right: An Analysis of Modern American Public Opinion on the Concerns of the Antifederalists

Jamie B. Nash, University of Pennsylvania

Division: Social Sciences

Dept/Program: Political Science

Document Type: Undergraduate Student Research

Mentor(s): Michele Margolis

Date of this Version: 20 April 2022



This thesis analyzes the connection between Antifederalist objections to Constitutional ratification and modern-day public opinion on related topics to see the long-term validity of the Antifederalist claims. Using Pew Research Center data, this study focuses on topics of rural consciousness, nationalism, presidential identity, governmental distance from constituency, and the Electoral College as proxies through which to consider Antifederalist claims. The use of proxies is meant to allow the contextualization of Antifederalist attitudes within a context that will produce meaningful public opinion data. This paper also seeks to find explanatory variables for the trends discovered in the data. The results show that the core ideas behind Antifederalist concerns are still largely present within the American public, specifically related to nationalism, congress being too distant from the constituency, and the Constitution being too difficult to amend. The growth of presidential power making presidential identity unimportant, though, is not present and thus contradict part of Antifederalist claims. This study adds to the field of American politics by taking a novel approach in considering the long-lasting impact of Antifederalism. This group is frequently overlooked and discounted, but this study shows that, perhaps, they deserve to be given more credit for their anxieties than they often are.


American Politics | Political Science

Suggested Citation

Nash, Jamie B., "The Antifederalists Were (Mostly) Right: An Analysis of Modern American Public Opinion on the Concerns of the Antifederalists" 20 April 2022. CUREJ: College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal, University of Pennsylvania,

Date Posted: 20 May 2022




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