The Anti-Federalist Papers: Federal Farmer I

On this day in 1787, an early contribution is made to the Anti-Federalist Papers. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Federalist Papers, a series of essays written in defense of the newly proposed Constitution as the states considered whether to ratify it? The Anti-Federalist Papers took the opposing viewpoint.


The Federalist Papers were written in an organized fashion, under one pseudonym, “Publius.” By contrast, the Anti-Federalist Papers were not at all organized. Various authors took an assortment of pseudonyms, such as “Cato,” “Brutus,” and the “Federal Farmer.” The essays were scattered, written more or less at the whim of their authors. Both sets of essays, however, were published in newspapers across the country.

On October 8, the “Federal Farmer” wrote one such essay. It was the first of 18 contributions that he would make to the Anti-Federalist Papers. Can you believe that the identity of the Federal Farmer is still unknown? Many historians have argued that it was Richard Henry Lee, former President of the Continental Congress. Others believe it was another delegate to the Congress, Melancton Smith. Or perhaps it was someone else entirely!