The Constitutional Convention of 1787 created much separation between states and the citizens that occupied those states. Only one representative from each state (except for Rhode Island) went to Philadelphia and voiced their opinions and represented their state's ideas and requests for a stronger national government, something that was not possible with the Articles of Confederation. The Federalists were basically made up of the writers of the Constitution, the elite republicans, and they were trying to get the states to ratify their version of it. The Anti-Federalists consisted of some of the representatives from each state, the popular republicans, which believe in the slogan, "power to the people" and heavily favored the ideas of the Declaration of Independence and its viewpoints on giving the power back to the people.
Liberty was the main issue in these debates for the Anti-Federalists. They believed that "power was no longer the problem; liberty was. Executives were no longer the majority threat; legislatures were" (Miroff 27). This basically meant that the faction who had the power, the opposing group did not have, or had little, liberty. To the Anti-Federalists, liberty meant that you had a say in what was going on, and there is no supreme ruler or force that is telling you what to do. The Anti-Federalists felt that they needed to keep liberty strong and not have it taken away from them, like it was before the Revolution. The purpose of having the war and breaking away from England was to give the people liberty and as stated in the Declaration of Independence's first words, "we the people," Thomas Jefferson inferred that the power should belong to the people. The Anti-Federalists argued that the rich and powerful from each state developed the Constitution and that they did not properly represent the state, or country as a whole. Another argument that they had were to give the states some more rights and to not have the Federal government have an authority over what the states can control.