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Biographies of the Key Figures

The Federalist-Antifederalist debates surrounding the ratification of the Constitution took place over a period of about a year, and across all the states. The Federalists, in the strictest terms, consisted of Hamilton, Jay, and Madison, and those who agreed with the case they made over the course of The Federalist. The Antifederalist side is more difficult to define, given that the authors of the many editorials and addresses written against the Constitution did not coordinate with one another, took issue with the document for different reasons, and offered different solutions. That is, the Antifederalists were not a single, coherent group, promoting a clear set of ideas, in the same way that the Federalists were.