Who were the Anti-Federalists?

A group of colonists in the late 18th century who opposed the ratification of the 1787 Constitution. They believed the Constitution gave the government and elected officials too much power.

The anti-federalists believed that the proposed US Constitution gave the government too much power. They feared the country turning into a monarchy (a government led by one king or queen).

They opposed certain aspects of each of the 3 branches of government. For example, they believed that the small size of the Senate would limit who could win a seat and it would end up filled with only upper class officials. They believed the ability to veto gave the President too much power, and they thought having a federal court would take power away from local courts.

The anti-federalist movement was started by Patrick Henry of Virginia. Other notable members of the anti-federalist movement are: Samuel Adams, George Mason, James Monroe, and James Winthrop.

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