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When the Constitution was drafted, anti-federalists resisted it. They wrote and gave speeches against the Constitution in their home states and urged people to vote against ratification. Patrick Henry and Samuel Adams were two of the most vocal anti-federalists. They were concerned that several provisions in the constitution would lead to a central government that could take away the rights of individuals and states.
The first reason anti-federalists resisted ratification of the Constitution was the way the executive branch was established. They viewed the office of President with skepticism. To the anti-federalists, this position looked too much like a monarchy. The patriots had just thrown off the chains of monarchy and anti-federalist’s did not want to reestablish anything that even resembled a monarchy. They feared that giving any one person power would result in abuses. The presidency as constituted in the executive branch looked like it had the potential to develop into a king.
A second reason the anti-federalists opposed the Constitution was the idea of individualism. Patrick Henry wanted the influence of local government and local individuals to stay strong. He was a strong believer in individual liberty and felt that the best way to maintain that liberty was to give local and state governments the most power. Centralization of power was a theme the anti-federalists wanted to fight in every possible way. A strong federal government was just a step away from tyranny, according to anti-federalist thought. They believed that there should be checks on power, and that the checks and balances in the Constitution that worked between the three branches of the federal government were insufficient. The anti-federalists felt that the real check on the power of the federal government should be the state governments.
A final reason the anti-federalists would not support the
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