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What are the Anti-Federalist Papers?

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The Anti-Federalist Papers were written arguments against the ratification of the United States Constitution. Written between 1787 and 1789 by various authors writing under pseudonyms, they contain warnings of dangers from tyranny that the proposed Constitution did not adequately address and led to the addition of the Bill of Rights.

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The Anti-Federalist papers brought up concerns that a central government would have too much power, would benefit only the aristocracy, would lead to excess taxation and would result in civil war.

A Pennsylvanian calling himself "Montezuma" asserted in a 1787 essay that a consolidated government is tyranny. The author then went on to call for a bill of rights to be added to the proposed constitution.

An anonymous Antifederalist from Virginia named "Philanthropos," in paper number seven, likened the federal government to a medicine that would cause widespread convulsions. He then declared that the new constitution would lead to civil war.

"Brutus" warned in a letter to New Yorkers that if Congress had the power to make all laws, the original intent of the Confederation would be lost. He then posed the possibility that the new America could extend its power over large territories and become as tyrannical as the ancient Roman government, which began as a republic.

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