Who Were the Anti-Federalists?

The Anti-Federalists made up a political movement in early U.S. history that opposed the ratification of the Constitution. Their reasons included opposition to a strong federal government and the fear of reverting to monarchical rule.

Notable Anti-Federalist figures included Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry and James Monroe, who later became the fifth president of the United States. Most Anti-Federalists feared the central power of the new federal government, seeing it as a threat to states' rights and individual liberties. The Anti-Federalists were instrumental in the 1789 ratification of the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, the famous Bill of Rights that protects individual freedoms.