Anti-Federalists

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Anti-Federalists,

in American history, opponents of the adoption of the federal Constitution. Leading Anti-Federalists included George MasonMason, James,
1909–84, British stage and film actor. Mason, trained at Cambridge as an architect, became a leading man in British films in the 1940s and thereafter an international star.
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, Elbridge GerryGerry, Elbridge
, 1744–1814, American statesman, Vice President of the United States, b. Marblehead, Mass. He was elected (1772) to the Massachusetts General Court, where he became a follower of Samuel Adams, who enlisted him in the colonial activities preceding the
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, Patrick HenryHenry, Patrick,
1736–99, political leader in the American Revolution, b. Hanover co., Va. Largely self-educated, he became a prominent trial lawyer. Henry bitterly denounced (1765) the Stamp Act and in the years that followed helped fan the fires of revolt in the South.
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, and George ClintonClinton, George,
1739–1812, American statesman, vice president of the United States (1805–1812), b. Little Britain, N.Y. Before he was 20 he served on a privateer and, in the French and Indian War, accompanied the regiment of his father, Charles Clinton, in the
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. Later, many of the Anti-Federalists opposed the policies of the Federalist partyFederalist party,
in U.S. history, the political faction that favored a strong federal government. Origins and Members

In the later years of the Articles of Confederation there was much agitation for a stronger federal union, which was crowned with success when the
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 and of Alexander HamiltonHamilton, Alexander,
1755–1804, American statesman, b. Nevis, in the West Indies. Early Career

He was the illegitimate son of James Hamilton (of a prominent Scottish family) and Rachel Faucett Lavien (daughter of a doctor-planter on Nevis and the estranged
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.

Bibliography

See M. Borden, ed., The Antifederalist Papers (1965); C. M. Kenyon, ed., The Antifederalists (1966).

References in periodicals archive ?
Elaborating Libby's argument, Beard claimed that Anti-Federalism drew its greatest numerical strength from back country regions, areas in which debt-ridden farmers sought pro-inflationary economic policies.
31) Wood conceded that "such 'aristocrats' as [Richard Henry] Lee or [George] Mason did not truly represent Anti-Federalism.
In both Pennsylvania and New York Anti-Federalism was dominated by middling democrat radicals.
It is the Libby/Beard account of the dynamics of ratification and the nature of Anti-Federalism that has had the most enduring impact on historical scholarship.
THE OTHER FOUNDERS: ANTI-FEDERALISM AND THE DISSENTING TRADITION IN AMERICA, 1788-1828 (1999).
47) The effort to counterpose states' rights and individual rights is one of the most serious anachronisms in recent discussions of Anti-Federalism by supporters of the Standard Model.
51) The tendency to homogenize the thought of Anti-Federalists, casting the opposition to the Constitution as an essentially populist democratic movement, ignores the thought of elite Anti-Federalism and confuses the profound differences separating moderate democrats from the most radical wing of the Anti-Federalist coalition.
In fact, we can test this hypothesis by examining what happened when the most radical voices within Anti-Federalism tried to claim a right to use the militia and arms to check despotism.
90) Even if the case of Pennsylvania Anti-Federalism proves to be exceptional, the claim that a single paradigm can explain all of American constitutional thought on an issue as complicated as the right to bear arms runs counter to dominant trends in recent historical scholarship on the character of early American constitutional and political thought.
On the blending of liberal and republican elements in Anti-Federalist thought, see Saul Cornell, The Other Founders: Anti-Federalism and the Dissenting Tradition in America, 1788.
Indeed, at the time of the Carlisle Riots and the Whiskey Rebellion substantial voices from the elite ranks of Anti-Federalism supported disarming their former Anti-Federalist allies.
Kenyon some years ago pointed out that within Anti-Federalism there was considerable anti-democratic, even reactionary, thinking.