In 1788, on this day in Richmond, the presumptively named "Virginia Ratifying Convention" rejected the US Constitution by a vote of 89 to 79.
Bonfire of the ConstitutionThe major issue that prevented ratification was the question of individual rights; many delegates who were in generally in favor of the Constitution were concerned that it did not contain a list of guaranteed rights akin to the celebrated Virginia Declaration of Rights.
Couriers then raced to New York with the news that Virginia had refused the plan, giving opponents of the Constitution the momentum they needed to prevent ratification there.
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"I need not take much pains to show, that the principles of this system, are extremely pernicious, impolitic, and dangerous. Here is a revolution as radical as that which separated us from Great Britain""Anti-Federalists" led by Patrick Henry (pictured), George Mason, William Grayson, James Monroe had won the argument that the Constitution created a central government that was too powerful. Because the man chosen for President, George Washington, was a Virginian who could not serve as Chief Magistrate now that his State had declined the opportunity to join the Union. Which was perhaps just as well. Patrick Henry's challenge to Washington, Madison, and Jefferson ~ "I Smell a Rat!"
Henry, the leader of the anti-federalist faction, opposed allowing the new central government to directly tax citizens of the various states, and he feared that the newly created office of President of the United States would have become far too powerful.