Subscribe to America`s largest dictionary and get thousands of additional definitions and advanced search – ad-free! With the adoption of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the anti-federalist movement was exhausted. Some activists joined the Anti-Administration Party, which James Madison and Thomas Jefferson founded around 1790-91 to oppose the policies of Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton; This group quickly became the Democratic-Republican Party. When Jefferson took office as the third president in 1801, he replaced federalist appointees with Democratic-Republicans, trying to focus on issues that allowed states to make more of their own decisions on issues. It also repealed the excise tax on whiskey and other federal taxes, closed some federal offices, and attempted largely to change the tax system created by Hamilton.  Anti-federalists played with these sentiments in the Massachusetts Ratification Convention. At that time, five of the states had ratified the Constitution with relative ease, but the Massachusetts Convention was much more controversial and controversial. After a long debate, a compromise (known as the “Massachusetts Compromise”) was reached. Massachusetts would ratify the Constitution with the provisions recommended in the instrument of ratification that the Constitution be amended by a Bill of Rights. (Federalists argued that conditional ratification would be null and void, so the recommendation was the strongest support the ratification convention could give to a bill of rights without rejecting the Constitution.) In many states, opposition to the Constitution was strong (although Delaware, Georgia, and New Jersey were ratified quickly and with little controversy), and in two states – North Carolina and Rhode Island – it prevented ratification until the final establishment of the new administration effectively forced its compliance. Individualism was the strongest element of opposition; The need, or at least the desirability, of a bill of rights has been perceived almost everywhere.  In Rhode Island, opposition to the Constitution was so strong that the 4th. In July 1788, a civil war nearly broke out when anti-federalist members of the Country Party led by Judge William West marched on Providence with more than 1,000 armed protesters.
 Anti-federalists were composed of various elements, including those who opposed the constitution because they believed that a stronger government would threaten the sovereignty and prestige of states, places, or individuals; those who saw in the proposed government a new centralized and disguised “monarchical” power that would only replace Britain`s repugnant despotism;  and those who simply feared that the new government would threaten their personal freedoms. Part of the opposition felt that the central government was sufficient under the Articles of Confederation. Still others felt that if the national government was too weak under the articles, the national government under the constitution would be too strong. Another complaint of the anti-federalists was that the Constitution provided for a centralized government rather than a federal government (and in the Federalist Papers, James Madison admits that the new constitution has the characteristics of a centralized and federal form of government) and that a truly federal form of government was a leaguing of the states as in the Articles of Confederation. When the federalists changed the articles, which eventually led to the Constitutional Convention, they applied the term anti-federalist to their opposition. The term implied, rightly or wrongly, both opposition to Congress and unpatriotic motives. The anti-federalists rejected the term, arguing that they were the true federalists. Both in their correspondence and in their local groups, they tried to grasp the term.
For example, an unknown anti-federalist signed his public correspondence as a “federal farmer,” and the New York Committee that opposed the Constitution was called the Federal Republican Committee. But the federalists carried the day and the anti-federalist name remained forever.  During the debate on the ratification of the Constitution, many independent local speeches and articles were published throughout the country. Initially, many articles in the opposition were written under pseudonyms, such as “Brutus” (probably Melancton Smith), “Centinel” (probably Samuel Bryan), and “Federal Farmer”. Eventually, famous revolutionaries such as Patrick Henry publicly opposed the Constitution. They argued that the strong national government proposed by the federalists posed a threat to the rights of the individual and that the president would become a king. They rejected the federal judicial system created by the draft constitution. This has led to a phenomenal body of political writing; The best and most influential of these articles and speeches have been collected by historians in a collection known as the Anti-Federalist Papers in reference to the Federalist Papers. Four of the next five states to be ratified, including New Hampshire, Virginia and New York, have included similar language in their instruments of ratification. When the Constitution came into effect in 1789, Congress sent a series of twelve amendments to the states.
Ten of these amendments were immediately ratified and became known as the Bill of Rights, with one of the other two becoming the 27th Amendment – nearly 200 years later. Although the anti-federalists failed to prevent the adoption of the Constitution, their efforts were not entirely in vain. The anti-federalists were thus recognized as an influential group among the founding fathers of the United States. Anti-federalism was a political movement of the late 18th century that opposed the creation of a stronger U.S. federal government and later the ratification of the Constitution of 1787. The previous Constitution, dubbed the Articles of Confederation and the Eternal Union, gave more authority to state governments. Led by Patrick Henry of Virginia, the anti-federalists feared, among other things, that the president`s position, then a novelty, would turn into a monarchy. Although the Constitution was ratified and replaced the Articles of Confederation, anti-federalist influence contributed to the adoption of the Bill of Rights. During the American Revolution and its immediate aftermath, the term federal applied to anyone who supported colonial union and the government formed under the Articles of Confederation. After the war, the group that the national government considered too weak under the articles appropriated the name of federalist. Historian Jackson Turner Main wrote, “For them, the man of `federal principles` approved of `federal measures,` which meant those that increased the weight and authority or extended the influence of the Confederate Congress.”  “Antifederalist Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anti-federalist.
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