Polital Division Between the Federalists and the Republicans Essay

Polital Division Between the Federalists and the Republicans Essay

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Although national political parties were considered “divisive and disloyal”, the first two-party system of the United States, Hamiltonian-Federalists and Jeffersonian Republicans, emerged during George Washington’s administration. The political division was later sharpened with Jay’s Treaty. They differ from each other in various aspects. Nevertheless, the political turbulent during the 1790s greatly expanded the public sphere.
The Federalists, led by Alexander Hamilton, believed in supremacy of national government, broad and loose interpretation of the Constitution, and commercial and industrial development. They were pro-British. They favored national bank and protective tariffs. Therefore, they gained support mainly from American financiers, manufacturers, merchants, and established political leaders mainly outside the South. On the contrary, the Republicans, led by Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Madison, were suspicious of national government. They believed in strong state governments led by the “common man” and strict interpretation of the Constitution. They were pro-French, and opposed to the national bank and protective tariffs. Since they put emphasis on agriculture, they gained support from wealthy southern planters and ordinary farmers throughout the country.
The political divisions between the Federalists and the Republicans first surfaced when Hamilton proposed his financial plan. It is no doubt that George Washington fortified the new government, but at that time, the United States suffered from severe fiscal problem. The government was in huge debt to foreign power and individual bond and securities holders. Aiming to establish financial stability in the short run and to establish the United States as a “major commer...


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...iate with the British, hoping the issue could be settled peacefully. According to the Jay’s Treaty in 1794, the British agreed to abandon outposts on the western frontier, and in return, the US guaranteed favored treatment to British imported goods. In the eyes of the Federalists, the treaty was almost perfect, since they could avoid another war, and expand westward, in addition to stop the British harassment. However, from the perspective of the Republicans, Jay’s Treaty was ridiculous, they believed that not only did the British benefit more from the agreement, but it also posed threat to their friendship with the French. Supporters of the French Revolution and critics of the Washington administration in 1793 and 1794 formed nearly fifty Democratic-Republican societies, which provided opportunities for ordinary citizens to be constantly involved in public affairs.

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