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Compare and contrast the Federalist and Republican attitudes toward the national government.

Include a discussion of the differences between the leaders and the supporters of the two parties.

The Federalists, known as the first party system , was a party which existed from 1792 into the 1810's, with small remnant existing up into the 1820s. The republican party represented the antithesis of the federalists in many ways. Both of these party's stemmed from debates between Alexander Hamilton (Federalist) and Thomas Jefferson (Republican/anti-Federalist). Alexander Hamilton was George Washington's Secretary of Treasure. Hamilton proposed an economic program which assumed the debts of the states and the means to pay it off by setting up a national bank. He also wanted a strong federal government. these ideas he spread throughout America, gaining many supporters from Bankers to Businessmen. By 1792-1794 newspapers starting calling Hamilton supporters Federalists and their opponents Democrats, Republicans, or Jeffersonians. The Federalist party was most popular among Merchants and New Englanders. His opponent Thomas Jefferson and the Republican party, opposed the idea of a strong federal government and a national bank. The Republicans were deeply concerned about the danger of a strong central government--like that of Britain--that could someday usurp the rights of the states. Supporters of this party generally included farmers and frontiersman. The Federalists and Republicans had disagreements in foreign affairs as well. As war was raging through Europe, the small new American nation could hardly remain neutral. The Republican called for strong measures against Britain during the French revolutionary war while the Federalists tried to avert war by the Jay Treaty. This treaty became a highly controversial topic as the Republican accused the Federalists of selling out to Britain. The Jay Treaty also made the Republicans suspect the Federalist of supporting an Imperialist nation. Both these parties utilized the press to their advantage, albeit the Republicans probably faired better in this category as they outlasted the Federalist. In the beginning though, the Federalists had an advantage as they had support from approximately four times as many newspapers as the Republicans. This was due to support among Businessmen and Merchants in general. However, the Republicans probably had the more clever writers (among these writers was Jefferson) who vehemently attacked the Federalist and marginalized their party. Both effectively utilized the press to influence the minds of the people. It is also interesting to note that these party lines still exist today. Many Democrats and Republicans in our day seem to fit the mold of the Federalist, more than the Jefferson party of old. The tea party movement, as well as Libertarians and a small number of Republicans/Democrats campaign for a smaller and more fiscally responsible federal government, which seems to fit the mold of the Jeffersonian Republican.