The Federalist Party

Following Washington’s retirement, the framers of the constitution hoped to establish a one-party state in which its members would “be muted by patriotism and public virtue,” pg. 209 Out of Many Third Edition.

However, those, such as James Madison who had commented in The Federalist, opposed this type of government, fearing that it could possibly harm the new nation/republic. As a result, Madison organized a new political opposition to counter the Federalists. Despite Washington’s warning, “A house divided cannot stand,” eventually after his retirement from presidency, the House divided into two parties, the Federalist Party and the Democratic- Republican Party. Eventually, the United States faced the rise of both political parties and the increasing foreign tensions, particularly experiencing mixed relations with France in face of the French Revolution. Later on, in the election between the political coalitions for Presidency, Adams of the Federalist Party was voted for President, with Jefferson, leader of the Democratic-Republican Party, who was cast as Vice-President.

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There are a variety of reasons for which the Federalists lost the election of 1800. The Federalist Party primarily consisted of the social and economic elites of the United States, including one of its most prominent supporters, Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton, like many other Federalists, did not believe in the power of the “common man,” believing that the country should be led by rich, well-born, and educated, often which entailed land-owning merchants. Jefferson, leader of the Democratic- Republican Party, opposed Hamilton’s ideology, believing that the majority of power lies in the “salt of the earth” or the poor/ middle-class farmers, who made up most of the states populations. Other political partisans like Jefferson dreaded the strong central government that the Federalists could create, fearing that if they were in power they could potentially take away civil liberties for the average citizen and take power away from the states. Furthermore, the Naturalization and Alien and Sedition Acts were major explanations for the Federalists’ defeat, as these strict acts limited the municipal rights of civilians, primarily those of freedom of speech and press and liberties of foreigners.

These stringent and harsh acts contributed to the Federalists’ decrease in popularity. Finally, in the Revolution of 1800 the Democratic- Republicans celebrated their victory, a conquest that repelled the Alien and Sedation Acts and propelled the division of the Federalists.