From were conservative and as a result, their

From the beginning of the formation of a republic in the United States, many people feared the creation of factions which would impose the majority rule over minority rights. Despite steps to avoid this, two political parties formed after George Washington stated that he would not seek another term for presidency; these parties were the Federalist Party, led by Alexander Hamilton, and the Democratic Republican Party, led by Thomas Jefferson. The Federalists were conservative and as a result, their beliefs were centered on a strong central government. On the other hand, the Democratic Republicans were liberal and supported the rights of states and individuals.

The two political parties which formed after Washington’s presidency, the Federalists and the Democratic Republicans, expressed the polarized extremes of the young nation’s beliefs in socio-economic and political issues. First of all, one of the major divides between the Federalists and the Democratic Republicans was over socio-economic issues. The Federalists believed that the country should be led by the wealthy and educated elite. They argued that only the highly educated could make informed decisions in regard to important political decisions; in addition, the Federalists believed that extending the right to vote would result in mob rule.

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In contrast, the Democratic Republicans believed that the country’s leadership should be in the hands of the informed public. Like the Federalists, they did not want to extend the right to vote entirely and risk a mob rule, but they did believe that common men could lead the country efficiently once sufficiently informed. In addition to extending the right to vote, the Federalists and Democratic Republicans differed over the relative importance of business and agriculture. The Federalists strongly supported business. This resulted in the Federalists support of tariffs to protect growing domestic business and to generate revenue for the government. They also favored the creation of a national bank that could provide the capital necessary for businesses to start and grow. In comparison, the Democratic Republicans strongly favored agriculture.

As a result of this, the Democratic Republicans opposed the creation of a national bank. Instead, they supported state banks which would be accessible to all individuals and, therefore, provide the necessary capital to purchase land and start a farm. They also argued against tariffs because they made the goods that farmers could not produce on their own more expensive. As shown, the Federalists and Democratic Republican opposed one another’s views in regard to socio-economic beliefs.

Along with socio-economic beliefs, the second major divide between the Federalists and Democratic Republicans was their political beliefs. A strong central government was the core of Federalists political beliefs. They believed that a strong central government was the only way to keep people in line and maintain status quo.

Nonetheless, the Democratic Republicans believed in strong states’ rights and a weak central government. They believed that a strong central government would turn tyrannical and that it needed to be suppressed by the states and the people. As a result of their belief in a strong central government, the Federalists believed in an elastic interpretation of the Constitution which gave the federal government all powers not expressly forbidden. On the other hand, the Democratic Republicans believed the federal government was only granted the powers specifically stated in the Constitution.

Additionally, the Federalists’ belief in a strong central government led them to favor acquiring a national debt as a result of spending money for the good of the country. The Democratic Republicans were opposed to a national debt because they felt that the federal government should not be allowed unlimited spending power. In addition, they also felt that a national bank would lead to unnecessary burdens on taxpayers. The final point of political argument centered over the size and strength of the navy. The Federalists wanted a strong navy so that the United States could assert itself onto the world stage. On the other hand, the Democratic Republicans were more isolationist and wanted a limited navy for defense only.

Altogether, the political views of the Federalists and Democratic Republicans greatly contrasted each other. Overall, the Federalist and the Democratic Republican parties differed in their core beliefs of socio-economic and political beliefs. The Federalists’ socio-economic beliefs centered on rule by the educated elite which resulted in a conservative pro-business outlook. Their political beliefs centered on a powerful central government and resulted in the support of looser interpretation of the Constitution, unlimited national spending, and a strong Navy. The Democratic Republicans’ socio-economic beliefs centered on rule by the informed public and resulted in a liberal pro-agriculture outlook. Their political beliefs, however, focused on a limited central government which led to the support of stricter interpretation of the Constitution, limited national spending, and a defense only Navy.

The issues that these first two political parties brought to debate still lie at the foundation of many political viewpoints of today.


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