Federalists vs Republicans
After the independence of United States, Federalist Party was the first political party that came into existence. The war against the British Imperial powers did not let development of political parties in US. It was the resolution adopting the constitution that led to factionalism and the emergence of political ideologies on the political spectrum. There were leaders like Hamilton and Adams on the left who argued for a strong federal government having more powers than state legislatures. These were called Federalists. On the right of the political spectrum were Jefferson and Madison with their supporters who believed in limited powers with the federal government. These people were called Republicans. There were many more differences between the Federalists and the Republicans in the formative years of the polity of the US that will be highlighted in this article.
The Federalist Party was formed as a result of rich business men and bankers coming together to protect their interests. These people, led by Alexander Hamilton, wanted a strong central government with fiscal policies to favor business and banks. Federalists wanted full support to Jay Treaty to maintain cordial relations with British government. The seeds of Federalist Party got sown in the time of the first President George Washington, and the only federalist to have assumed Presidency of US was John Adams. Hamilton was appointed Secretary of State by George Washington in 1789, and he advocated a strong federal government that took over the debts of the states and imposed taxes and tariffs to create revenue for the government. His supporters formed Federalist Party and the party became popular in all states. The party backed Hamilton’s efforts to create a national bank and his economic reforms. The party also supported his views on maintaining neutrality with Britain and France during their war.
Republicans, as we know them today, came into existence with the formation of Republican Party only in 1854. Before that, it was Democratic Republican Party that was formed by the opponents of Hamilton and John Adams. The party was led by Thomas Jefferson and his followers who were even called Jeffersonian at one point of time. Republicans came into existence on a platform because of the support of the farmers who were against a strong central government that they feared would rob them of their rights. They also did not like the backing of bankers and rich businessmen to the Federalists. Most of the Republicans came from rural and frontal areas whereas Federalists came from cities. The support of the farmers made Republicans go for a weak central government as they believed that a strong national government would usurp the powers of the states.
What is the difference between Federalists and Republicans?
• Federalist Party was led by Alexander Hamilton and John Adams while Republicans were led by Thomas Jefferson.
• Federalist Party was mainly supported by the bankers and rich businessmen while farmers and common people were behind Republicans.
• Federalists believed that government should have a minimal contact and influence over people whereas Republicans believed in a close contact between government and people.
• Federalist vehemently supported Jay Treaty and favored Britain in trade while Republicans supported France during its war with Britain.
• Republicans wanted more powers for the states, whereas Federalists wanted a strong central government