The Federalist Party, referred to as the Pro-Administration party until the
The Federalists called for a strong national government that promoted economic growth and fostered friendly relationships with
Federalist policies called for a national bank, tariffs and good relations with Great Britain as expressed in the
The Federalists left a lasting legacy in the form of a strong Federal government with a sound financial base. After losing executive power they decisively shaped
On taking office in 1789, President Washington nominated New York lawyer
By 1790, Hamilton started building a nationwide coalition. Realizing the need for vocal political support in the states, he formed connections with like-minded nationalists and used his network of treasury agents to link together friends of the government, especially merchants and bankers, in the new nation's dozen major cities. His attempts to manage politics in the national capital to get his plans through Congress "brought strong" responses across the country. In the process, what began as a capital faction soon assumed status as a national faction and then as the new Federalist Party. The Federalist Party supported Hamilton's vision of a strong centralized government and agreed with his proposals for a national bank and heavy government subsidies. In foreign affairs, they supported
The majority of the Founding Fathers were originally Federalists. Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and many others can all be considered Federalists. These Federalists felt that the
By the early 1790s, newspapers started calling Hamilton supporters "Federalists" and their opponents "Democrats", "Republicans", "Jeffersonians", or—much later—"Democratic-Republicans". Jefferson's supporters usually called themselves "Republicans" and their party the "Republican Party". The Federalist Party became popular with businessmen and New Englanders as Republicans were mostly farmers who opposed a strong central government. Cities were usually Federalist strongholds whereas frontier regions were heavily Republican. However, these are generalizations as there are special cases such as the Presbyterians of upland North Carolina, who had immigrated just before the Revolution and often been Tories, became Federalists. The
The state networks of both parties began to operate in 1794 or 1795.
Washington tried and failed to moderate the feud between his two top cabinet members. He was re-elected without opposition in
Federalists counterattacked by claiming the Hamiltonian program had restored national prosperity as shown in one 1792 anonymous newspaper essay:
To what physical, moral, or political energy shall this flourishing state of things be ascribed? There is but one answer to these inquiries: Public credit is restored and established. The general government, by uniting and calling into action the pecuniary resources of the states, has created a new capital stock of several millions of dollars, which, with that before existing, is directed into every branch of business, giving life and vigor to industry in its infinitely diversified operation. The enemies of the general government, the funding act and the National Bank may bellow tyranny, aristocracy, and speculators through the Union and repeat the clamorous din as long as they please; but the actual state of agriculture and commerce, the peace, the contentment and satisfaction of the great mass of people, give the lie to their assertions.
Jefferson wrote on February 12, 1798:
Two political Sects have arisen within the U. S. the one believing that the executive is the branch of our government which the most needs support; the other that like the analogous branch in the English Government, it is already too strong for the republican parts of the Constitution; and therefore in equivocal cases they incline to the legislative powers: the former of these are called federalists, sometimes aristocrats or monocrats, and sometimes tories, after the corresponding sect in the English Government of exactly the same definition: the latter are stiled republicans, whigs, jacobins, anarchists, disorganizers, etc. these terms are in familiar use with most persons.
In New England, the Federalist Party was closely linked to the Congregational church. When the party collapsed, the church was disestablished. In 1800 and other elections, the Federalists targeted infidelity in any form. They repeatedly charged that Republican candidates, especially Jefferson, were atheistic or nonreligious. Conversely, the Baptists, Methodists and other dissenters as well as the religiously nonaligned favored the Republican cause. Jefferson told the Baptists of Connecticut there should be a "wall of separation" between church and state.