An Ever-Growing Split
The United States began as a weak, newborn nation that grew into a large, self-supporting country with a governing body unique to this time period. As the government grew and the nation prospered, the rise of leaders and political figures came about and with this, conflicting principles and ideology spawned, thus creating the first of the political parties; the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans. Although the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans ideology and stances on the power of the federal government, domestic economic policies and the group of constituents they represented differed vastly, members of both parties often compromised their own beliefs for the nation’s best interest as a whole.
The limitations on the amount of power the federal government should possess was one of the most prevalent conflicts between the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans. Beginning before the Constitution even existed, the ratification of the Constitution was a large conflict between the two. The Federalists were in full support of the Constitution, mainly because they were hungry for a new plan of government, shortly after winning independence from Britain. The Democratic-Republicans, or then known as the Anti-Federalists, were opposed to the ratification because they worried that it would tread of rights of the individual. Once it was ratified, the power struggle between the two parties pertaining to the federal government became evident. Federalists, like John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and George Washington all believed in a strong, representative, central government. Although George Washington never actually formally belonged to a political party, his ideology reflects those of Federalist principles. Democratic-Republicans, like Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Andrew Jackson, and James K. Polk, along with others, all opted for states’ rights and less federal government interference and authority. They believed that...
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