Parties and Platforms


How did the first two political parties evolve?

The first two parties, the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans, were shaped during the administration of the country’s first president, George Washington. The Federalist Party was a creation of Alexander Hamilton, secretary of the treasury under Washington. Hamilton believed that the success of the new government would depend on its economic stability, and as such favored full funding of the entire federal debt and the assumption of the states’ debts by the federal government. The opposition party, the Jeffersonian (or Democratic) Republicans, was organized by Congressman James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, who served as secretary of state during Washington’s first term. The Democratic-Republicans formed in opposition to many of Washington’s economic policies, denouncing many of Hamilton’s decisions, such as the ratification of Jay’s Treaty with Great Britain.


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