Parties and Platforms


What were the key differences between the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans?

The Federalists were a powerful and wealthy party, made up mostly of lawyers, big businessmen, bankers, merchants, and professionals who were influential in New England and the northern part of the United States, where big business thrived. In terms of political thought, the Federalists believed in strong government leadership and a loose constructionist interpretation of the Constitution. They also supported improved relations with England over France.

By contrast, the Democratic-Republicans, known as the “party of the common man,” were a party made up of farmers, small businessmen, and laborers, and influenced the southern and western parts of the United States, where agriculture was strong. The Democratic-Republicans adopted a strict constructionist interpretation of the Constitution.


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