Q:

What did the federalists believe in?

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Quick Answer

The federalists believed in a strong central government and its proactive involvement in commerce. In general, the federalists were elitists who opposed measures to democratize American politics. In the realm of international relations, federalists were admirers of Great Britain and detractors of the French.

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History.com explains that most federalists favored an active national government and strong executive over states' rights. Whereas the Jeffersonian Republicans were mostly agrarians, the federalists were often bankers, financiers, merchants and manufacturers. Federalist policy called for high tariffs and open trade with Great Britain. The party was most popular in New England, although it also had strong bases in Virginia and South Carolina. The greatest concession to burgeoning Northern commerce and manufacturing was the establishment of the Bank of the United States, an independent corporation that in practice acted as a state-sponsored monopoly of the banking sector.

In contrast to their opponents the Republicans, who were concerned with liberty and disdained tyranny, the federalists favored order and progress while loathing anarchy. They were highly unnerved by the French Revolution and feared that a similar revolution could occur in the United States. It was this line of thinking that contributed to John Adams' passage of the controversial Alien and Sedition Acts.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are some differences between Federalists and Anti-Federalists?

    A:

    The primary difference between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists was their view on the creation of a stronger U.S. Federal Government. These differing views lead the Federalists to support the ratification of the Constitution and the Anti-Federalists to oppose it. According to Reference.com, one of the primary worries of the Anti-Federalists was the position of a president evolving into a monarchy.

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  • Q:

    Who were some famous federalists?

    A:

    Famous federalists were authors of the Federalist Papers: Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay; John Adams, second president of the United States; and John Marshall, chief justice of the Supreme Court. It can be said that the majority of the Founding Fathers were originally federalists, including Thomas Jefferson.

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  • Q:

    What were the similarities between the Federalists and Republicans?

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    The Federalist and Republican parties, first formed in 1790, differed on most major issues, and although they did agree that liberty for the American people was paramount, their views were polarized when it came to how much impact such liberty should have on government. Federalists believed that the electorate held too much sway over government, while Republicans believed state power should be limited.

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  • Q:

    What kind of government did the Federalists want?

    A:

    The Federalists wanted a two-level government consisting of a strong, tightly-knit, centralized national government along with smaller, non-sovereign political units governed according to a national constitution. These small political units would be able to make laws on their own. Today, the United States has this kind of system with the federal government and state governments.

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