Rise of Partisan Politics
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Even during George Washington’s first administration it was evident that partisan factions had emerged within the cabinet as well as within the country at large. The forces favoring a strong federal government were led by Alexander Hamilton and would become known as the Federalist Party. The advocates of strong state governments were led by Thomas Jefferson and became the Jeffersonian Republicans.
There is no unbroken descent from the early political factions to today’s parties. Hamilton would no doubt be attracted to the pro-business inclinations of the current Republican Party, but his preference for direct government intervention in the economy would fit better with the Democrats. Similarly, Jefferson’s emphasis on individual rights would be welcomed by today’s Democrats, but his insistence on a small federal government would be viewed today as a Republican concept.
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