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Federalist Party

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US political party. The first political party to emerge after the Constitution of the USA became operative (1789), it took its name from the Federalist Papers, a collection of essays written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay to influence the ratification of the Constitution by New York. The party of George Washington and John Adams, it had support in New England and the north-east generally, both from commercial interests and wealthier landowners. It stood for strong central government and the firm enforcement of domestic laws, was pro-British in foreign affairs, and identified itself with the economic policies of Hamilton. The party's role, which would benefit “the wise, the good, and the rich”, was exemplified in the military campaign in 1794 against the refusal of the Whisky Rebels to pay excise duty. The emergence of new political issues, disagreements over commercial and foreign policy, and the narrowness of its popular appeal gradually undermined the Party, although it continued to elect members to Congress until it finally disappeared in 1825.

Subjects: History

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