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"The spirit of party serves always to distract public councils, and enfeeble the public administration."
-- George Washington, 1796


The nation's founders warned strenuously against the rise of political parties, but they quickly arose anyway. Alexander Hamilton was intellectual leader of the Federalists, who favored a strong federal government, protective tariffs and an environment favorable to business and commerce. Thomas Jefferson led the Republicans (sometimes called Democratic-Republicans, and a predecessor of today's Democrats), who favored states' rights, a small federal government, low tariffs and the interests of farmers and workers. The Jeffersonians accused the Hamiltonians of being anti-democratic; the Hamiltonians warned of the chaos of mob rule.

"Your people, sir, is a great beast!" Hamilton, right, is said to have shouted at Jefferson at a Cabinet meeting.