Compare and contrast the Federalist and Democratic-Republican attitudes toward the national government. Include a clear discussion of the differences their leaders held.
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One significant difference between both parties existed in the role of national government. Federalists advanced a strong and centralized role of government. This was rooted in their belief that the "best" and "brightest" should lead the nation. Since these individuals would most likely be in the position of governmental power, then it was acceptable for government to be an expansive entity. The Democratic- Republican party featured a lesser role of the federal government, opting for local governments to exert a greater role in citizens' affairs. This was rooted in the constituency of the Democratic- Republicans. Farmers and people who were of more common extraction comprised the Democratic- Republican party, while the Federalists were filled with more wealthy individuals and people who were successful in business and economic affairs.
From this point, most differences towards the national government were evident. A "strict" interpretation of the Constitution that the Democratic- Republicans featured was posited against the "looser" interpretation of the Federalists. The Federalist desire to enact a national tariff was countered with the opposition of the Democratic- Republicans. The attitudes towards the national government that both parties demonstrated reflected fundamentally different and theoretical starting points.
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