Attitudes toward Great Britain and France served to polarize the already bitter and fractious world of American politics in the late eighteenth century. Democratic-Republicans such as Thomas Jefferson were generally sympathetic to France, seeing it as the home of republican liberty.
The French had wholeheartedly supported the Americans in their revolution against the British, leading to the development of close ties between the two countries. Even when the French Revolution took a violent turn, Jefferson and his fellow Democratic-Republicans were reluctant to give up their emotional and intellectual attachment to Republican France.
Jefferson's opponents in the Federalist Party were more sympathetic toward the British. They believed that the British political system, for all its faults, provided a fair measure of stability as well as protection for private property. This led to their being accused by Democratic-Republicans of supporting a restoration of the monarchy.
There was no truth to such accusations, but the Federalists were unashamed elitists with a profound, abiding distrust of democracy. This made it all too easy for their opponents to label them as crypto-monarchists, and their leader, President Adams, as wanting to make himself king.
In due course, these substantial differences between the two parties would define the contours of American politics for generations to come. In the ensuing decades, it would be the intellectual heirs of Republican France, the Democratic-Republicans, and after them, the Democrats, who would dominate the national political scene.