In 1800 the United States had its first real, competitive presidential election when Thomas Jefferson of the anti-Federalist Democratic-Republican Party ran against John Adams of the Federalist Party.
While it is true that Jefferson was generally skeptical of a strong, central government—expressing distrust of Alexander Hamilton's proposal for a National Bank—he was more opposed to the Federalist Party itself than to the concept of federalism. After the end of his presidency, Jefferson wrote, "I have been ever opposed to the party, so falsely called federalists, because I believe them desirous of introducing, into our government, authorities hereditary or otherwise independant [sic] of the national will."
On many occasions Jefferson could be found adopting policies inclusive of federalism by advocating for a strong, central state. He extolled a common identity for the people of America and pushed the early republic into the Tripolitarian War. Afterwards, he established by the U.S. Navy as a permanent military force under federal control.