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While the national Constitution was under discussion throughout the Union, in 1788, and it was passing the ordeal of State conventions, its advocates were called Federalists, because the effect of the Constitution would be to bind the several States more closely as a so-called confederation. They formed a distinct party that year, and held supreme political power in the republic until the close of the century. The leading members of the party were Washington, Hamilton, Adams, Jay, and many of the less distinguished patriots of the Revolution. Their opponents were called Anti-Federalists. In the contests of the French Revolution, which had influence upon public opinion in the United States, the Federalists leaned towards England, and the Anti-Federalists or Republicans towards France. In the Presidential election of 1800, the Federalists were defeated and Jefferson was elected. The party became unpopular because of its opposition to the War of 1812; and it fell into fatal disrepute because of the Hartford Convention, whose proceedings, done in secret, were supposed to be treasonable. The party had become so weak in 1816 that Monroe, the Republican candidate for President, received the electoral votes of all the States but two. At his re-election, in 1820, the vote of the States was unanimous for him. Then the party was disbanded. See Anti-Federalist party.

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