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The Political Process

Although George Washington is considered by many to have been a great president, not everyone felt that way when he was in office. Sometimes the newspapers contained attacks on his policies and on his personality. Most of these attacks were made by supporters of Thomas Jefferson. They wanted Jefferson to be president instead.

At that time, many people opposed the idea of political parties, thinking they were dangerous. However, people were so divided on important issues that they started separating into groups, or factions. Within a few years, these factions were political parties.
On one side were the Federalists, who followed the ideas of George Washington and Alexander Hamilton. They believed in a strong federal government .

On the other side were the Republicans, or Democrat-Republicans (this party later came to be known as the Democrats). These people wanted to limit the federal government's power and give more power to the states.