Birth of a Nation
The Federalists and
Anti-Federalists (Democratic Republicans)
- Other resources on the Federalists and Democratic Republicans
- “Federalists versus Democratic Republicans Comparison Chart” (Attachment C)
- Poster paper
- Explain to students that people of the new republic disagreed about the degree of power granted to the federal government. Many people believed that individual states should have retained greater political influence, and they were suspicious of a strong central government. Others felt the federal government should be strong and exercise many powers. These two different points of view led to disagreements over the ratification of the Constitution of the United States; it was also the source of the creation of two political parties — the Federalists and the Democratic Republicans.
- Have students create a chart that will compare the political views of the Federalists (leader Alexander Hamilton) and the Democratic Republicans (leader Thomas Jefferson). Encourage students to use their textbooks and additional information provided by the teacher to complete the charts. (See sample chart at Attachment C.)
- After students have taken notes on the two political parties, place the students into small groups of three or four, and have each group create a political poster that illustrates the political ideas of either the Federalists or the Democratic Republicans. Have students use pictures and create political slogans for their posters.
- Have the students share their posters with the class. Lead a follow-up discussion on which political ideas are most important to people today or which political ideas of the past are still a concern in the present.