During the post-Revolutionary era, advocates of a stronger central government for the newly independent United States adopted the name "Federalists," after The Federalist Papers which argued for the adoption of the Constitution of 1787 to supersede the Articles of Confederation. Alexander Hamilton led this faction against those organized under Thomas Jefferson as anti-Federalists, who favored stronger rights for states and the people.
The Federalists became organized as a formal political party soon after the inauguration of John Adams. As a party, they tended to favor Northern interests, advocated low tariffs to encourage trade and industrialization, and favored close ties with the British as opposed to the French. The Federalists were loose constructionists, arguing that the federal government could assume powers not specified in the Constitution, and created the Bank of the United States over the bitter opposition of the Democrats, the anti-Federalist Jeffersonians.
After 1800, especially with the deaths of Adams and Hamilton, the Federalists became increasingly concentrated in the large port cities of New England, and the party grew steadily more reactionary to the point of opposing the War of 1812 and advocating New England's secession from the Union. It did not nominate a candidate for president in the election of 1820, and had virtually disappeared by 1824.