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The Democratic-Republican Party was founded by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison around 1792. Supporters usually identified themselves as Republicans, but sometimes as Democrats The term "Democratic Republican" was also used by contemporaries, but mostly by the party's opponents. It was the dominant political party in the United States from 1800 to 1824, when it split into competing factions, one of which became the modern Democratic Party. Jefferson created the party in order to oppose the economic and foreign policies of the Federalists, a party created a year or so earlier by Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton. The Democratic-Republican party opposed the Jay Treaty of 1794 with Britain (then at war with France) and supported good relations with France before 1801. The party insisted on a strict construction of the Constitution, and denounced many of Hamilton's proposals (especially the national bank) as unconstitutional. The party favors states' rights and the primacy of the yeoman farmer over bankers, industrialists, merchants, and other monied interests. There was always a range of opinion within the Party on issues of commerce, public works, and industrialization, which were more warmly received by Madison and the Northern Democrats than by Jefferson and the Southern Republicans; but this was a preference, not a firm ideology on either side. Jefferson signed a bill funding a canal for the Potomac in 1805; Madison ended his term in office vetoing a public works bill. Jeffersonian purists, or "Old Republican" wing of the party, led by Jefferson, John Randolph of Roanoke, William H. Crawford and Nathaniel Macon, favored low tariffs, states' rights, strict construction of the Constitution and reduced spending. It opposed a standing army. The "National Republicans," led by Henry Clay, John Quincy Adams and John C. Calhoun, eventually favored higher tariffs, a stronger national defense, and "internal improvements" (public works projects).[4] After the Federalist Party broke up in 1815, many former members joined the D-R's nationalist faction. The party's elected presidents were Thomas Jefferson (1800 and 1804), James Madison (1808 and 1812), and James Monroe (1816 and 1820). The party dominated Congress and most state governments; it was weakest in New England. William H. Crawford was the party's last presidential nominee in 1824. At this time, the party broke up into several factions. One faction, led by Andrew Jackson, would become the modern Democratic Party. Another faction, led by Adams and Clay, was known as the National Republicans. This group evolved into the Whig Party.

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