THE struggle over the ratification of the federal Constitution had divided the American people into two sharply opposed groups, but, when it was over, most of the Anti-Federalists were disposed to acquiesce in the result and give the "new roof" a trial. Washington attempted to administer the government on a non- partisan basis, but the efforts of Hamilton to base the new federal structure on the interests and influence of the men of wealth and position soon aroused a vigorous opposition on the part of the advocates of democracy. As early as 1791 Hamilton and Jefferson were recognized as leaders of opposing factions in the cabinet and in Congress, and their respective followers were designated as Federalists and Democrats or Republicans. Several years of organization were necessary, however, before the two political parties were firmly established, even among the office holders, and it is evident that many of the voters long refused to be regimented.
The old struggle between radicalism and conservatism in Pennsylvania provided a background for the development of the parties in that state. The conservatives or Federalists were in control of the state government, but they recognized the necessity of strengthening themselves in the West, the hotbed of radicalism, if they were to maintain their hold. They courted the westerners in the legislature, expressed interest in frontier problems, and distributed the federal patronage of the region where they thought it would do the most good, principally to members of the "Neville Connection." The election of Gallatin to the United States Senate in 1793 may have been a bid for western votes, as was certainly the election in 1794 of James Ross to occupy the seat that Gallatin was not permitted to hold. Federalist militia officers made use of the musters to promote the party, and Federalist preachers, such as John McMillan, did not hesitate to advise their congregations on political matters.