If I had lived during the early days of our nation I would have been a Democrat. Actually I would have been a Democratic-Republican (the party which later became the Democratic party) as opposed to a Federalist (the Republican party wasn’t organized until 1854).
In the early days of our nation there were two main factions: the Loose Constructionists and the Strict Constructionists.
The Federalists stood for loose construction, or interpretation of the Constitution. Loose constructionists believe that the federal government is not limited to those powers expressly listed in the Constitution. The Democratic-Republicans were strict constructionists, standing for states’ rights and opposing expanding the powers of the federal government believing rather that the federal government was limited to those powers expressly stated in the Constitution.
Odd that today the party mostly associated with Big Government (never mind that both major parties and most small ones are now as well) is the Democratic Party. (Neither major party actually operates according to its founding principles.)