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Federalists (in the late 18th and for most of the first half of the 19th century) were proponents for a more centralized government. They were popular throughout America, but mostly in the North, especially in states like New York and Virginia. They would be closer to today's liberals, though they were more extreme in their desire for a centralized government (even liberals today, though they want more government spending and intervention, don't want a centralized gov't).