Federal period is a segment of American history immediately following the Colonial Period, lasting from around 1780 to 1820.

In the preceding Colonial Period, many early American settlers were homesteaders, who by necessity made their own textiles and home furnishings. Very few highly-skilled craftsmen were available locally, and imports were expensive, risky, and heavily taxed.

By the Federal Period, Americans had more disposable income, local artisans were growing more skilled at furniture production, and textile imports were growing more affordable. By virtue of these developments, federal Decor, though similar, is often more refined than colonial American decor. It is also in this period that American master-craftsmen begin to shape an American style independent of the Anglo-European traditions which were previously reproduced as faithfully as possible.

Symbols of the infant nation, such as eagles and stars, are popular, alongside a revival of classical motifs inspired by the new republic’s admiration of the world’s first republics in Ancient Greece and Rome. One notable piece that appears often in federal is the "Federal Mirror" which is a round, convex mirror with a gold frame usually topped by an eagle.

There was a small resurgence of the patriotic motifs of Federal style in the mid-1970's for the Bicentennial of the United States.

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