Michael Faraday was the first major researcher to recognize the existence of a field. He applied it to electrostatics because of its relationship with the existing research.
There are two major types of fields, scalar fields and vector fields. They are essentially opposites of one another.
In a scalar field, you'll find a magnitude but no direction.
Like when you stand near a campfire, you feel the heat, but there's no real sense of direction of where the heat is headed.
Moving closer and further away from it with a thermometer allows you to see a different temperature, but it's hard to measure where the heat goes.
Being able to measure direction is one of the key elements of a vector field.
In a vector field, you can measure the pull or push from the source of the electrical element. There will be a center of mass toward which another mass will be pushed or pulled.
Electric fields are vector fields that essentially exist around just about any charge at all, whether it's positive or negative.
If you put one charge near a second charge, the two fields will touch one another and exert a measurable force.
The field itself isn't a force, but it exerts a force. When you see a person pushing a sled up a hill, they are exerting a force, but they are not "a force."
Physicists now have a mathematical method of showing a force transferred over a distance without anything touching another thing.