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History of political parties in United States of America

Updated on October 21, 2015

History of political parties in US

United States government has always remained silent on the issue of political parties. In 1787 when the US constitution was signed, there were no political parties in US. At that time, no nation in the world had voter based political parties.

How the voter system was established

In 1790’s America felt the need to establish voter based political system because of the need to win with a popular support in a republic. And make every citizen voice count. This was the time when the Americans were really enthusiastic and innovative about the newly established voting system and kept devising new campaign techniques so that public opinion can be linked with public policy through the party.

Democratic and Republican parties are born

There are two major political parties in the US; the Democratic and the Republican. Both of these were formed due to some major important historical events namely the slavery issue related to the Civil War, the Great Depression and the later developing New Deal of 1930. Many of the founding fathers of US politics had a very negative image of the political parties. Although they despised the formation of political parties, still many of them were associated with the major political parties during their association with the government.

From 1796 to 1828, this was the time when major political parties were formed. US was in its formative years when two main faction came to surface. Both the entities were keen to formulate a plan about how the new government will be organized. There were the Federalists who believed in Central government and fully extended support to the ratification of the Constitution.

They were also in favor of industrialization, a national bank and extensive government aid to build canals and roads. Having completely opposing views to this was the Democratic-Republican Party, formerly known as Anti-Federalists. Anti-Federalists favored the rights of the state and did not support industrialization. They encouraged farming over manufacturing. They were strictly against the idea of government providing aid to build roads and canals. Initially Federalist won the support of the public but later with the extremist views of the Anti-Federalists, the Federalists weakened. By 1824, Federalists was no longer considered a party even.

The first presidential campaign

John Adams became the presidential candidate of the Federalists. There were many people from merchants, urban artisans and creditors who were in strong support of Adams. On the other hand, the supporters of the Democratic - Republican Party included farmers throughout the country as well as prominent fame from German and Scot-Irish ethnic groups. This party was fortunate enough to reach out to the ordinary people although its founders included tobacco elites like Jefferson and Madison. Federalists thought of themselves as good people who fully support the government. Anti-federalists fully despised the ideology of the Federalists. It was a close call between the two sides in the elections of 1796. New England supported Adams while Jefferson was supported by the southern states. In the end it was John Adams who took the office after a harsh campaign whereas Jefferson became the person second in command to his political opponent.


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      2 years ago

      very good

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      2 years ago

      good good good !

    • profile image

      Howard Schneider 

      2 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      Very interesting Hub, Superfly. it is especially amazing how the political platforms of the 2 parties have almost completely reversed in the past 80 years.


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