Political Parties in the United States Essay

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Political Parties in the United States

When the founders of the American republic wrote the U.S. Constitution in 1787, they did not envision a role for political parties in the governmental order. Indeed, they sought through various constitutional arrangements such as separation of powers, checks and balances, and indirect election of the president by an electoral college to insulate the new republic from political parties and factions.

In spite of the founders' intentions, the United States was the first nation to develop parties organized on a national basis and to transfer executive power from one faction to another via an election in 1800.

THE EMERGENCE AND PERVASIVENESS OF POLITICAL PARTIES
The development of political
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Every president since 1856 has been either a Republican or a Democrat, and in the post-World War II era the major parties' share of the popular vote for president has averaged 95 percent.

After the 1998 elections, there was one lone representative in Congress who was elected as an independent, while only 20 (.003 percent) of the more than 7,300 state legislators elected were neither Republicans nor Democrats. It is the two major parties that organize the government at both the national and state levels.

Although American parties tend to be less ideologically cohesive and programmatic than parties in many democracies, they do play a major role in shaping public policy. Indeed, since the 1994 elections, both congressional Republicans and Democrats have demonstrated sharp policy differences and an unusually high level of intraparty unity. This has created a super-heated atmosphere of partisan conflict, especially in the House of Representatives. In an era of divided party control of the government, partisan conflict has been unremitting between Democratic President Bill Clinton and the Republican-controlled Congress. Partisan divisiveness was especially intense during the congressional impeachment proceedings against President Clinton during 1998 and 1999. The intensified partisanship within the Congress and between the legislative and executive branches reflects the extent to which the
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