The American Two Party Political System Essay

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The American Two Party Political System

Since the administration of George Washington two political parties have dominated the United States political system, but they have not always been the same two parties. The first two parties were the Federalists and Anti-Federalists. Federalists were those who supported a strong federal government and the Anti-Federalists were those who did not. The leaders of the Federalists were Alexander Hamilton and John Adams. Both were from the Northeast where the Federalist line of thinking was strongest. Thomas Jefferson became the leader of the Anti-Federalists. These two groups really did not considered themselves parties. The founders feared parties because they thought of them as factions.
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The party of Jackson is today's Democratic Party. By the election of 1836 the National Republicans and other anti-Jacksonians had merged to form a new party, the Whigs. They lost to the Democrats that year, but in 1840 they succeeded in getting William Henry Harrison elected President. In 1844 the Whig candidate, Henry Clay, lost to James Polk, but in the next election Zachary Taylor won for the Whigs. This seemed to be a time of uncertainty in political direction.
While this uncertainty was taking place, a social force greater than party loyalty was beginning to reshape American politics. The slavery issue, with the passions it aroused in the North and the South, gradually compelled a realignment of parties. The Whigs party began to split in 1852. This was a result of the deep split in opinion over slavery. During the next few years most Southern Whigs joined the Democrats. Northern Whigs joined northern antislavery Democrats. In 1854 groups of northern men against slavery urged the creation of a new political party opposed to the continuation of slavery. This party has become today’s Republicans. During 1854 to1860, the slavery issue became such a hot topic that even Democrats were becoming divided among themselves. In 1860 four candidates ran for the presidency. Brekenridge was the Southern Democrats candidate, Douglas was the Northern Democrats candidate,
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