The Development Of The Us Two Party System Politics Essay

23 Mar 2015

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There may be many reasons why we have problems in the government today, but the only problem we don't have are about ideas and laws. The reason why it is like that in that particular area is because of the Two-Party System. Despite the several disagreements in the government now, the politics was a lot simpler before. The era I am talking about is the Hamiltonian and Jeffersonian era of politics. This was where the two-party system was formed. The system boosted the government to a higher level of working.

The system had begun around the late 1770's and early 1780's. The system is important because it helps separate ideas and makes it easier to choose which idea would be better. The two-party system was important because it introduced major issues into regular local politics. The creators of the two-party system, The Federalists and Republicans, were men who looked upon parties as. Those who had supported the policies of the Washington Administration became known as Federalists because they supported a strong national government as a counterweight to the States. The President's two principal advisors, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, were the founders of this system. What began as a personal dispute between the two men evolved into the formation of primitive political parties. It usually allows government to move forward because in cases of gridlock, the majority party can take the lead.

But it stifles debate and forces a widely diverse country to be represented by only two ideologies. Furthermore, it creates division and bitterness as the two sides battle for control of government. The raging battle between these two stubborn and forceful men was not only personal, but political. The first two party system developed between the two opposite groups called the Federalists and the Democratic Republicans. The main issue between the two parties was how they believed the Constitution should be read and interpreted. The federalists, such as Hamilton, Adams and Jay, were "loose constructionists" who believed that more power and jurisdiction that was not specified in the Constitution should be placed in the hands of the Federal government. They were also passionate believers in the idea of a strong central government that had the power to regulate domestic and foreign affairs, while having the ultimate authority over the states.

Both were loyally committed to individualism, freedom, and equality of opportunity. The disagreement between Jefferson and Hamilton formed the foundation of the American two-party system, with either party more or less defined and distinguished

by its view of the nature of the federal government. The two-party system has produced a heightened two-party competition everywhere. Today for example there remain no substantial pockets of one-partyism in the United States. The births and deaths enable us

to count at least about six major parties in our history, from the Federalists, Jeffersonian Republicans, and short-lived National Republicans to the Democrats, Whigs, and Modern

Republicans. The Federalist Party was essentially composed of nationalists. Politicians like Hamilton favored a strong federal government, administering a united group of colonies with a dynamic economy based on international trade. The Federalists sought to wield this power through a liberal or "loose" interpretation of the Constitution's strictures. The Federalists viewed the "Elastic Clause" of the Constitution in particular as a license to do whatever was not specifically forbidden by the document. The Federalists traditionally hailed from the financially powerful northern states of New England and the mid-Atlantic. They favored a powerful government that would protect the interests of the merchant class. In fact ardent Federalist, John Jay was fond of quipping, "Those who own the country ought to govern it."

The United States needed both influences. It was the country's good fortune that it had both men and could, in time, fuse and reconcile their philosophies. One battle between them, which occurred shortly after Jefferson took office as secretary of state, led to a new and profoundly important interpretation of the Constitution. When Hamilton

introduced his bill to establish a national bank, Jefferson objected. Speaking for those who believed in states' rights, Jefferson argued that the Constitution expressly enumerates all the powers belonging to the federal government and reserves all other powers to the states. In 1828, the popular war-hero Andrew Jackson became the first President from a new party, the Democrats, the true party "of the people."  With the exception of one term

when the Whigs won the Presidency, the Democrats held the White House until 1860. Thomas Jefferson founded the Democratic Party of the United States in 1792 and was elected as the first Democratic President in 1800. The Party was called the "Democratic-Republicans" until after 1830 and was initially established as a Congressional Caucus to

fight for people's rights and to oppose the elite Populist Party.

Founded in 1854, the Republican Party was organized as an answer to the turmoil that plagued the many existing political parties in the United States. The Free Soil Party, asserting that all men had a natural right to the soil, demanded that the government re-evaluate homesteading legislation and grant land to settlers free of charge. The Conscience Whigs, the "radical" faction of the Whig Party in the North, alienated themselves from their Southern counterparts by adopting an anti-slavery position. Two political parties had come of age from the Jeffersonian age of republicanism, the Whigs and the Democrats. Both these two parties extended toward the radical ends of the narrow spectrum of Jeffersonian political beliefs. The Whigs clung tightly to Jefferson's

ideals about community and societal harmony, and they firmly believed in the power of the government to gain their goals. The Whigs saw Jacksonian philosophies regarding the engendering of conflict among classes and individuals as the enemy. The Democrats, by

contrast, were big proponents of Jeffersonian ideals regarding states' rights and the restraint of federal interference into economic and social lives of Americans. Whigs favored going back to Hamiltonian federalism in the banking system of the America as well as being reliant on federal tariffs and the internal improvement of the school system and other institutions. The Whigs were also at the forefront of prohibition of liquor and the abolition of slavery, all things that the Democrats were against more or less. Also the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which allowed territories to determine whether slavery would be legalized in accordance with "popular sovereignty" and thereby nullify the principles of the Missouri Compromise, created a schism within the Democratic Party. The Whigs and Democrats traded elections every four years from 1836 through 1852; in fact no president between Jackson and Abraham Lincoln was reelected. Beginning with the "log cabin and hard cider" campaign of 1836 elections began to take on the feel of modern politics, utilizing mudslinging, slogans, songs and rallies to drum up support for candidates. The Whigs won only two presidential elections but in each case the winning Whig president died and was succeeded by his Vice-President. Whigs were successful initially as the champions of the economic powers of the United States and the common people at the same time.

Finally I would like to conclude on the stand that the Two-Party system was developed by to main men, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. Many problems have erupted between the two, which has brought this major impact in Americans lives

and America's government. Despite the fights in the government now, the Hamiltonian and Jeffersonian era of politics is where the two-party system was formed.

The Development of the Two-Party System

Work Cited Page

1. Walsh, James P. "The Rise of a Two-Party System." Connecticut's Heritage Gateway. Web. 14 Apr. 2011. <http://www.ctheritage.org/encyclopedia/ct1818_1865/twopartysys.htm>.

2. Kutler, Stanley I. Dictionary of American History. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2003. Print.

3. Allison, Robert J. American Eras: Development of a Nation, 1783-1815. Detroit: Gale Research, 1997. Print.

4. Axelrod, Alan. The Complete Idiot's Guide to American History; Fifth Edition. New York, NY; Penguin Group, 2009. Print

5. McGeehan R., John. The Everything American History Book; 2nd Edition. Avon, MA; Adams Media, 2007. Print

6. Chambers, William Nisbet. The American Party Systems: Stages of Political Development. New York; Oxford University Press, 1967. Print

7. Hofstadter, Richard. The Idea of a Party System: The Legitimate Opposition in the United States; 1780-1840. Berkeley: University of California, 1969. Print

8. Greenstein, Fred I. The American Party System and the American People. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1963. Print



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