Two Political Party Systems essay

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The United States of America has two parties. Each of the parties has distinct policies and standpoints on various political, social, and economic issues. Most people align themselves to the party that they feel is more responsible for their welfare and advocate for the advancement of their needs. The parties are the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. Each has its structures across all the states in the country and draws its membership from all groups of people.

After the publication of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, which was just before the resolution of the war for freedom from colonial powers, most Americans opted for a Confederate that would allow them to enter into strategic alliances with European powers. This allowed the country to draft an Article of Confederation in 1781, which became the basis of its first constitution. After some time, most people deemed the article inadequate to form the constitution of the country. Consequently, a new constitutional convention of 1787 ended up in the new constitution by 1789 (Sundquist 4-7).

The federalists advocated for a strong federal system while other Americans wanted a centralized system of governance to enable the control of all the states. The anti-federalists believed that a strong federal government might overpower the sovereign rights of individual states. The Bill of Rights put a limit to the powers of the federal government over the sovereignty of the state governments. This struggle between a strong federal government and the sovereignty of the states played an important role in the formation of the ideologies of the two parties (Sundquist 4-7).

In 1789, the US had no party. Instead, it had George Washington as its president, who went through his two terms without a party. During his tenure, rivalry between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson emerged. Jefferson challenged Adams under the banner of the Democratic - Republican Party. The party became the nominal seed for the two parties with Democratic meaning the will of the people while the Republican standing for the rule of law (Sundquist 12). Andrew Jackson became the first president to be elected under the new party: the Democratic Party in 1828. The Republican Party arose from the Northern Abolitionist Movement, and Abraham Lincoln became their first democratically elected president in 1860. The Northerners were mainly anti-slavery and pro-business people while the Democrats were mainly from the South and populist in their ideologies.

The Democrats and Republicans managed to evolve over the years to identify with certain classes of the society. The Democrats managed to identify themselves as a party for the poor people, middle class and the labor movement in the society, as they propagated populist ideas such as higher taxes on the rich. The Republican Party became known as the party for the wealthy Americans. The nature of the two parties has changed since 1864. Industrialism, slavery, and dominance of the South by the Northerners formed the initial differences of the two parties (Chhibber & Kollmann 211). After the depression, the parties differed over the Gold Standard, debt repayment, and recovery programs that they intended to institute. In the end, Democratic Party appeared liberal ready to accommodate people from all backgrounds: from gays to liberal Christians. Up to date, the party attracts the marginalized groups including minorities and the youth. Over time, the party has appeared adaptive to change. Conservative Christians in the country and the Jewish community believe that their interests are more protected in the Republican Party embraced Republican Party. Republicans often appear to maintain the same values, and are often rigid in changing their positions on national issues.

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