(TruthandLiberty.com) – Republicans and Democrats are the largest political parties in America — and have been for more than 160 years. The two sides are so entrenched in our country’s politics one might think that they’ve always been the two main groups, but that’s not true.
So, what parties came before the GOP and Dems? To answer that we need to go back to the beginning.
Birth of America
Way back in 1789, when the Constitution was adopted, there were two main political ideologies in the US: the Federalists and Anti-Federalists. The factions actually mirror the modern parties in a lot of ways.
The Federalists believed in a robust central government that had a lot of control over the country. They held power from 1789 to 1801. Alexander Hamilton and President John Adams were well-known members of the party.
The Anti-Federalists, also known as the Democratic-Republican Party, was born in opposition to the Federalists. They opposed a strong central government and wanted the states to have more power. In fact, this party is the reason the Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution. Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson were members of the party, though the group dissolved in 1834.
The Rise of Republicans and Democrats
In 1828, the Democratic Party was founded in response to the controversial 1824 election. Andrew Jackson actually won, but the House of Representatives gave the victory to John Quincy Adams. Jackson and Martin Van Buren were so angry about what happened that they formed the new party.
From 1828 to 1856, Democrats won all but two presidential elections. During that time, the Whig Party was the other major party. Then, along came the Republicans.
In 1854, the Republican Party was born. The party vehemently opposed slavery spreading to the Western territories. This opposition, combined with a divide in the Democratic Party, propelled Abraham Lincoln to victory in 1860, and the rest is history.
Modern GOP and Democrats
These days, the Republican Party is a lot like the Anti-Federalists. They believe in limited government, strong states’ rights, and the individual liberties granted to Americans by the Bill of Rights. Democrats, on the other hand, are like the Federalists. They want a strong federal government that invades every aspect of American life.
Will the parties ever change again? That’s hard to say, but anything is possible. America has proven that time and again.
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