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Multiple Choice
Identify the choice that best completes the statement or answers the question.
The Nation  ’s First Parties
The beginnings of the American two-party system can be traced to the battle over the ratification of the Constitution. The conflicts of the time, centering on the proper form and role of government in the United States, were not stilled by the adoption of the Constitution. Rather, those conflicts were carried over into the early years of the Republic. They led directly to the formation of the nation  ’s first full-blown political parties.
The Federalist Party was the first to appear. It formed around Alexander Hamilton, who served as secretary of the treasury in the new government organized by George Washington. The Federalists were, by and large, the party of   “the rich and the well-born.  ” Most of them had supported the Constitution.
Led by Hamilton, the Federalists worked to create a stronger national government. They favored vigorous executive leadership and a set of policies designed to correct the nation  ’s economic ills. The Federalists  ’ program appealed to financial, manufacturing, and commercial interests. To reach their goals, they urged a liberal interpretation of the Constitution.


We can trace the first parties back to
the writing of the Constitution
the time of Christopher Columbus
the 1750’s
the p;eriod just before the Civil War


The first division in America was between Federalists and anti-Federalists. What did the Federalists want?
strong economy and strong state power
weak economy but strong national government
strong economy and strong national government
weak economy and weak national government
Thomas Jefferson, the nation’s first secretary of state, led the opposition to the Federalists. Jefferson and his followers were more sympathetic to the “common man” than were the Federalists. They favored a very limited role for the new government created by the Constitution. In their view, Congress should dominate that new government, and its policies should help the nation’s small shopkeepers, laborers, farmers, and planters. The Jeffersonians insisted on a strict construction of the provisions of the Constitution.
Jefferson resigned from Washington’s Cabinet in 1793 to concentrate on organizing his party. Originally, the new party took the name Anti-Federalist. Later it became known as the Jeffersonian Republicans or the Democratic-Republicans. Finally, by 1828, it became the Democratic Party.
These two parties first clashed in the election of 1796. John Adams, the Federalists’ candidate to succeed Washington as President, defeated Jefferson by just three votes in the electoral college. Over the next four years, Jefferson and James Madison worked tirelessly to build the Democratic-Republican Party. Their efforts paid off in the election of 1800. Jefferson defeated the incumbent or current officeholder, President Adams; Jefferson’s party also won control of Congress. The Federalists never returned to power.


What did the anti-Federalists want?
return to monarchy
focus on the individual and strong state governments over the national government
focus on the economy and strong national government
weak state governments


What does “strict constructionist” mean?
should interpret the Constitution loosly and add your own meaning
should be strict with your enemies
should follow the Constitution exactly as iit is written
should ignore the constitution


Which candidates will be facing each other in the November 2012 elections?
Obama Democrat and Romney Socialist
Obama Republican and Romney  Libertarian
Obama Democrat and Romney Republican
Obama Republican and Romney Democrat

Multiple Response
Identify one or more choices that best complete the statement or answer the question.
Section 3 The Two Party System in American History
Understand the origins of political parties in the U.S.
Identify and descrie the three major periods of single-party domination
Why It Matters
The origins and history of political parties in the United States help explain how the two major parties work today and how they affect American government.
Political Dictionary
Incumbent The current officeholder
Faction A conflicting group
Electorate All of the people entitled to vote in a given election
Sectionalism A narrow-minded concern for, or devotion to, the interests of one section of a country


What are the two main objetives of this lesson? (pick 2)
Understand how the U.S. parties got started
Understand the two major periods of single party domination
Understand the three major periods of single party domination
Understand why some people are Republicans and some Democrats



A narrow-minded concern for, or devotion to, the interests of one section of a country


The current officeholde


All of the people entitled to vote in a given election


A conflicting group


George Washington


Thomas Jefferson


John Adams


Alexander Hamilton
Each party has taken turns controlling the office of president though they may not have controlled the congress at the same time. Which party controlled the office of president for the periods below?
American Parties: Four Major Eras
The history of the American party system since 1800 can be divided into four major periods. Through the first three of these periods, one or the other of the two major parties was dominant, regularly holding the presidency and usually both houses of Congress. The nation is now in a fourth period, much of it marked by divided government.
In the first of these periods, from 1800 to 1860, the Democrats won 13 of 15 presidential elections. They lost the office only in the elections of 1840 and 1848. In the second era, from 1860 to 1932, the Republicans won 14 of 18 elections, losing only in 1884, 1892, 1912, and 1916.
The third period, from 1932 to 1968, began with the Democrats  ’ return to power and Franklin Roosevelt  ’s first election to the presidency. The Democrats won seven of the nine presidential elections, losing only in 1952 and 1956. Through the fourth and current period, which began in 1968, the Republicans have won seven of ten presidential elections, and they hold the White House today. But the Democrats have controlled both houses of Congress over much of this most recent period although they do not do so today


1800 to 1860


1860 to 1932


1932 to 1968


1968 to 2008


2008 to present

Short Answer
The Era of the Democrats, 1800  –1860
Thomas Jefferson’s election in 1800 marked the beginning of a period of Democratic domination that was to last until the Civil War. As the time line on pages 128 –129 shows, the Federalists, soundly defeated in 1800, had disappeared altogether by 1816.
For a time, through the Era of Good Feeling, the Democratic-Republicans were unopposed in national politics. However, by the mid-1820s, they had split into factions, or conflicting groups. By the time of Andrew Jackson’s administration (1829  –1837), a potent National Republican (Whig) Party had arisen to challenge the Democrats. The major issues of the day, conflicts over public lands, the Second Bank of the United States, high tariffs, and slavery, all had made new party alignments inevitable
The Democrats, led by Jackson, were a coalition of small farmers, debtors, frontier pioneers, and slaveholders. They drew much of their support from the South and West. The years of Jacksonian democracy produced three fundamental changes in the nation  ’s political landscape: (1) voting rights for all white males, (2) a huge increase in the number of elected offices around the country, and (3) the spread of the spoils system  —the practice of awarding public offices, contracts, and other governmental favors to those who supported the party in power.
The Whig Party was led by the widely popular Henry Clay and the great orator, Daniel Webster. The party consisted of a loose coalition of eastern bankers, merchants and industrialists, and many owners of large southern plantations. The Whigs were opposed to the tenets of Jacksonian democracy and strongly supported a high tariff. However, the Whigs  ’ victories were few. Although they were the other major party from the mid-1830s to the 1850s, the Whigs were able to elect only two Presidents, both of them war heroes: William Henry Harrison in 1840 and Zachary Taylor in 1848.
By the 1850s, the growing crisis over slavery split both major parties. Left leaderless by the deaths of Clay and Webster, the Whigs fell apart. Meanwhile, the Democrats split into two sharply divided camps, North and South. During this decade, the nation drifted toward civil war.
Of the several groupings that arose to compete for supporters among the former Whigs and the fragmented Democrats, the Republican Party was the most successful. Founded in 1854, it drew many Whigs and antislavery Democrats. The Republicans nominated their first presidential candidate, John C. Fr  émont, in 1856; they elected their first President, Abraham Lincoln, in 1860.
With Lincoln  ’s election, the Republican Party became the only party in the history of American politics to make the jump from third-party to major-party status. As you will see, even greater things were in store for the Republicans


Summarize the party histories from 1800 to 1860
The Era of the Republicans, 1860  –1932
The Civil War signaled the beginning of the second era of one-party domination. For nearly 75 years, the Republicans dominated the national scene. They were supported by business and financial interests, and by farmers, laborers, and newly freed African Americans.
The Democrats, crippled by the war, were able to survive mainly through their hold on the  “Solid South, ” after the era of Reconstruction came to a close in the mid-1870s. For the balance of the century, they slowly rebuilt their electoral base. In all that time, they were able to place only one candidate in the White House: Grover Cleveland in 1884 and again in 1892. Those elections marked only short breaks in Republican supremacy. Riding the crest of popular acceptance and unprecedented prosperity, the GOP remained the dominant party well into the twentieth century.
The election of 1896 was especially critical in the development of the two-party system. It climaxed years of protest by small business owners, farmers, and the emerging labor unions against big business, financial monopolies, and the railroads. The Republican Party nominated William McKinley and supported the gold standard. The Democratic candidate was William Jennings Bryan, a supporter of free silver, who was also endorsed by the Populist Party.
With McKinley’s victory in 1896, the Republicans regained the presidency. In doing so, they drew a response from a broader range of the electrate, the people eligible to vote. This new strength allowed the Republicans to maintain their role as the dominant party in national politics for another three decades.
The Democratic Party lost the election of 1896, but it won on another score. Bryan, its young, dynamic presidential nominee, campaigned throughout the country as the champion of the   “little man.  ” He helped to push the nation  ’s party politics back toward the economic arena, and away from the divisions of sectionalism that had plagued the nation for so many years. Sectionalism emphasizes a devotion to the interests of a particular region.
The Republicans suffered their worst setback of the era in 1912, when they renominated incumbent President William Howard Taft. Former President Theodore Roosevelt, denied the nomination of his party, left the Republicans to become the candidate of his “Bull Moose” Progressive Party. Traditional Republican support was divided between Taft and Roosevelt. As a result, the Democratic nominee, Woodrow Wilson, was able to capture the presidency. Four years later, Wilson was reelected by a narrow margin.
Again, however, the Democratic successes of 1912 and 1916 proved only a brief interlude. The GOP reasserted its control of the nation  ’s politics by winning each of the next three presidential elections: Warren Harding won in 1920, Calvin Coolidge in 1924, and Herbert Hoover in 1928.


Summarize the party histories from 1860 to 1932
The Return of the Democrats, 1932  –1968
The Great Depression, which began in 1929, had a massive impact on nearly all aspects of American life. Its effect on the American political landscape was considerable indeed. The landmark election of 1932 brought Franklin Roosevelt to the presidency and the Democrats back to power at the national level. Also, and of fundamental importance, that election marked a basic shift in the public  ’s attitude toward the proper role of government in the nation  ’s social and economic life
Franklin Roosevelt and the Democrats engineered their victory in 1932 with a new electoral base. It was built largely of southerners, small farmers, organized labor, and big-city political organizations. Roosevelt  ’s revolutionary economic and social welfare programs, which formed the heart of the New Deal of the 1930s, further strengthened that coalition. It also brought increasing support from African Americans and other minorities to the Democrats.
President Roosevelt won reelection in 1936. He secured an unprecedented third term in 1940 and yet another term in 1944, each time by heavy majorities. Roosevelt  ’s Vice President, Harry S Truman, completed the fourth term following FDR  ’s death in 1945. Truman was elected to a full term of his own in 1948, when he turned back the GOP challenge led by Governor Thomas E. Dewey of New York.
The Republicans did manage to regain the White House in 1952, and they kept it in 1956. World War II hero Dwight Eisenhower led the Republicans to victory in these elections. Both times, Eisenhower defeated the Democratic nominee, Governor Adlai Stevenson of Illinois.
The Republicans  ’ return to power was short-lived, however. Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts recaptured the White House for the Democrats in 1960. He did so with a razor-thin win over the Republican standard bearer, then Vice President Richard M. Nixon. Lyndon B. Johnson succeeded to the presidency when Kennedy was assassinated in late 1963. Johnson won a full presidential term in 1964, by overwhelming his Republican opponent, Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona.


Summarize the party histories from 1932 to 1968
The Start of a New Era
Richard Nixon made a successful return to presidential politics in 1968. In that year  ’s election, he defeated Vice President Hubert Humphrey. Humphrey was the candidate of a Democratic Party torn apart by conflicts over the war in Vietnam, civil rights, and a variety of social welfare issues. Nixon also faced a strong third-party effort by the American Independent Party nominee, Governor George Wallace of Alabama. The Republicans won with only a bare plurality over Humphrey and Wallace.
In 1972, President Nixon retained the White House when he routed the choice of the still-divided Democrats, Senator George McGovern of South Dakota. However, Nixon  ’s role in the Watergate scandal forced him from office in 1974.
Vice President Gerald Ford then became President and filled out the balance of Nixon  ’s second term. Beset by problems in the economy, by the continuing effects of Watergate, and by his pardon of former President Nixon, Ford lost the presidency in 1976. The former governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter, and the resurgent Democrats gained the White House that year.
A steadily worsening economy, political fallout from the Iranian hostage crisis, and his own inability to establish himself as an effective President spelled defeat for Jimmy Carter in 1980. Led by Ronald Reagan, the former governor of California, the Republicans scored an impressive victory that year. Reagan won a second term by a landslide in 1984, overwhelming a Democratic ticket headed by former Vice President Walter Mondale.
The GOP kept the White House with a third straight win in 1988. Their candidate, George H.W. Bush, had served as Vice President through the Reagan years. He led a successful campaign against the Democrats and their nominee, Governor Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts.
The Reagan and Bush victories of the 1980s triggered wide-ranging efforts to alter many of the nation  ’s foreign and domestic policies. President George H.W. Bush lost his bid for another term in 1992, however. Democrat Bill Clinton, then the governor of Arkansas, defeated him and also turned back an independent challenge by Texas billionaire Ross Perot. Mr. Clinton won a second term in 1996  —defeating the Republican candidate, long-time senator from Kansas, Bob Dole, and, at the same time, thwarting a third-party effort by Mr. Perot.
The GOP regained the White House in the very close presidential contest of 2000. Their candidate, George W. Bush, was then the governor of Texas, and is the son of the former Republican President. Mr. Bush failed to win the popular vote contest in 2000, but he did capture a bare majority of the electoral votes and so the White House. His Democratic opponent, Vice President Al Gore, became the first presidential nominee since 1888 to win the popular vote and yet fail to win the presidency; see pages 379  –381.
The years since Richard Nixon  ’s election in 1968 have been marked by divided government. Through much of the period, Republicans have occupied the White House while the Democrats have usually controlled Congress.6 That situation was reversed in the midst of President Clinton  ’s first term, however. The GOP took control of both houses of Congress in 1994, and they kept their hold on Capitol Hill on through the elections of 2000.
Historically, a newly elected President has almost always swept many of his party  ’s candidates into office with him. But the victories of several recent Presidents  —most recently, George W. Bush in 2000  —have not carried that kind of coattail effect.
The Republicans lost seats in the House and Senate in 2000. They did manage to keep a narrow hold on both chambers, however  —by a nine-seat margin in the House and by virtue of a 50-50 split in the Senate. But the Democrats reclaimed the upper house in mid-2001, when Senator James Jeffords of Vermont bolted the Republican Party and became an independent.
Sparked by the prodigious campaign efforts of President Bush, the Republicans won back the Senate and padded their slim majority in the House in the off-year congressional elections of 2002. The GOP had not picked up seats in both houses of Congress in a midterm election with a Republican in the White House in 100 years  —not since Theodore Roosevelt  ’s first term, in 1902.
The Republicans continued their winning ways in 2004. Mr. Bush defeated his Democratic opponent, Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts, in a bruising campaign  —and, this time, he won a clear majority of the popular vote. The President also led his party to substantial gains in both the House and Senate. Has the era of divided government that began in 1968 now come to an end  Only time will tell.


Summarize the party histories from 1968 to 2008

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