A Brief History of the American Two Party System

The Great Depression (1929 and forward) changedall that. As business had so completely failed the people, the party ofthe people, the Democrats, under Franklin Roosevelt, won the support of themajority of the voters. Indeed, they kept power through 1968 except forthe two terms of Dwight Eisenhower, who won his elections not for his politicsbut for his stature as a war-hero. Pretty much the Democrats (FDR, JFK,LBJ) successfully defined themselves as the party of the people, of the poor andmiddle class, and of the large and growing labor movement. The Republicanswere pretty much forced to redefine themselves, not as the party of privilegebut as the party of individual and states’ rights, and of tax cuts and reducedgovernment spending. But this didn't win them elections (nor did itrepresent their real values). Most Americans since FDR have identifiedthemselves as Democrats, a natural thing as most Americans are not wealthy. Ever since 1932, the Republicans have only won the Presidency when theircandidate was more personable and more “Presidential,” not because of hispositions on the issues. Poll after poll for the last 70 years showAmericans identify with Democratic positions even when they elect a Republican. TV has been a potent force in this phenomenon, as has the increasing role ofreligion and ignorance in the American political scene.

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Development of the Two-party System - AP U.S

The Northern Abolitionist Movement gave birth to anew party (1856), the Republicans. Abraham Lincoln was their firstsuccessful candidate for President (1860). The Northern, anti-slavery andpro-business Republicans held the White House thru 1912, with the exception ofthe Democrat Grover Cleveland's two non-consecutive terms. 1864 reallymarks the beginning of the two-party system of Democrats and Republicans. From the beginning, the Republicans have been Northern and pro-business, theDemocrats Southern and more populist. Woodrow Wilson was the only otherDemocratic President besides Cleveland before the Great Depression. So,for all intents and purposes, the Republicans held Presidential power for 72years but for 16 Democratic years.

You just finished Development of the Two-party System

Following the publication of the Declaration ofIndependence (1776) and before the successful resolution of the War forIndependence (1783), the American colonies decided it would be best to"confederate," at least for the purposes of entering into strategicalliances with European powers and perhaps waging war again with the mothercountry. This gave the U.S. the Articles of Confederation (1781), thefirst constitution of the "United States.” But the Articles weresoon deemed inadequate and another Constitutional Convention was called (1787)which resulted in the U.S. Constitution (1789). But not without a fight. The “Federalists” were of course instrumental in the movement for the newU.S. Constitution and for a stronger Federal role. The so-calledAnti-Federalists were concerned that this new Federal government mightover-power the states' sovereignties and abridge individual citizens' rights(most states had a long and proud history of individual rights). Thepassage of the Bill of Rights, as a permanent limit to the powers of the Federalgovernment, answered much of that argument. Nonetheless, the strugglebetween a strong Federal government and state sovereignties has been animportant thread in the play of our two-party system from the very beginning.

Debating the Two-Party System | HuffPost
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