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Both parties began as loose groupings or tendencies, but became quite formal by 1784, with the ascension of Charles James Fox as the leader of a reconstituted "Whig" party ranged against the governing party of the new "Tories" under William Pitt the Younger.
Both parties were founded on rich politicians, more than on popular votes; there were elections to the House of Commons, but a small number of men controlled most of the voters.
Later on, the Whigs drew support from the emerging industrial interests and wealthy merchants, while the Tories drew support from the landed interests and the royal family. The Whigs were originally also known as the "Country Party" (as opposed to the Tories, the "Court Party").
I ask this: If the right and left suddenly switched positions on socials issues, would the people that follow the parties that change their position? Or would they continue their support while changing their own personal beliefs?
I'm not so sure I agree with your premise about the Whig Party being the beginning of this nonsense.
Out of the 100 people at least 20 of those people do not know what to believe.
So, to say political parties are meaningless, is almost an oxymoron but enticing as an argument.
Nothing against your premise and or thread by any means.
I've always thought the Republican verses Democrat argument was hogwash.
Then again I am a registered Independent so I can choose whatever the Hell I want.
People in general have to have some form of a belief system.
Because too many people cannot lead themselves.