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Why the United States has only two political parties

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posted on Jun, 7 2011 @ 12:27 AM
For a while now I have encountered people both on AboveTopSecret and off whom consistently criticize the entire premise of a two-party system. Arguably their justification for opposition to the present system is valid, who among us is not angry with one or both of the parties? Most certainly at this present time the current platform of both parties irritate me to no end yet there is a reason that I believe it should be at least tolerated. Allow me to explain.

At the founding of our Republic the Washington administration brought in all bright men fit for job of federal government civil service. Division however resulted as Alexander Hamilton and John Adams had a particular vision for the United States, one different than that of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. George Washington remained non-partisan the entirety of his life, even going so far as to oppose all partisan politics. He however aligned himself more with Hamilton and Adams, this was the reason Jefferson resigned from his post.

Members of the Congress then either sided with the policies of the administration or they opposed them. Those who opposed the policies became known as Democratic-Republicans who rallied behind Thomas Jefferson when he ran for President in 1796. Those who supported the policies of the Washington administration generally sided with Adams and became known as Federalists. Many issues divided the two parties but it was hardly about ideology, rather it was about a general philosophy of America, position on key issues non-ideological issues, and the religion/ethnicity/region.

Defining issues which shaped the two-party system were: States’ rights v. Federalism, Pro-Tariff v. Free-Trade, Nativism v. Immigration, Pietistic moralism v. Liturgical freedoms, Isolationism v. Internationalism, and Industrialization v. Agrarianism. The parties which endorsed Federalism, Tariffs, Nativism, Pietistic moralism, Isolationism, and Industrialization were located in the Northeast, especially New England and as Northern migrants went west they brought their beliefs with them to the Northern prairies and Great Lakes. The political parties which represented these ideas were first the Federalists, National Republicans, Whigs, Know-Nothings, and finally the Republican Party.

Those who endorsed States’ rights, Free-trade, Immigration, Liturgical freedoms, Internationalism, and Agrarianism were located mostly south of the Mason-Dixon line. These migrants moved west as well bringing with them their beliefs into the Louisiana territory. They remained further south in the prairies. The political parties which represented these ideas were first the Democratic-Republicans then the Democratic Party.

First issues which divided Americans were the federalism, trade, foreign policy, and national economy. This defined the First Party System which lasted from 1792-1824 and collapsing during the Era of Good Feelings. During the Second Party System new issues arose due to the largest influx of immigration into the United States yet. Immigrants from Ireland bringing with them ethnic diversity and religious diversity angered many of the nativists who belonged to the Whig Party. These new immigrants came into New York City and were welcomed in by Boss Tweed who ran the Tweed-Ring which would later become Tammany Hall political machine.

Boss Tweed was a staunch Democrat so he brought the Irish votes into the Democratic Party thus transforming it into one which accepted the Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, and German Lutherans, thus they became the party of immigration. The Whigs were increasingly divided over the issue of immigration and finally collapsed when the issue of abolition arose to the national scene. When the Whig Party collapsed in the early 1850s the gap was filled in largely by the Know-Nothings which were a staunch Nativist group which also collapsed due to the issue of abolition.

Republican Party soon arose to fill the void, being founded as a party supportive of federalism, tariffs, nativism, and industrialization. It did well in the election of 1856 but did not win the Presidency until 1860 with the ascension of Abraham Lincoln ushering in the Civil War. He proposed ending the extension of slavery into new territories, this the Democrats largely felt was an assault entirely upon not only the constitution, private property, and their rights but upon their entire philosophy.

Expressing their staunch belief in states’ rights they seceded from the union to create the Confederacy which they believed was the true representation of the United States founding fathers. Abraham Lincoln and the Republicans believing in federalism did not accept secession as constitutional and thus forced them back into the union through war. This also allowed for industrialization of southern lands to begin with the Scalawags (wealthy northern republicans) to relocate there and employ cheap labor.

Arguably the entire Civil War was more about the entire partisan conflict than about slavery itself. After the assassination of Lincoln Radical Republicans tried to seize the party, they believed Reconstruction in its present form did not go far enough and wanted very harsh punishments placed upon the Southern Democrats. Moderates within the party were able to block them from taking control.

When Reconstruction was finished this solidified the Solid South, giving the Democratic Party near unshakeable control over Southern politics for well over 80 years. Beginning in the 1880s as the nation stabilized and the two parties became solidified they took opposing positions on each of the crucial issues which the United States had always argued about. Leaving room inside each party for factions to develop, giving both parties their own Liberal, Moderate, and Conservative factions.

Republicans became the party of the racial minorities and Anglo-Saxon Protestants which dominated the Northeast, New England, Great Lakes, upper Midwest, and California. Democrats became the party of Southern whites and white ethnic immigrants which dominated the Southeast, Southern plains, and Rocky Mountains.

By this time the two parties filled out and took their positions on the issues. Republicans advocated Federalism, Tariffs, Nativism, Pietistic moralism, Isolationism, and Industrialization while Democrats advocated States’ rights, Free-trade, Immigration, Liturgical freedoms, Internationalism, and Agrarianism. By the end of the 19th century populism sprung up across the prairies and Rocky Mountains leading to the transformation of the Democratic Party away from the Liassez-faire led Bourbon Democrats to the Liberal populist Democrats.

1896 seen another change of national politics where populism took hold in the Democratic Party and Progressivism took hold in the Republican Party. By 1901 the Progressives took control of the Republican Party advocating progressive income tax, lower tariffs, central bank, nationalization of rail, trust-busting, and electoral reform, the party was led by Theodore Roosevelt. His attempt at transforming the party fell when in 1912 he left the party and brought his Progressives with him. The conservatives were able to retake the party and that they did.

Due to this division 1912 saw the first election of a Democratic President since 1892 and the only one until 1932. Woodrow Wilson began his political career as a Bourbon Democrat but then later joined the populist liberals and to bring on board many of the disenfranchised progressives he pushed the Federal Reserve, electoral reform, prohibition (17th and 18th amendments) and appeased the liberal Democrats by pushing income tax (16th amendment) and equal voting rights for women. The Income Tax was pushed so that it could be a replacement for the tariff, which under Wilson was reduced to its lowest levels on record.

With World War I however Wilson sealed the fate of the Democratic Party for the next election due to his alienation of two key voting groups; Germans and Irish. The Germans wanted the US to remain neutral in the conflict over in Europe. The Irish were angry that the US sided with their enemy Great Britain and preferred the US to remain neutral. Wilson tried to bring the Irish back with his promise to push Great Britain into creating an independent Ireland but did not end up actually pushing Britain for it so the Irish sat out the 1920 election or voted for Harding.

In 1920 election Harding, a strong conservative Republican, won with the largest popular vote percentage margin since the Era of Good Feelings winning with a 26% advantage over the Democrat. By 1924 the election was based around conservative politics as the Democrats nominated a conservative to battle the conservative Republican Calvin Coolidge who passed new tariff and immigration reforms. The immigration reforms were passed so that the large number of immigrants already in the US could be assimilated before we bring in any more immigrants from abroad.

Democrats did not stand a chance in the 1920s at winning any election with the economy doing amazingly well all the thanks were given to the Republicans. This is until the Great Depression occurred where the Republican Herbert Hoover lost in a landslide to Democrat Franklin Roosevelt. With the triumph of Roosevelt Democrats ushered in a new era and created a new political system known as the New Deal Coalition which brought over all the minorities into Democratic columns.

With this coalition Democrats held control of the Congress almost constantly from 1932-1980. Blacks, Catholics, southern whites, union workers, farmers, the poor, and many intellectuals allied themselves with the Democratic Party. As Liberals began to take control over both political parties a Conservative Coalition was formed which broke between the both parties aligning Conservative Republicans and Conservative Democrats together ultimately leading to the transformation of both parties in the 1960s.

Beginning in 1972 the Liberals seized control over the Democratic Party while it took until 1980 for Conservatives to seize control over the Republican Party. At this time the parties began to abandon the 180 year old system which allowed two-parties to flourish. They became parties based on ideology rather than principle. Instead of allowing factions within their parties based around the interpretation of the principles which the parties stood for they abandoned that in favor of partisan ideology.

The change was not only bad for the parties themselves but for the nation in general. Divisions became sharp with both sides accusing each other of un-American beliefs and a tradition of deep skepticism becoming apparent to the point that both sides find almost no mutual ground to stand upon. To be a Liberal you almost have to be a Democrat and to be a Conservative you almost have to be a Republican (not including the independents).

By this point a question must be raised now that you know why we only have two parties and that question is; how can a two-party system work when the parties are based around political ideology rather than national principles? There are numerous political ideologies; communism, socialism, anarchism, liberalism, environmentalism, conservatism, fascism, and nationalism. So how can we justify only having Liberal and Conservative when ideologies range?

In my opinion to legitimize the maintaining of our present two-party system we must abandon parties based upon political ideology and instead return to parties based around national principles. Let the issues of Federalism v. States’ rights, Nativism v. Immigration, Tariff v. Free-trade, Pietistic moralism v. Liturgical freedoms, Industry v. Agriculture, and Isolationism v. Internationalism become the points from which we align ourselves on the political spectrum and let our political ideology define our other stances.

posted on Jun, 7 2011 @ 12:49 AM
i think we need to abandon parties all together.

they are designed to divide us both seek and want to gain and maintain that power at the expense of the people.

issues themsevles are also designed to divide us.

too many put their power first and the people last if it all.

and i am sorry to say that will never change.

posted on Jun, 7 2011 @ 12:58 AM
reply to post by Misoir

Great post! I agree, we need to go "Back to the Future"!

See ya, Milt

posted on Jun, 7 2011 @ 01:33 AM
reply to post by neo96

I think we need to abandon parties all together.

Without "parties", how would you expect to gain a consensus on major issues?

they are designed to divide us

Parties weren't designed to divide us, they were created because we were already divided. In other words: They were created to gain a consensus.

both seek and want to gain and maintain that power at the expense of the people

At this time, that does seem to be true. We need to become smarter voters!

issues themsevles are also designed to divide us.

No, we divide ourselves! Once again: We need to become smarter voters!

too many put their power first and the people last if it all.

Very true! We are the fools that vote these con men into office though! One last time: We need to become smarter voters!

and i am sorry to say that will never change.

Wrong! There will be change, I just hope it's for the better!

See ya, Milt

posted on Jun, 7 2011 @ 01:39 AM
The US has many more than just two political parties.... It just so happens that there are two that are more popular than most.

But, we do need to get rid of the whole two party system that we are hellbent on using to elect president. While we are at it, can we get rid of the electoral college in exchange for the popular vote?

posted on Jun, 7 2011 @ 01:43 AM
It is my opinion that the two-party system is actually a one party system. Republicans and Democrats have long since been infiltrated, paid off, and/or financed by the elite banks and multi-conglomerate corporations.

Why do I say this?
Because regardless of what party holds presidency or congressional majority, the same direction in foreign policy is taken, wars are fought for the interests of banks/corporations/elites, and the same steady encroachment on constitutional rights, freedom, and privacy progresses.

You can not fool everyone all of the time.
You can not make everyone happy all of the time.

• One party is put into power to make half the society happy, then when people become disgruntled with that party, the other party is empowered to make the other half of society happy. Take turns making different elements of society happy about politics.

• One party can spend, engage in corruption, and pass unjust laws, then the next party jumps into office and "saves the day." Then when the people are distracted, this party also spends, engages in corruption, and passes unjust laws. One party can not do all of the dirt, so they take turns doing certain amounts of dirt that eventually accumulates into a huge tyranny.

• All U.S. Presidents (with NO exception) and many high ranking politicians are blood descendants of the European Royalty.

• News and Media, which is owned by the elite bankers and elite corporations, mostly focuses on the main two parties, while nearly ignoring all third party debates and candidates.

• John McCain was Obama's oppositional party opponent for presidency. John McCain is EXTREMELY vocal in support to the majority of Obama's decisions. Seems like they are pursuing the same agenda, same party.

This is, of course, my opinion based upon the most rational and logical reasoning I can come up with.

posted on Jun, 7 2011 @ 01:46 AM

Originally posted by gimme_some_truth
While we are at it, can we get rid of the electoral college in exchange for the popular vote?

Why should we do that? The United States was not founded as nor intended to be a democracy. Electoral College was to give proper apportionment to the states for nomination of President. Erasing that would be another attack upon the principles of our founding fathers.

Direct election of Senators has already been a seriously flunk because they now belong in the pocket of big business and special interest groups. The popular vote should not be considered of more importance than the electoral college unless we are prepared to once again abandon republican principles for democratic ones.
edit on 6/7/2011 by Misoir because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 7 2011 @ 01:47 AM
reply to post by BenReclused

Without "parties", how would you expect to gain a consensus on major issues?

thats not working out so well at the moment that "consensus" is an agenda pushed on to this countries people

Parties weren't designed to divide us, they were created because we were already divided. In other words: They were created to gain a consensus.

yeah well if you say so but the reality is they seek to promote the great divide in this country.

they way i see this is we eare either right or left democrat or republican white,hispanic,black, or poor smart or stupid the last thing anyone is considered to be and how they see themselves first and foremost is an american.

when a nations people has a national identity then there is a national consensus when that happens they put the survival of this nation first.

a united house stands a divided house falls and my how far we have fallen as americans.

thats my take feel free to disagree.

posted on Jun, 7 2011 @ 01:49 AM
reply to post by Sahabi

Continuity of agenda even. I tend to agree with you here. The system is a joke, however cliche that sounds. the fact is there is one major agenda and the system as it sits now is simply there to provide a different labels to what amounts to the same product. i.e. Coke or Pepsi

posted on Jun, 7 2011 @ 01:54 AM
dude, your op probably was brilliant and worthy of a PHD.

i didn't read it because i couldn't.

there are ways to make it easier to read.

we don't need more than 2 parties.

makes no sense to have more.

posted on Jun, 7 2011 @ 02:18 AM
reply to post by Punisher75

"Continuity of agenda"...... nicely said

The two party system keeps the people separated and debating the superficial issues such as homosexuality... all the while keeping the people distracted from the societal and world changing issues... "continuity of agenda"

The sooner the American people become aware of the Democrat-Republican One Party System, the sooner we can liberate from the increasing global tyranny.

Well, not only that, but we as the common people need to wake up and become more responsible for ourselves, our societies, our species, our planet, and all of existence. It's wrong to place all blame on those yielding power, we all effect the whole.

edit on 6/7/11 by Sahabi because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 7 2011 @ 02:22 AM
reply to post by neo96

feel free to disagree

I can't! I don't! So... I won't! LOL


posted on Jun, 7 2011 @ 02:29 AM
reply to post by Sahabi

You are correct we do need to wake up. I think that is part of the problem and likely the biggest one we have, people have been put to sleep via the hypnotic charms of the television, super bowl, Kim Kardashians new ring, the ads for the latest new energy drink etc etc etc. Meanwhile TPTB just keep on trucking with their agenda, keeping us snoring away wondering who will be the last guy on survivor island.

posted on Jun, 7 2011 @ 08:59 AM
I dont think the American people can afford a third party lol. The two we have now are breaking us.

posted on Jun, 7 2011 @ 09:25 AM
reply to post by Sahabi

I agree, it is infiltrated and the US tax payer is sold for the highest bidder...Than there is the Texas Longhorn club....a very popular club among members of both parties and I belief that they are way to familiar with eachother at these club parties. I am not an ameriocan and excuse me if I say that I have the impression that all decisions are made in the interest of the Texas Longhorn club and not for the hard, less hard or not working americans.......or for whoever else in the world for that matter.

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