The Role of Political Parties

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The Role of Political Parties

History has always endured the conflicts of politics; whether formal or informal. Athens was the origins of early Democracy with the organization (or lack thereof) a Direct Democracy. A Direct Democracy is where one can say that every single person under the rule of the modern government has the chance to speak to the president about their issues. In turn Direct Democracy is the ability to make the laws in which you are governed by through a greatly dispersed amount of power. This was equally balanced with the counterpart Republic being derived from Rome, with the use of a representative government. The Republic is a system where the people are spoken for by leader; this does not mean that the leader is chosen. Since the leader is not chosen, the people’s opinions are taken into account but are only viewed as “cheerleaders” of the government hoping they make the right decisions. This can be a problem since there is nothing to keeping these powers in check since there is no election process, and such a focused power can easily be abused. Both of these governments combined are what our current Democracy is sculpted from today. The reason for the combination rather than a clear choice from the two governments is primarily because each government is missing one of the two elements of power. Direct Democracy has the element of organized money or wealth, while the Republic had organized people to represent the many. Some examples of the fusion of the two systems can be represented in the modern election processes. The fact that the people have say in a popular vote to show what person is more likely to address the problems that that individual has, is a very personal action despite them electing of “a voice” for themselves. A group that can be viewed to be more of a Republican ideal is the Electoral College in which the popular vote is considered but has no real influence behind a decision (i.e. George Bush losing popular vote, but winning the election through the Electoral College.) Both elements are necessary to create a respectable government where the people feel empowered yet well spoken for. Though these elements are needed to work in unison, the country seems to be divided nearly in half in a passionate way for the Democrats and Republicans. The older of the two major U.S. political parties, the Democratic Party is considered to have two eras. The historical era began with the party’s founding in 1792; then known as the Democratic-Republican Party. The party grew out of opposition to the Federalist Party who, led by Alexander Hamilton, were successful in securing victories in the first presidential election with George Washington as president and John Adams as vice president. Founding Fathers Thomas Jefferson and James Madison played a large role in the party’s formation by uniting the Anti-Federalists under their leadership. Democratic-Republicans championed states’ rights and were strict constitutionalists as opposed to Hamilton and the Federalists loose interpretation of the Constitution. They also fought against Hamilton’s creation of a national bank and his belief of a strong federal system of government. The party finally beat out the federalists in the election of 1800 with Jefferson winning the presidency. Jefferson had tied in a number of electoral votes with fellow Democratic-Republican Aaron Burr, so the election was decided by the House of Representatives who chose Jefferson to be president; making Burr the vice president.

Several years later a rift grew within the Democratic-Republicans over their nominations for the presidency in the 1824 election. The faction supporting the candidacy of Andrew Jackson and old “Jeffersonian” principals became the modern Democratic Party. Jackson won the presidency in 1828 and this began the Democrats current era. The party continued strong until the 1860’s when they were once again divided, this time over the...
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