The First Party System

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The First Party System

The Framers of the Constitution did not make provisions for political parties. They believed that parties were “factions” and could eventually seize control of the government. It didn’t take long before parties did form, however. The structure of the American Government; with the elaborate system of checks and balances was conducive to party formation. Party formation was probably inevitable so that permanent organizations could advocate for policy change, regulate commerce, and seek strength in government.

  1. America’s first party system

    1. Federalist Party

      1. Important political figures

        1. Alexander Hamilton (Secretary of the Treasury)

        2. John Adams (Vice-President)

      2. Policies

        1. Favored strong central government

        2. Active treasury that played an active role in the economy

        3. Pro-British foreign policy

    2. Anti-Federalist (Jeffersonian Republican, aka Democratic Republican)

      1. Important political figures

        1. Thomas Jefferson (Secretary of State)

        2. James Madison

      2. Policies

        1. Limited Federal government

        2. Little government interference in the economy

        3. Pro-French foreign policy

    3. Timeline of the first party system

      1. The Jeffersonian(Democratic) Republicans held power for 28 years

        1. From 1801-1829

      2. The Federalist Party became increasingly unpopular during this time.

        1. Ceased to function on the national level in 1812

      3. The Jeffersonian (Democratic) Republicans were the only political organization

  2. America’s second party system

    1. The Era of Good Feelings

      1. James Monroe was reelected in the 1st presidential contest without party competition since George Washington

        1. The lack of partisan competition weakened the party (Democratic Republicans)

      2. The expansion of suffrage

        1. More states were allowing the voters to choose the presidential electors (instead of congress choosing)

        2. In 1824, 4 nominees from the Democratic Republican party

      3. The Election of 1824

        1. Andrew Jackson won the plurality of the popular & the electoral vote.

        2. Andrew Jackson did not win the majority (2/3) in the Electoral College.

        3. The House of Representatives had to decide the winner

          1. John Quincy Adams was named president.

            1. This decision split the Democratic Republican party in 2

      4. Two new parties

        1. Democrats

          1. Followers of Andrew Jackson

          2. Represented the “common people”

            1. Primarily the South and West US

        2. National Republican

          1. Followers of John Quincy Adams

          2. The name signified their old Federalist preference for strong National Government

          3. Lost to Jackson in 1832

      5. Andrew Jackson’s 2nd term

        1. Jackson began to assert the power of Federal government over state government

        2. Whig Party was formed in 1834 in opposition to Jackson

          1. The name Whig referred to English Whigs who opposed the British throne (they believed Jackson ruled like a king)

      6. Dissolution of the Whig Party

        1. By 1856, the Whig Party was unable to produce a candidate for president

          1. Slavery & sectionalism were the major issues that destroyed the Whig Party

  3. The third political party system

    1. The New Republican Party 1854

      1. Some Whigs and anti-slavery democrats organized

      2. Continues as todays Republican Party

      3. Abraham Lincoln nominated in 1860

    2. Deeply divided Democratic party

      1. Divided over slavery

      2. Northern Democrats kept the label Democrat

        1. Nominated Stephen Douglas

      3. Southern Democrats

        1. Nominated John Breckinridge

      4. The Constitutional Union Party

        1. Nominated John Bell

    3. Lincoln wins election of 1860

      1. Carried every Northern state

      2. Considered the 1st of 3 critical election under the current party system

        1. Divided the country politically between the North and South US

        2. For forty years (1880-1920) no Republican won even 1 of the states in the confederacy

        3. It took 90 years for the pattern of Democratic dominance in the south to be broken

          1. Dwight Eisenhower was the candidate who broke the pattern in 1952

    4. 1860-1894

      1. Republicans & Democrats won an equal number of congressional elections

        1. Each party controlled the chamber of congress for 9 sessions during these years

    5. Republican Majority (1896-1930)

      1. The election of 1896 solidified the Republican affiliation with industry and business.

        1. Democrats advocated unlimited coinage

          1. Cheap money

          2. Inflation

        2. Republicans controlled the Presidency, the Senate, and the House from 1896-1929

  4. Democratic majority

    1. Election of 1932

      1. Franklin Roosevelt promised solutions to economic crisis of The Great Depression which appealed to many groups of people

      2. Roosevelt won in landslide victory

        1. Democratic majorities in the House and Senate

        2. Roosevelt was reelected in 1936, 1940, and 1944

        3. Democrats controlled both houses of Congress from 1933-1994

  5. Signs of change

    1. The coalition of southerners voting for Democrats has changed

      1. Since 1952, the south has voted more consistently for Republicans than Democrats

    2. Political affiliation and loyalty is not as important as it used to be

  1. The Presidential Election Campaign Fund Act

    1. Financed exclusively by voluntary tax check off

      1. Individuals may direct $3; joint filers $6

      2. Funds may only be spent in Presidential elections

    2. Funds distributed under 3 programs

      1. Primary matching payments

        1. Eligible candidates may receive public funds to match private contributions

          1. Only contributions from individuals are match-able

          2. Individuals can donate up to $2000

            1. Only the first $250 match-able

          3. Candidate must raise more than $5000 in each of 20 different states to participate

          4. Candidate must agree to use public funds only for campaign expenses

            1. Must comply with spending limits

              1. Base figure started at $10 million & is adjusted according to inflation

              2. In 2004, the limit was $37.1 million

      2. General election grants

        1. Candidate who win their parties’ nomination receive this grant

          1. The base $20 million grant is adjusted for inflation

            1. In 2004, the grant was $74.62million

        2. Nominees who accept this grant agree not to raise private contributions

        3. Third party candidates may qualify for this grant

          1. Must receive 5% of the popular vote

      3. Party convention grants

        1. Pays for the presidential nominating convention

        2. Base amount is $4million & is adjusted yearly for inflation

          1. 2004 amount was $14.592 million per party

        3. Other parties may be eligible

          1. Must receive at least 5% of vote in previous election

  2. Commission on Presidential Debates

    1. Criteria for selecting candidates for the presidential debate

      1. Constitutional eligibility

        1. 35+ years

        2. Natural born citizen of the US & resident for 14 years

      2. Evidence of ballot access

        1. Must have a mathematical chance of securing an Electoral College majority

      3. Indicators of electoral support

        1. Must have at least 15% support of national electorate

          1. Determined by 5 national public opinion polls

            1. Uses the average of most recently reported results

  3. Ballot Access

    1. Constraints on third party candidates to compete

      1. Candidates must get 2/3 million-1 million signatures collected to get on the ballot in all states

      2. Must have a lawyer who is an expert on ballot access

        1. Third party candidates spend a large portion of their money getting on the ballot

  4. Electoral system (article II section 1)

    1. Each state appoints a number of electors

      1. Equal to the number of senators and representatives

      2. No senator or representative shall be appointed

    2. Electors meet and vote by ballot for 2 persons

      1. Ballots sealed & sent to the president of the senate

        1. The person with the greatest number of votes is President

          1. Must be a majority

          2. If not a majority, the House of Representatives chooses the President

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