The Roles and Future of Political Parties in America Essay

The Roles and Future of Political Parties in America Essay

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When George Washington left office, he warned the nation about political parties fearing they were dangerous to the way government should function. Despite his warning, political parties developed and changed American politics forever. By definition, a political party is "a group of office holders, candidates, activists, and voters who identify with a group label and seek to elect to public office individuals who run under that label" (O'Connor and Sabato 437). The creation of political parties can be traced back to the differing views of Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton while they served in Washington's cabinet. Jefferson's Democratic-Republican counterpart today is the Democratic Party while Hamilton's Federalists are similar to today's Republican Party. Although the traditional role of political parties was extremely different during this period, such roles have changed greatly.

According to political scientist John H. Aldrich, the "factions" that surrounded Hamilton and Jefferson were "primarily governmental bodies designed to settle the dispute over how strong the fed...

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