Political Party History

American Political Parties

American Political Parties

Although the two-party system that defines American government may seem solid and unquestionable, American political parties and their platforms have changed considerably throughout history. Even in this era of polarized opinions, there are nuances and details regarding U.S. political parties that are often overlooked. This American Political Parties Web Guide explores the historical and contemporary distinctions among Democrats, Republicans and other political parties of the past and present.

Political Party History

This section provides background information on American government, illustrating how the current system evolved from America’s early political beliefs and the parties that espoused them. The sites below highlight important political documents, trends and ideologies that have defined American political parties since the 18th century.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • This guide recommends sections from the official Democrat and Republican Web sites as sources for historical information. As you visit those sites, keep in mind that they will offer a positively biased look at their party’s history.
  • An article on America.gov (the State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs Web site), “U.S. Political Parties Enjoy Rich History,” explores the development of the two major American political parties and how they affect government today. It is a basic overview of the development of our current system and is worth looking at to see how the U.S. Government defines its parties without bias.
  • Although in contemporary politics “Left” indicates liberal principles, while “Right” defines conservative political ideals, the Democratic and Republican parties have not always been directly associated with the “Left” and “Right,” respectively. In fact, the tendencies of each party have shifted at various times. For example, Republicans at the end of the Civil War were more socially liberal than Democrats, whereas today, the opposite is generally true.

Dulcinea's Picks

For educational resources on the history of American politics…
For historical documents that illustrate political trends…
For the history of the Democratic Party…
For a history of the Republican Party…
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Political Parties Today

Below you’ll find links to official Web sites for the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, ... read more »

Political News

This section of the guide plugs you into the events and issues that define today’s political ... read more »

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