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Political Party System


CONSTITUTIONAL DIFFERENCES

(PRE-PARTY SYSTEM)

FEDERALIST MOVEMENT

Proponents: Madison, Hamilton, John Jay, represented the upper class, bankers, rich, large-property owners.

Beliefs:

  • First formed to promote and adopt the proposed Constitution.

  • Believed that the new Constitution,

  • Would ensure the protection of minorities against the majority.

  • Would prevent govt. tyranny through checks and balances

  • Protected individuals by

  • prohibiting ex post facto laws (laws levied after a crime was committed.)

  • prohibiting bill of attainder laws (laws finding a person or group guilty without trial)

  • guaranteeing the writ of habeas corpus (proceeding to determine whether a person has been imprisoned legally or not).

History:

  • Federalists wrote series of articles, Federalist Papers, signed by pseudonym Publius

ANTI-FEDERALISTS

Proponents:

  • Led by newly emerging middle class, represented farmers and common people

  • George Mason and Richard Henry Lee were main spokesmen.

Beliefs:

  • They rejected the elitist base represented by the Federalists.

  • In rival publication to the Federalist Papers

  • Pennsylvania Packet And Letters from the Federal Farmer

  • And through individual essays penned under the name of Brutus

  • Argued that the principles of the Declaration of Independence would be eroded by the new Constitution

  • Felt that the constitution would firmly establish an economic elite and would create the potential for an abusive federal government

  • Especially in the area of protecting individual rights

  • Anti-Federalists insisted that Bill of Rights had to be part of the new Constitution

  • Otherwise, a powerful presjdent supported by the Congress could easily abuse the civil liberties of the individual

  • Additionally, the sovereignty of the states became a concern

  • Even with the guarantees provided

History:

  • Argument most heated in NY

  • The Anti-Federalists prevented the approval of the Constitution

  • Until Madison and Hamilton guaranteed first Congress would approve a Bill of Rights

FIRST PARTY SYSTEM (1792-1824)

FEDERALIST PARTY (1790s to 1816)

Proponents:

  • Hamilton, John Adams (only Federalist pres), John Quincy Adams, John Marshall

  • Washington was non-partisan but sympathetic to Federalist program

  • Associated with aristocracy, industry

  • Supporters in northeast

Beliefs

  • Strong central govt. (weaker states)

  • Encouraged development of industry

  • Favored the creation of a national bank.

  • Implied powers (loose construction, “necessary and proper” elastic clause)

  • Favored alliance with GB (Jay’s Treaty)

History

  • Was first political party

  • Dominant until 1800 (election of Jefferson)

  • Hurt during War of 1812 Hartford Convention

  • Largely disappeared in the Era of Good Feelings, proponents joined the Whig Party

DEMOCRATIC-REPUBLICANS (aka “Republican Party”) (1794-1826)

Proponents:

  • Jefferson and Madison

  • Promoted interests of farmers, masses

  • Rural south was stronghold.

Beliefs

  • Weak central govt. (strong states)

  • Encouraged agriculture

  • Against national bank

  • Strict interpretation of constitution.

  • Favored alliance with France

History

  • In power 1800 with Jefferson

  • After War of 1812, it was the only party (Era of Good Feelings)

  • After election 1824 (corrupt bargain)

  • Factions in support of J.Q. Adams (ex =Federalists) evolved into national Republican Party

  • Jacksonians became Democratic Party

ERA OF GOOD FEELINGS (1817-1825)

Era

  • Federalist party had lost its popularity

  • Hartford Convention (New England Federalists were against popular War of 1812)

  • Jackson winning Battle of New Orleans = patriotism

  • Without Federalists there was only one party: Democrat-Republican

  • James Monroe (President during Era of Good Feelings) strove to downplay partisan affiliation.

SECOND PARTY SYSTEM (1828-1854)

NATIONAL REPUBLICANS (1825-1833)


Proponents

  • John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay

  • Many former Federalists

Beliefs

  • Formed against Jackson (anti-Jackson party)

  • In favor of American System

  • Bank, Internal Improvements, Tariffs

  • Manufacturing, modernization

History

  • Began to form after election of 1824

  • When JQ Adams won against Jackson with help from Henry Clay ("Corrupt Bargain" according to Jackson)

  • Became "Whigs" in 1833

WHIGS (1833-1854)

Proponents

  • Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Winfield Scott

  • Anti-Jacksonians

Beliefs

  • Same as National Republicans

  • In favor of the bank, high tariffs, federal funding for internal improvement (American System)

  • Supremacy of Congress over the Presidency (“King Andrew”)

  • Favored modernization and economic protection.

History

  • Named after Americans Whigs of 1776 who fought for independence – was a label for those who opposed tyranny

  • Emerged 1833-34 after Henry Clay’s defeat as coalition of National Republicans

  • Formed in opposition to Jackson and his Democratic Party

  • Deep fissures arose in party over slavery

  • Couldn’t survive sectionalism from Kansas-Nebraska Act.

  • Some joined other parties, others (like Lincoln) or quit politics temporarily

Decline

  • The Whig Party began to decline after the election of 1852.

  • Whigs nominated General Winfield Scott who lost badly to Democrat Franklin Pierce

  • Death of Henry Clay (one of the founders of the Whig Party) and Daniel Webster split the party along pro and anti-slavery lines.

Split

  • The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 finished off the Whig Party.

  • Because slavery issue turned northern Whigs into strong abolitionists.

  • Northern Ex-Whigs

  • Some to Know-Nothings

  • Others to Free Soil Democrats

  • In 1854, most northern Whigs joined Free-Soilers, anti-Nebraska Democrats and abolitionists to form a new Republican Party

  • Southern Ex-Whigs

  • Went to Know-Nothings (American Party)

  • Then Democratic Party

  • Or dropped out

DEMOCRATIC PARTY (1832-1854)

Proponents:

  • Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, James Polk, Stephen Douglas

  • For farmers across country, urban workers and new immigrants, all championed the "common man"

Beliefs

  • Advocated western expansion (Manifest Destiny)

  • And equality among all white men

  • Opposed national bank

History

  • 1896 Democratic Party split between Bourbon Democrats (eastern business interests) and agrarian (poor farmers in South and West who favored “free silver”/inflation in 1896.

  • Nominated William Jennings Bryan in 1896

THIRD PARTY SYSTEM (1854-1890s)

REPUBLICAN PARTY (1854-1932)

Proponents:

  • Purely sectional party (north only)

  • Abraham Lincoln, Horace Greeley, Salmon Chase, Charles Sumner

  • Northern white Protestants, businessmen, small business owners, professionals, factory workers, farmers and African-Americans

  • Coalition of disgruntled northern Whigs, northern Democrats, free-soilers and Know Nothings

  • All members opposed expansion of slavery​

Beliefs

  • Against the expansion of slavery (not necessarily abolition)

  • ​Because it drove down wages of free workers

  • And degraded the dignity of manual labor. ​

  • Wanted a society of independent farmers, artisans ("free labor")

  • Supported middle class values: domesticity and respectability, religious commitment, capitalist enterprise.

  • Pro-business, supported banks, gold standard

  • Railroads and high tariffs to protect industry

  • Homestead Act (free land to families who settled in west)

  • Liberal immigration policy to keep cost of labor down.

History

  • Emerged 1854 to combat Kansas-Nebraska Act which threatened to extend slavery into the territories

  • Affected by “bleeding Kansas,” and “Caning of Charles Sumner”

  • Name coined by Horace Greeley

  • Almost no presence in the South.

  • First presidential candidate was John C. Fremont in 1856 (who lost to Buchanan)

  • Lincoln won in 1860


MINOR PARTIES

Anti-Masonic Party (1827-1852)

  • Creation:

  • Anti-Masonic Party was created in 1826 after a bricklayer mysteriously went missing after he had broken his vow of secrecy as a Freemason

  • Main purpose:

  • Opposed the Order of the Masons

  • They wanted to break the power of what they considered an aristocratic conspiracy.

  • Candidate:

  • They nominated William Wirt for president in 1832.

  • Decline:

  • Anti-Masonic Party declined by the late 1830s as slavery issues became more important.

  • Most of the members joined the Whig Party.

Liberty Party (1840-48) (some offshoots 1850s and 60s)

  • Creation:

  • Created by abolitionist who broke away from American Anti-Slavery Society

  • Believed Constitution was an anti-slavery document

  • William Lloyd Garrison said constitution should be condemned as an evil pro-slavery document and abolitionists should NOT fight politically.

  • First national convention took place in Albany, NY in 1840.

  • Main purpose:

  • Party was created by abolitionists who hoped to use political action to end slavery

  • Candidate:

  • Liberty Party elected James Birney (a former slave owner from Kentucky) to run against Van Buren and Harrison in 1840 (.3% of vote) and against Clay and Polk in 1844 (2.3% of the popular vote).

  • Decline:

  • 62,000 votes in 1844

  • Party dissolved in 1848 after their nominee, John P. Hale, withdrew from the race.

  • Many members joined "Barnburner" Democrats and "Conscience" Whigs in former the Free-Soil Party.

Free-soil Party (1848-1854)

  • Creation:

  • They were disappointed with the ambivalent position of the Whig Party toward slavery.

  • Created by anti-slavery members of the "Conscience" Whig Party and antislavery faction of Democrats known as the "barnburners."

  • "Conscience Whigs held a convention in August in Buffalo, NY.

  • Joined by members of Liberal Party

  • Main Purpose:

  • Wanted "free soil, free speech, free labor and free men"

  • Oppose expansion of slavery into western territories (agreeing with Wilmot Proviso)

  • Against growth of slave power (power of slave owners) in the national government.

  • Membership:

  • Attracted small farmers, debtors, village merchants -- people who resented black-labor competition.

  • Nominee:

  • In 1848 they nominated ex-president Martin Van Buren who won 10% of popular vote

  • Weakened Democratic candidate and contributed to election of Whig Zachary Taylor .

  • Still had power in the House of Representatives.

  • Decline:

  • Party membership was largely absorbed by the Republican Party in 1854

Know-Nothing Party aka American Party (1850)

  • Creation

  • Had origins in anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic movement of the 1840s (when Irish and German immigration was high).

  • In 1850 these nativist societies banded together as the Order of the Star Spangled Banner

  • 1851, created the American Party.

  • Name

  • When questioned, the party's secrecy-conscious members often replied "I know nothing"

  • Main purpose

  • Nativists who were against immigrants - especially Irish Catholics

  • Also opposed slavery on racist grounds, opposed expansion of slavery

  • ​Mobilize native-born Protestants against the "alien menage of Irish and German Catholics

  • prohibited further immigration

  • and instituted literacy tests for voting.

  • Vote

  • ​In 1854 voters elected dozens of American Party candidates to the HOR

  • and gave the party control to the state governments of Mass and Penn.

Constitutional Union Party


  • Creation

  • Created in 1860 against Republicans and Democrats

  • Organized by John J. Crittenden

  • Name

  • They were committed to the Constitution and the Union of the states

  • Members

  • Former Whigs, Know Nothings and some Southern Democrats

  • Main purpose

  • Party was created by people who didn't want to secede because of slavery

  • The members didn't take a stand for or against slavery

  • After the election, they tried to prevent civil war through the Crittenden Compromise

  • They helped organize the split of West Virginia at the Wheeling Convention

  • Nominee

  • 1860- John Bell from Tennessee

  • Won Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee


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