When discussing the history of the two major political parties and their ideologies, most people have a tendency to get very confused and with good reason.
Both major parties of today have their origins in the early 1790s, coming out of disputes in George Washington’s Cabinet between Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton. Jefferson opposed Hamilton’s entire fiscal program, arguing for a limited federal government and a strict interpretation of the Constitution. Hamilton wanted the new government to expand beyond its constitutional powers, the Constitution becoming what he hoped would be a “fail and worthless fabric.”
Though the Founders yearned for a nation without parties, or factions, as they called them, inevitably they did form. One was the Federalist Party, founded by Hamilton, which lasted from 1792 to 1816, the last year it ran a candidate for President, having succumbed to the might of Jefferson as well as its opposition to the War of 1812. The other was Jefferson’s Republican Party (sometimes referred to as the Democratic-Republicans), lasting from 1792 to 1824. The two parties in existence today can be traced to these two original organizations. Continue reading