Political Parties


         The four major political parties of the mid-19th century were the Republicans, the Democrats, the Whigs, and the Anti-Masonic Party. This was after the Democratic Republican Party broke apart, and Federalists had faded away. Republicans were dedicated to stopping the expansion of slavery, but they defended the rights of states. They wanted to increase protective tariffs, and develop the national infrastructure. Democrats were mostly pro-slavery, and pro-expansion, but were against the National Bank. They didn't agree with protective tariffs or internal funding, and under the influence of Andrew Jackson, this party rose in popularity. The Anti-Masonic party was the first 3rd party in the United States. They introduced many election customs that we still use today, such as nomination conventions and party platforms. The anti-Masonic party's sole purpose was to oppose free masonry, which made them a single-issue party. The Whigs opposed Jackson and his beliefs. They supported the National Bank and protective tariffs. They also campaigned for federal funding for internal improvements. However, they were divided on the topic of slavery between the North and South. All four of these parties had some conflicting beliefs, and supported various presidential candidates. Different viewpoints on the morality and legality of slavery, which caused many people to switch parties between the four. All of these parties were present in the election of the mid 1800's. Their drastically different opinions helped lead to the tension and the conflict that caused the Civil War. Even though the Whigs and the Anti-Masonic party lost their support and eventually disappeared, the Republican and Democratic parties continue to be the Mose prevalent parties in the United States. The viewpoint and topics of interest might have changed since 1850, but the contradicting opinions and the relatively sharp differences between the two are still visible in the world today.

Historian's Analysis:

The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party: By Michael F. Holt

The historian's analysis displays the facts that the Whigs wanted federal funding and for the Government to help make the country a better place by building roads, school, etc.


The democrats adopted the symbol of a donkey because they wanted to look like the party for the everyday citizen, and a do key was an everyday animal. But the other parties displayed Jackson and the democrats as idiots, like donkeys.

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