The History of Political Parties

Contributor: Meghan Vestal. Lesson ID: 11000

Why are they called political parties when they always seem angry? What are Democratic-Republicans? Find out here!


United States, United States

learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Lion, Beaver
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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  • Did you know the Founding Fathers strongly opposed political parties?

Yet, it seems political parties existed as early as 1787.

  • If the founding fathers were so opposed to political parties, how have they become such a large part of the U.S. government today?

After the Revolutionary War ended and the government of the United States was established, the Founding Fathers were wary of political parties. They feared factions within the people and government could create problems.

Flash forward 200 years, and political parties now define how the American government operates.

Watch the video below to learn about the history of political parties and the types of political parties that exist today.

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When you finish watching the video, answer these questions in your notebook.

  • When and why did political parties begin?
  • What are the two major political parties that exist in the United States today?
  • What are the main differences between the two major political parties in the United States?
  • What is a third party?
  • Why do third parties exist?

Next, read about Political Parties for additional information about the history of political parties and those that exist today. Use the information to answer any of the questions above that you struggled to answer based on the video.

Then, review your answers with the facts below.

Political parties began in 1787 with Alexander Hamilton and his supporters, who wanted to push their favored policies. From there, more political parties began to emerge. Over the years, political parties and the policies they favor have changed.

There are two main political parties in the United States today: Democrats and Republicans.

Today, Democrats tend to favor a strong central government, while the Republicans favor a more limited federal government and giving more rights to the individual states.

A third party is a political party that is not one of the two major political parties.

Third parties typically are not large enough to have their candidates win elections, but they effectively get their agenda heard. Examples of third parties in the United States today include the Tea Party and the Green Party.

Keep going in the Got It? section.

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