Usefulness Of Political Parties Term Paper

¶ … Republicans regained control of Congress. This election and the current political climate have brought into question the usefulness of political parties. The purpose of this discussion is to review the American political parties and to investigate whether or not the parties are useful. In addition we will discuss if American democracy could function better without political parties and review whether or not a multi-party system would be preferable to a two-party system. Let's begin with a review of the history of the two-party system. History of the two prevalent parties

Democrats

According to the official website of the Democratic National Convention the Democratic Party was founded in 1792 by Thomas Jefferson. ("Brief History of the Democratic Party") The party was originally created as a congressional caucus in an effort to get the Bill of Rights passed. ("Brief History of the Democratic Party") Thomas Jefferson was the first Democratic President of the United States elected in 1800 and served as president until 1808. The election controversy of 1824 contributed to a four-way split among Democratic-Republicans. ("Brief History of the Democratic Party")

Ultimately Andrew Jackson became the leader of the party and what became known as the "Jacksonian Democrats" produced the national convention process. ("Brief History of the Democratic Party") According to the official website of the Democratic National Committee the first National Convention was held in 1832 and in 1844 the name of the convention was changed to the Democratic Party. The Democratic National Committee, is the "longest running political organization in the world." ("Brief History of the Democratic Party")

Republicans

According to the website of the Republican National Committee the Republican Party was created in the 1850's. The founders are said to be individuals that were against slavery and that wanted the government to give land to settlers. ("Who We Are") The Republican Party is often referred to as the GOP which stands for Grand Old Party. ("Who We Are") According to the website,

The first official Republican meeting took place on July 6th, 1854 in Jackson, Michigan. The name "Republican" was chosen...

...

At the Jackson convention, the new party adopted a platform and nominated candidates for office in Michigan. ("Who We Are")
Are Political parties useful?

Political parties are useful but only in theory. In theory political parties were formed to express the ideals of a group of people and to make sure that the laws that were created reflected those ideals. In fact or in actuality political parties are only useful if they can work together to combine their ideologies and create laws that have some common ground. We don't see this happening very often instead we see gridlock and bickering amongst democrats and republicans not to mention the different factions that exist within the political parties.

Political parties are not useful in that they forget the needs of constituents. The two dominant political parties are usually guilty of forgetting the needs of constituents which is the main reason why they were elected in the first place. They are supposed to represent the people that elected them. Instead we often see politicians that make promises but are never able to make good on the promises. When this occurs political parties become useless.

Another danger is that one party can gain too much power which is something that the founding fathers feared. As I stated earlier political parties are only useful when they balance one another out. If one party has too much power the checks and balances disappear and the political system becomes a dictatorship and no longer a democracy. So then political parties are not useful as we know them because they cause gridlock and it is very difficult for lawmakers to get anything accomplished.

American Democracy without Political Parties

Some argue that American Democracy would be better off if there were no political parties. This is a belief that the founding fathers expressed when they created the constitution. According to Encarta,

The framers of the U.S. Constitution made no provision in the governmental structure for the functioning of political parties because they believed that parties were a source of corruption and an impediment…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Brief History of the Democratic Party." Democratic National Committee. http://www.democrats.org/about/history.html

Parenti, Michael. America Besieged. 1998. City Lights Books. San Francisco, California. Excerpts taken at http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Parenti/AmericaBesieged_Parenti.html

Political Parties in the United States," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2002

http://encarta.msn.com© 1997-2002 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
Who We Are." Republican National Committee. http://www.rnc.org/gopinfo/history


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