U.S. History

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Early American Political Party Development

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Political parties are a very large part of modern politics in the United States. It is hard to imagine US politics, or even how government would function in the US, without political parties. Yet, the Constitution does not mention political parties. In fact, the first two political parties in the US emerged over disputes concerning the ratification of the Constitution. These became known as the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists, or the Democratic-Republicans. The Federalists wanted a strong federal government; the Democratic-Republicans (Anti-Federalists) wanted a weak federal government. Since this early dispute, a great number of other disputes have resulted in the emergence of an equally great number of political parties that have sought to participate in government. Review the sources in the media gallery to learn about the early history of politics and political parties in the United States. Pay close attention to what these images and descriptions say about this early political disputes and parties. These images will help you complete the worksheet in the Support Materials.