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The American two Party Political System Since the administration of George Washington two political parties have dominated the United States political system but they have not always been the same two parties The first two parties were the Federalists and Anti-Federalists Federalists were those who supported a strong federal government and the Anti-Federalists were those who did not The leaders of the Federalists were Alexander Hamilton and John Adams Both were from the Northeast where the Federalist line of thinking was strongest Thomas Jefferson became the leader of the Anti-Federalists These two groups really did not considered themselves parties The founders feared parties because they thought of them as factions They were self centered and driven by ambition to forward their own self-interests Thomas Jefferson organized his Anti-Federalist followers and they became known as the Jeffersonian Republicans This organization of the Federalist opposition in the election of 1800 is what is known as the Revolution of 1800 The Federalists feared the Jeffersonians were out to undermine the government while Jeffersons party felt the same about the Federalists By the time Jefferson was elected to the presidency in 1800 his party was called Democratic Republican The Federalist Party disappeared as a political force by the 1820 election mostly because of its opposition to the War of 1812 The fall of the Federalist Party left the country with only one major party but only for a short time During the 1820s Democratic Republicans began to split into two parts The conservatives of the party favored a strong nationalism a protective tariff and a national bank They called themselves National Republicans The others stood for states rights tariff for revenue only and an independent treasury They took the name Democratic and elected its leader Andrew Jackson to the Presidency in 1828 and 1832 The party of Jackson is todays Democratic Party By the election of 1836 the National Republicans and other anti-Jacksonians had merged to
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