Two Party System


Federalists and antifederalists party

1789 - 1799

The first "parties" were the Federalists and Anti-Federalists. These were not unified parties but they were the foundations of the current parties

First Party Convention

1831 - 1832

Caucuses were replaced with party conventions in 1831 which was held by the Anti-Masonic Party. The first convention of major politics was by Anti-Jackson Republicans

Shift from Whigs to Republicans

1860 - 1861

The Whig Party collapsed and the Republicans under Lincoln came to power

After Civil War

1865 - 1867

After the Civil War those supporting the union were Republican and the confederacy were Democrats

Formation of Independent Parties

1880 - 1890

1880s-1890s formation of independent parties, such as Populists and Greenbackers because of economic instability. These parties were not particularly strong and and Democrats adopted populist views and the Democrats overtook the independent parties.

New Party Divide

1896 - 1897

In 1896 the separation of parties became more east west instead of north south with Republicans favoring industry and Democrats were small town farmers for low taxes

First Direct Primary

1910 - 1911

In California in 1910-1911 progressives and Governor Hiram Johnson were able to institute the direct primary -- citizens could use referendum voting to vote in legislature directly

Shift of Dem. support from Farm to City

1930 - 1940

There was a large shift from rural parties to more urban support of democrats in the 1930’s

Party Conventions Change

1960 - 1975

In the 1960’s and 1970’s conventions of of both parties have changed. Delegates that were selected by party leaders are now chosen by primary elections and grassroots caucuses.

The South Becomes Republican

1972 - Approx. 1973

The South (from ‘72) has been more Republican and there has been an increase in Independent Parties

Political realignments

1980 - 1981

Political realignments happens sometimes because of issues that go across party lines and replace current issues - election of President Reagan was partially because people didn’t like Carter and his policies.

Split Tickets

1988 - 1989

Split tickets were effective in 1988 when half of all House Democrats were elected by districts that had also voted for Republican President George Bush