When the U.S. Constitution was signed in 1787, political parties did not figure into the authors' visions of the governmental order. The only thing mention made of anything related to a divided groups were indicated through constitutional arrangements such as separation of powers, checks and balances, and indirect election of the President by an electoral college. In spite of this, by the early 1800's, the United States had become the first nation to institute nationally organized parties, and was also the first to transport executive power from one faction to another by means of an election.
By the 1830s political parties were a firmly established part of the political system. After the first documented direct primary, the method of choosing party candidates for office by popular vote was held by the Democratic Party in Crawford County, Pennsylvania in 1842. Most primaries through the end of the 19th Century were very localized.
Since the time of the first direct primary, opposing political parties have been considered to be at the heart of a true democratic society. After all, political parties are responsible for the nomination of candidates for government offices; the introduction of new policies designed to assist in solving the nation's problems the educating of voters through the sponsoring of public debates.
Currently the Republican and Democratic parties almost completely dominate the presidency, Congress, governorships, and state legislatures. Minor parties have existed throughout American history and have occasionally contested for national office, but the two major parties have been the only serious contenders. Consequently the only way most candidates have a way at winning an election is to join forces with a major party.
Many Americans also complain that divided government is the reason behind the messed up campaigns and political scandals that have pervaded American politics throughout history. Though...