Why did the first political parties arise? Who were their leaders and how did their ideas differ?

Essay by KIMBERLY2561University, Bachelor's June 2004

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Political parties play an important role in the development of our government. The Framers of the Constitution did not include any information relating to political groups, with fear that political groups would encourage controversy and disagreement. Various issues soon arose and political parties began to emerge. The development of these political parties in the new nation of the United States became inevitable as many different philosophies of important leaders surfaced.

        On one side of the political party was Alexander Hamilton, who led a group known as the Federalist. The Federalists were a group who were willing to stretch the Constitution by interpretation. They supported a strong government, and were made up of mostly an elite class. Hamilton became the spokesperson for this elite group - which consisted mainly of bankers, traders, and manufactures. He believed in a strong nation with a profitable economy based on trade and agriculture. According to him, the major flaw of the U.S.

Constitution was the inability to raise money. He also thought that only the wealthy and educated individuals should have a say in government. He felt the lower class society was foolish, uneducated, and incapable of making decisions affecting the government.

        The opposing party, known as the republicans, which was led by Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson fought for the rights of the simple man, many of his followers were farmers, laborers, and slave owners. He favored a weak central government and strong state governments. He felt that if the farmers were educated, they would be able to act for the good of society.

Jefferson's goal was a nation that could work together in harmony, both the simple farmer and the elite businessmen.

        As shown above, these two political parties had drastically different views on how the government should be run. Their different ideologies are apparent...