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In spite of the deliberate effort to keep political parties out, the United States was the first nation to have formally recognized political parties as far back as in 1800. These political parties gained executive powers through elections, and in thirty years political parties were an indispensable part of the American political system.
A political party has been defined as “an autonomous group of citizens having the purpose of making nominations and contesting elections in hope of gaining control over governmental power through the capture of public offices and the organization of the government” (Hukshorn, 1984).
Presently, there are two main political parties in the United States -- the Republican and Democratic parties. All elected representatives, whether they be president, congressional representative, state governor or state legislator have to members of either of these two parties.
There is no denying the fact that the two-party system in the United States has emerged as a result or reflection of the desire of the electorate that is the people. In other nations of the world which have a two-party system, each party represents conflicting ideological perspectives. In the United States, however, the two parties have tended not to adhere strictly to any one ideology or policy objectives. “Generally, Republicans have tended to support limiting federal powers and protecting the authority of state and local governments, to take a conservative approach to taxation and spending, and to oppose government interference with free enterprise. In contrast, Democrats have tended to take a more expansive view of the powers of the federal government, to support raising and spending money to address social ills on a national basis, and to favour federal regulation as a tool to improve business practices” (Bibby, 2004).
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