Edmund burke, an eighteenth century British politician and political philosopher, defined a political party as "a body of men united for promoting by their joint endeavors the national interest, upon some particular principle in which they are all agreed" (Kernell and Jacobson, 429). Although there was no direct mention of political parties in the constitution, the institutional structures and procedures established by the constitution made them extremely practical and, thus, foolish to ignore. "By the early 1800s, the United States became 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" (www.allsands.com, 1). Consequently, political parties have become a permanent feature of American politics. The American party system is unusual because it is a two party system. This means that the American public is divided into only two major political groups. "The two party system has been one of the linchpins of the stability that characterizes the American political tradition" (Flavius, 1). Today, in the United States, the two major parties at the national level are the Democratic and the Republican Parties. In this paper, I will discuss the origin of the American two party system and also, the reasons for its continuance. I will give mention to both the advantages and the disadvantages of a two party system in the United States. .
Since the administration of George Washington, two parties have dominated the United States political system and it is that dominance that has sparked a series of positive and of negative outcomes. Alexander Hamilton, secretary of Treasury in George Washington's administration, promoted a set of ideas that was designed to "foster economic growth and to give propertied interests - financiers, wealthy merchants, and manufacturers - a stake in the new republic" (Kernell and Jacobson, 436).