Over the years, America's two-party system has changed due to changes in electoral behavior and party dominance. Changes in America's two-party system can be broken up into five distinct systems. Each system came to a change due to some great issue or economic policy that greatly divided the country. With each system came rapid and fundamental changes punctuated by party realignment. .
The first party system came during the ratification of the Constitution. One side, who where called the federalists, supported a strong central government, while the other side, who where called the Democratic-Republicans, supported a weak central government and strong state governments. This conflict split the nation in two and created two distinct side of the issue. The Federalist Party soon collapse and the Democratic - Republican Party took control, due to a majority of the nation distaste for a strong central government. .
Jackson's election in 1828 marked the second party system. While political parties at the time where mainly association of the elite, the election of Jackson symbolized the rise of the non-aristocratic spirit of individualism. Jackson's image of the average man appealed to many Americans and created as shift in the party system, by giving a greater voice to the lower and middle class of America. .
The third party system came about during the American Civil War. Many issues came forth during this time, such as tariff issues, economic issues, and the issue of slavery. The country was so strongly divided, mainly between the northern states and southern states, which the two sides erupted into war. The north came out as the winner and thus enjoyed the spoils of victory. Parties again realigned, and the Northern Republicans took control of American politics. .
In the mid 1890's, the next political change hit America when the nation was locked in an economic depression. Depression hit America because of a gold shortage that caused a limitation of paper dollars to be printed.