Today, Craig is going to dive into the history of American political parties. So throughout most of United States history our political system has been dominated by a two-party system, but the policies and the groups that support these parties have changed drastically throughout history. There have been five, arguably six, party systems since the election of John Adams in 1796 (George Washington’s presidency was an unusual case, and we’ll get to that), so we’ll look at the supporters and policies of each of the parties during these eras and look at how historical contingencies cause these policy shifts. We’ll also talk a bit about the benefit of a third party, which although rarely ever wins, helps to influence political debate.

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