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The first party system pitted the Federalists against the Democratic- Republicans. This party system ended because of the War of 1812. The Federalists were anti-war and pro-British to the extent that they talked (at the Hartford Convention) of seceding from the Union. This destroyed their viability as a party and ended the first party system.
After that, there was an "era of good feelings" in which there was really only one party. This lasted until the late 1820s when that system began to break apart and a second party system was created. This system had the Democrats contending with the Whigs. This party system came about largely because of the rise of Andrew Jackson and the people's reaction to him. The Democrats became the party of the common people while the Whigs became more of the party of business interests.
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