Federalists and Democratic Republicans

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To what extent did political parties contribute to the development of national unity in the United States between 1790 and 1840?

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Political parties contributed to the development of national unity in the United States between 1790 and 1840 mainly through what is known as the principle of legitimate opposition. After the American Revolution, the Constitutional democracy set up by the founding fathers had no precedent in historical governments. The people began to have a powerful voice in designating government authority, and political parties allowed people with fervent political principles to align themselves with likeminded individuals in opposition to others with differing viewpoints. Although the text of the Constitution did not specifically mention political parties, they grew rapidly out of the differences of opinion of the men in the process of forming the new government.

Not all of the founding fathers were in favor of political parties. George Washington, for instance, was vehemently opposed to them. He was concerned that the factionalism that they created would pose a significant threat to the unity of...

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