What is the importance of political parties in American history?how did the parties shape our country in the past as well as today

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dbello eNotes educator| Certified Educator

What becomes known as 'political parties' developed in this country during the ratification process of the United States Constitution. The men who all fought together for independence, all of a sudden found themselves 'taking sides'. There were many arguments, however among the most heated were the amount of power the 'new' federal government would have, and whether or not a specific 'Bill of Rights' would be added.  This was the birth of American politics.  What is interesting about this development is that most of the framers of the Constitution did not realize the impact their differences of opinion would ultimately have upon the new nation and its posterity. It could be argued that this evidence proves that political parties are inevitable in a free society. We are free to disagree and hopefully are still able to remain friendly or at least respectful towards one another. Unfortunately, some who serve in government today forget that politics, can get in the way of doing the 'greater good'. Healthy debate is expected in a free society, however some politicans today tend to use politics as a 'dividing factor' as opposed to that 'healthy debate'. This attitude, no matter which side you are on, will undermine one of the Unites States' best qualities, the art of compromise. Compromise and balance are crucial elements in a free and diverse society. 

alohaspirit eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Political Parties started at the start of George Washington's first term, in which he was compeltely against the institution of political parties.  But they were created in order for politicians and citizens to come together in a group to share their ideas about the government.  In a way, political parties is another type of check and balance in our government system.  The Democrats and Republicans have very different views on certain issues and how the government is run, but they have to work together in Congress.  When government has to compromise it is a check on the government and gives more freedom and power to the people.