The formation of political systems in the United States of America began during the struggle over the ratification of the constitution in early 1780. Back then, George Washington was elected the first president of America without being opposed as American were in great need of change. According to Harris and Tichenor, there were no political parties at that time despite Americans having different political beliefs (1). Additionally, there were no established organizations which could advocate for certain candidates towards the gearing of any political aspirations through elections. As such, there were two political organizations that began to take shape in the first administration of George Washington. Among these leaders was Hamilton who formed the first political party of the federalists who were determined to form a government that was not dominated by a single candidate in the electoral processes. On the other hand, the president warned the Americans against factions who were perceived as groups who organized checks and balances in preventing other groups from being more influential than others. As such, there was another part of the republicans led by Jefferson who was opposed to the views of the federalists and supported the rights of the states.
The democracy of the American people was facilitated through the founding fathers of the American constitution which strongly incorporated the separation of powers (Harris and Tichenor, 8). The agenda was pushed by the Republican Party through the ratification of the federalist constitution. The constitution was drafted to incorporate restrictions for any section of government from abusing the powers accorded to them. According to the federal constitution, the government needed not have the discretion of sharing and exercising all the powers and it sought for various checks in which powers would be exercised. In obtaining an effective process that would guarantee the prevalence of democracy, there was a long and difficult process that incorporated the formulation of the bill of rights in the constitution that came into effect in 1789. However, there were contradictory opinions between the federalists who dominated the conventional framework of the constitution and the Republicans. The anti-federalists feared that the constitution would grant the government unnecessary powers over the state leading to the oppression of citizen’ rights and thus, ratification of the constitution was necessary. The process led to the amendments of the constitution stipulating various resolutions that protected citizens from possible oppression by the newly formed federal government.
In seeking democratic rights for inclusivity of all citizens in voting processes, the limitations on the bill rights did not guarantee freedom from oppression to all Americans. As such, there was fragmentation of the constitution through separation of powers under federalism aiming to minimize the exercise of supreme power by any government section (Harris and Tichenor, 7). Federalists were believed to support policies that favored the wealthy businessmen and bankers and ignored the need for democracy which they described as a rule of the mob. Additionally, there were two groups of American citizens who included the Indians and the slaves, where the bill of rights did not provide for the abolishment of slavery. The Republican Party pushed for the third amendment of the constitution where slavery was abolished in 1865. However, the constitution did not fully secure the rights of the former slaves and their descendants, especially in the south. Most of them were subjected to the racial segregation which was set up in the Southern states laws where individuals were deprived of their rights from transport, education, and other public facilities such as healthcare, libraries, and restaurants. Also, blacks were denied rights to participate in electoral processes such as voting along with being punished through the rule of the mob. However, these democratic rights were necessitated by extension of the bill of rights by the Supreme Court of the U.S protecting individuals from political manipulation, racial discrimination, and judicial scrutiny.
Various reason and incidences led to the gradual decline of the American political systems some emanating from the bargain presented by the constitution that was adopted in 1789 between the federal government and the Republican people. Unfortunately, these agreements were disrupted after the outbreak of the civil war between the two Republicans and the federalists where the Republican won in Northern states but lost in the South. On the other hand, the party gained popularity under the leadership of William Bryan who secured the presidential seat of the party in 1896 (Ackermann, 6). The movement was seen as a threat to the industrialists and financiers as it was seen to present a strong class of common man in the political scenes. Additionally, the party pledge to support the common man who included laborers and farmers and managed to convince a majority of Industrial workers who voted strongly for the Republicans. Unfortunately, there were reactions towards the populists who were accused of misrepresentations of their agenda. Both the North and the South decide to create a political machine that would work with the Democratic Party but failed to maintain the balance where only six states remained active by 1904.
Additionally, the party lost popularity and started to erode gradually at the end of the nineteenth century where the local patriotism diminished due to its inconsistency in national communication and involvement of people in the world affairs. Additionally, the party also failed to maintain economic expansion which was part of the key agendas in the nineteenth century after the economic depression in 1932. These failures attracted genuine political competitions between the Democrats and the Maine and Vermont which spread immensely deep in the South. There was a great achievement by the minority who were from the South as their existence gained parity as they were subjected to various oppressions such as racial discrimination for quite a long time (Ackermann, 32). As such, the influence of Democratic Party has significantly declined since 1930 which contributed substantially to the kind of elections which are conducted up to date. There have been difficulties in electing durable coalitions as one candidate receives tides of support leading to sectional and regional differences. In addition, there are different reactions and attitudes from congressmen and senators from the political system that provides significant differences even if public opinions don’t differ.
There has been a significant change in political systems along with political behaviors ignited by various reforms and other factors such as class, religious and ethnic groups. Within the executive branch, various reforms have affected the political systems ever since the end of the nineteenth. As such, the powers of the president have been expanded as they have the discretion to manipulate their constitutional rights to affect the internal policies. These powers have received a lot of critics as there are believed to bypass the mandates of the Congress requiring the intervention of the legislature. Additionally, the president has the power to exercise political influence towards public opinions through the use of social media, newspapers, television and radio stations along with direct communication with electorates (Ackerman, 20). The primary aim of the founding fathers of the constitution was to eliminate political systems that reflect a monarchical form of governance. Unfortunately, the idea has been weakened by the expansion of the federal bureaucracy which gives the president more power through the use of the military as opposed to any candidate in any political system.
Additionally, political systems have been weakened in their role to defend any presidential candidate in power from being impeached. As per the current reforms, it is provided for his removal by the principal officers if they fail to fulfill his official duties as well as discharging his powers effectively. According to Ackerman, the president is regarded as the head of the executive branch of government, but they don’t have the power to administer or enforce the day-to-day federal laws, a role that has been subjected to the Congress through various federal departments (21). Additionally, the amendments to the constitution by the federalists and republican were to ensure that the Senate was not affiliated to any political party. However, the Senate has become the most influential body that dominates the house from the mid-nineteenth century.
Focusing on other factors that have contributed to the declined of political systems, class seems to have a significant contribution to the cause. In the mid-nineteenth century, the voting behavior was influenced more by presentations and agendas, unlike today where Republicans are voted in by those with a high scale of income. Additionally, it is evident that both the Republicans and Democrats were not deeply divided until the time of great recession in 1930. The emergence of Franklin D. Roosevelt as the president in 1932 brought about various programs and new deals in an attempt to compensate those hurt by the recession. As such, the government formulated measures to facilitate the economic relief as well as the provision of social security a move that was strongly opposed by Republicans (Lachmann, 9). They viewed the motive as one that takes the country back to a welfare state and one that interferes with businesses. Today, these two political parties concede to a general idea and do not differ on the basis of goals but the means to achieve such goals. The approach has relatively weakened the influence of these systems as they seem to lack relevance in selling their agendas.
In conclusion, the founding fathers of the constitution were dedicated to ensuring that party systems were based on the interest of the local state and that the government should not have powers over to manipulate the functioning of any political party. Things have changed and these systems are more executive-oriented as various reforms have affected the previous objectives. Additionally, there has been a disconnection between the perception of institutions and the state of the nation along with the individuals mandated to run them. These perceptions have explained why the roles of political parties have continually declined as the current political systems lack relevance in their performance both economically and politically. Additionally, various changes such as social classes and religion have also affected the relevance of political systems in pushing for economic agendas.
Ackermann, Bruce A. The Decline and Fall of the American Republic. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2013.
Lachmann, Richard. The United States in Decline. Emerald, 2014.
Harris, Richard A., and Tichenor, Daniel, J. History of the U.S Political System:
Ideas, Interests, and Institutions. ABC-CLIO Interactive, 2010.