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In the 1850s, Democrats adopted some Whig

By 1828, supporters of Andrew Jackson had begun positions, such as support for railroads. Northern
calling themselves Democrats. They wanted small The Free Soil Party opposed the expansion of slavery The Democrats, finally split over slavery, could
into the western territories a popular issue in the and southern Democrats also agreed that slavery
government, and they opposed trade protection, In 1854, Whigs and Free-Soilers joined forces to not agree on a candidate in 1860. Northern and
wake of the Mexican War (184648). Running on the should be permitted in the western territories. As
national banks, and paper money. Supporters of create the Republican Party. Republicans opposed Southern Democrats ran separate candidates,
The Liberty Party was organized in the 1840s slogan Free Soil, Free Speech, Free Labor and Free a result, by 1856, the Democrats were nearly the
John Quincy Adams, calling themselves National the expansion of slavery and adopted a progressive and their division allowed the Republicans to
to advocate for the abolition of slavery. It had Men, they elected several men to Congress. only party in the South.
Republicans, wanted a strong central government platform, supporting railroads, the growth of cities, capture the White House.
that would support internal improvements and little success but was an important forerunner education, and homesteads for farmers.
promote commerce. to other anti-slavery efforts.
John C. Breckenridge
Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson Andrew Jackson Martin Van Buren Martin Van Buren James Polk Lewis Cass Franklin Pierce James Buchanan
SOUTHERN
Stephen Douglas DEMOCRATIC
James Monroe
DEMOCRATIC
James Bierney James Bierney
John Bell NORTHERN
William Crawford John P. Hale DEMOCRATIC
LIBERTY
CONSTITUTIONAL
Henry Clay Martin Van Buren
Willie Person Magnum FREE SOIL UNION REPUBLICAN
N AT I O N A L
REPUBLICAN WHIG
Daniel Webster John C. Fremont Abraham Lincoln
Henry Clay William Henry Harrison Henry Clay Zachary Taylor Winfield Scott
By 1820, the Federalists could no John Quincy Adams John Quincy Adams A few remaining Whigs and Know-Nothings
longer field a Presidential candidate. Hugh Lawson White ran John Bell on the Constitutional Union
James Monroe won re-election William Wirt ticket in 1860, advocating simply to keep the
without opposition, and the Era of In 1824, four men ran for President, all calling themselves Union as it was.
ANTI-MASONIC Millard Fillmore
Good Feelings began. Democratic-Republicans. Andrew Jackson won the most William Henry Harrison KNOW-NOTHING AMERICAN
votes, but no candidate won a majority of the electoral
vote. The election went to the House of Representatives, In New York and New England, opposition to By 1836, opponents of Jacksons Democrats had
which chose John Quincy Adams. Jackson organized the Anti-Masonic Party, organized into the Whig Party. They opposed what Divided over the issue of slavery, the Whig party split
The Know-Nothing Party organized in opposition to immigration, especially
which feared the role of Freemasons in they saw as Jacksons autocratic rule, and they in the 1850s. Most Northern Whigs joined the new
of Catholics. At first they worked in secret, and when asked about their
government. In 1832, they held the first supported social, economic, and moral reforms. In Republican Party, while many Southern Whigs
activities, they replied I know nothing. In the 1850s, they renamed
presidential nominating convention in the U.S. 1836, they ran four regional candidates, hoping to became Democrats. The remaining Whigs ran former
themselves the American Party, and in 1856, with the Whig Party breaking up,
split the electoral vote and throw the election to the President Millard Fillmore on a joint ticket with the
they ran Millard Fillmore for President.
House of Representatives, where the Whig majority American Party in 1856.
would pick a President. But their strategy failed.

1824 1828 1832 1836 1844 1848 1852 1856


1820 1830 1840 1850 1860

POLITICAL PARTIES IN THE UNITED STATES, 18201860


Political parties have shifted many times in 220 years of national politics. Even when parties The colored lines represent organized parties that had a significant impact on national
have kept the same names for long periods, their issues, principles, demographics, and politics, electing members of Congress or receiving more than 1% of the vote for President.
regional support all change over time. Where the lines merge and split, parties split or party affiliations changed dramatically in a
short period of time.
This chart shows the evolution of political party systems in the U.S. since 1789. Each party
system is a roughly defined time period in which two major political parties, each with fairly Presidential candidates are also listed for each party, with the winning candidate in bold:
consistent supporters and beliefs, dominated the political scene.
Candidate Winning Candidate

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