2008 Student Research Conference:
21st Annual Student Research Conference

The Origins of the American Party System
Courtney M. Harrel
Dr. Thomas Zoumaras, Faculty Mentor

George Washington's election into office after the ratification of the Constitution would bring more than the first republican administration; it would also bring political parties. Washington believed factions and parties were unnecessary. It would appear, from pieces like the Federalist Papers that the nation's leaders were equally against them. However, as Washington's term(s) wore on, it became increasing clear that the nation's leaders did not have a problem with public political division. Despite claims of avoiding political parties, and the emphasis Washington placed on brotherly cooperation and the threat parties held, they were still created. This paper will look at how political parties were not created for, by, or of the people, but rather because of the growing personal differences among the members of Washington's cabinet. While not un-chartered territory, reevaluating the origin of political parties would be beneficial in light of the upcoming election and today's obvious political partisanship.

Keywords: George Washington, political party, cabinet, politics, United States


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 7-1
Location: OP 2111
Time: 8:15

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