Political Polarization

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In the conception of the United States, polarization was the unwanted child that has grown to increase the difficulty for the government to compromise thus, making it necessary to look for solutions that can decrease polarization or its impact. Political polarization refers to the defined opposite ideologies between liberal and conservative views leading to different stances on a given issue, policy, or political candidate. In recent decades, polarization has occurred among the elites and the mass public; however, the elites, or the Congress, are more polarized than the mass public. This is because a large group of the mass public identifies as moderate or as neither conservative nor liberal (Persily 6, 2015). Softening the impact of polarization…show more content…
The 1790s saw the birth of Jefferson’s and Madison’s new coalition, the Democratic-Republican party, which opposed the Federalists. In here, we began to see that the parties stand for two opposite options: to have strong government over states or support states’ rights over the national government, to support national banks or not, low or high tariffs, and to make the national government pay for state debts or make states pay their own debt (Layman et al. 85, 2006). These were just some of the issues that led to the polarization of the two parties. After this period of time, the Federalists began to lose power and the Democratic-Republican party split into the Jacksonian Democrats and the Whig party (Citrin 2015). This event demonstrated that the two-party system had become dominant enough that there was no room for a third party and thus, the conflict became between the Whig party and the Jacksonian Democrats. The Whigs advocated for the primacy of Congress over the executive branch, while the Jacksonian Democrats favored the primacy of the executive branch over the other branches in addition to differences over slavery and protection of industry. Consequently, strong party organizations in mass and conventions emerged. This battle led to the collapse of the Whig party and the formation of the Republican party, a party that attracted newly freed African Americans due to its anti-slavery position (Layman et al. 85, 2006). Thus, most southerners saw the Democratic Party as an alternative option. This demonstrated that a single issue could become important enough as to split the masses. By 1872, Republicans were the dominant party. With this change, the spoil system, material benefits, and party ballots began to be increasingly used to encourage unity and centralization of the government. After the Civil War,

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