U. S. Government: Democracy In Action

Chapter 16: Political Parties

Student Web Activity

"The Rise of Party Politics"

In this chapter you have learned about the role of political parties in United States politics, the organization and function of political parties, and the four methods of nominating candidates to political office. In this activity, you will take a closer look at the rise of the party system and how it has impacted United States politics.

Destination Title: Elections . . . the American Way

Note: Clicking on the link above will launch a new browser window.
Need help using your browser for this activity? Click here for tips.

Start at the Library of Congress's Web page on elections in the United States.

  • Click on Party System.
  • Scroll down the page, reading the material as you go. When you reach the bottom of a screen, click on the Next Page icon. There are three pages in this presentation.
  • Explore all three pages, taking notes as you go.

After you have read through the information, answer the following questions.

Generally speaking, what causes political parties to form?
What were the first two political parties in United States politics, and why were they formed?
What was the first "third party" formed in the United States? What contribution to politics did it make?
On the third and final screen, play the "American Political Parties Past" game to test your knowledge of past parties. Write down the name and description of any party you did not guess correctly on the first try.
Imagine that you are forming a new political party. Think about an issue that is important to you, perhaps one that existing parties do not adequately represent. Consider what your party's name and platform would be. What would your party seek to accomplish? On a separate sheet of paper, write a one-minute speech in which you try to convince people to join your party.
US Government: Democracy In Action
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