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Pro-con introduction: Two-party system rooted in U.S. history

By Sonny Long
Nov. 6, 2011 at 5:06 a.m.


Three's A Crowd

More than two dozen third political parties have tried to crack America's two-party system in presidential elections. The most successful third-party candidate was George Wallace in 1968, who received more than 9 million votes as the American Independent Party candidate. He earned 46 electoral votes. Strom Thurmond, running on the State's Rights ticket, got more than a million votes and 39 electoral votes in 1948. Ralph Nader and the Green Party received more than 2 million votes in 2000.

Some of the political third parties in U.S. history that have appeared on the ballot for president:

Federalist Party

Anti-Federalist Party

Whig Party

Constitutional Union Party

Constitution Party

Green Party

Libertarian Party

Reform Party

Taxpayers Party

Populist Party

New Alliance Party

Citizens Party

American Independent Party

American Party

State's Rights Party

Socialist Party

Progressive Party

Farmer-Labor Party

Prohibition Party

Union Labor Party

Greenback Party

Liberal Republican Party

Southern Democrat

Constitutional Union Party

Whig-American Party

Free Soil Party

Anti-Masonic Party

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America has had two major political parties for much of its history.

Thomas Jefferson founded the Democratic Party in 1792 as a congressional caucus to fight for the Bill of Rights and against the elitist Federalist Party.

In 1854, the Republican Party formally organized itself by holding its first convention and adopting a platform.

From the beginning, several third parties have tried to crack the two-party system without success.

Does the two-party system continue to serve the U.S. well,or is it time for a change?

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