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

  • 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. ...

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  • 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?