Development of the Second Party System and the Civil War, Paper Example

Published: 2022-12-08
Development of the Second Party System and the Civil War, Paper Example
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Politics American Civil War American history
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1516 words
13 min read

Reasons for the Rise of Partisan Politics in the Early Republic

The American founding fathers had always held the belief that it was not for the best interest of the nation to form political parties. They say this formation served as a ground for people to contend with each other rather than being constructive in the development of the nation. To their opinion, they preferred people voting for individuals without interfering with any organized group. However, their wish did not last for long as due to the formation of different political parties. The rise of partisan politics was as a result of people forming an opinion on how the country should be ruled.

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On the one hand, the Hamiltonians advocate for a central government that would support the interest of business and manufacturing (Jay and Madison 2018). The followers of Thomas Jefferson, also known as the Republicans wanted a decentralized form of government where the government had partial power. The argument resulted in people forming their political parties according to their conviction of what was right.

The issue of slavery became a contending point when a question of whether slavery should be allowed in the western territories came up. Thomas Jefferson believed that the blacks were incapable of improving their mental capacity and therefore, it was better for them to remain as slaves (Washington, 2018). He used the theory of polygenesis which suggests that the black people had a different ancestry. He was primarily opposed by Benjamin Banneker who wrote back to him meaning that he should recant his ideas. Benjamin together with many Americans believed that all people are equal and they are from one flesh, having a different endowment.

People had different ideologies mainly contributed to the rise of partisan politics and some extent they did not want to reason with other groups to see how by their cooperation they could better the nation. People were tired of one political party that ruled as it wished since it had no opposers. They wanted other political parties that could challenge the government.

Development of the Second Party System

The controversy between different leaders on the rights of slave and slave traders brought about the formation of various political parties with each party having their ideas. The goal of all parties was to try and come up with the best solution for the country. The formation of these parties was due to the conflict in the Missouri debate on the issue of slavery.

The Democratic Party was of the idea that it was possible to have a solution on the issue of sectionalism as the party guaranteed the white working men of the south, west, and north that there would be massive benefits gained. He promised them that people would have the right to vote, attend a hearing and participate in the policy-making process. According to Formisano (2015), the party also made sure to unite the urban and rural workmen. During the election, many of these workmen lined up behind Andrew Jackson. The party avoided the issue of slavery at all points and concentrated in uniting the Americans with a common objective of white supremacy and a commitment to the country.

While the Democrats comprised mostly of the workmen, the Whig party consisted of people from all backgrounds. Its good organization posed a threat to the Democrats which was a disorganized party. It comprises of the farmers, affluent merchants, middle class, upper class and planters (Formisano, 2015). The characteristic of the party's stronghold resembled those of the westward migration out of New England. Due to its different features of its members, the party faced challenges of trying to unite its members. The party believed in the spirit of Protestantism and antislavery though not all members found in the idea that all men are equal and have the same origin. This, therefore, attracted a lot of people to join the party.

The introduction of the multi-party system brought with it the freedom to express one's idea and to challenge the status coup. It was due to the second party system that the slave trade came to an end as different people gave their opinions.

Movement and Events That Led to The Civil War

The pro-slavery and abolitionist emerged as a result of the Missouri compromise that enlightened the public the seriousness of the slavery debate. The stands made by these two groups pointe back to the Missouri discussion. The lawmakers wondered whether the constitutional amendment intended to expand the slavery even to places where it was not legal. The debate was so hot that issues like all people are equally brought bitterness to the opposing sides.

The abolitionists were mostly the northern dwellers who argued that slavery was a cause of economic retardation. The explanation was that slavery was suppressing poor American's wages and land which they could use to raise their living standards. The pro-slavery feared that the abolitionist argument would overtake national politics and the rising number of slaves will result in the emergence of race war (Betts, 2017). The northerners continued to free slaves which led to the slaves in the southern side migrating to northern side in search of freedom. This again fueled controversy between the two parties on the role of the government in repatriating escaping slaves from the south. The northern believed that they had the right not to return the escapee while the southern thought that there is a need for the whole nation to embrace slavery.

The expansion on the westward fueled a new debate on whether the expanded place was free of a slave. It is unfortunate that the constitution attained a little in solving these issues. Those who were against slavery quoted article vi of 1787 that prohibited slavery in north and west of Ohio to insinuate that the founders intended that slavery should be quenched and there was no other explanation of why they would ban such an action (Betts, 2017). This brought out much bitterness and misunderstanding. However, the decision of the government made it clear that they intended to have a balance between the slave states and the Free states when it ruled out that Vermont be a free state and Kentucky as a slave state.

Events That Led to the Outbreak of the Civil War

The American civil war is the most recognized of all conflicts in the nation that led to the death of hundreds of thousands of people. The effect was felt by every American starting from children who were left without a guardian as their fathers went to war and their mothers took up the role of their fathers and therefore had no time to take care of them. Specific factors fueled this war that left the nation in shatters.

The election of Abraham Lincoln as the president proved to be a threat to the southerners who advocated for slavery. They, therefore, mobilized people and declared secession. The South Carolina people voted and universally agreed to separate themselves from the united states (Boyer et al., 2015). Other countries like Florida Mississippi, Alabama and others immediately followed the same steps. However, not everyone in the south supported the confederate's nationalism. This brought separation and conflict since slaves run away from their plantation and they were the first to promote unionism.

The seceding states came together to form a new nation. They elected Alabama to be the capital city and voted Jefferson Davis as the president. Abraham Lincoln declared secession as void. Though he did not plan to attack the southern states, he did not spare anything to ensure that he maintained the ownership of federal property in the countries (Boyer et al. 2015). Fort Sumter became a point of contention where the South Carolina government commanded the United States army to evacuate. General P. G. T. Beauregard fired on the port which led to the commanding general of the U.S army to surrender. Lincoln requested for seventy-five thousand soldiers to go and stop the rebellion. This started the civil war.


To sum it up, the main reason for the civil war was slavery where the constitutional amendments and election of various persons revolved around their stand on the issue of slavery. As one side saw slavery as natural and justice, they vote for those people who had the same line of thought. Most of these people were the northern dwellers who felt that slavery was the heart of their state and any threat to it was a threat to the country. On the other hand, there were the southern dwellers who felt that slavery was evil and it was a source of economic breakdown.


Washington, H. A. (2018). The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (Vol. 7). BoD-Books on Demand.

Jay, J., Hamilton, A., & Madison, J. (2018). The Federalist papers. BoD-Books on Demand.

Formisano, R. P. (2015). The birth of mass political parties: Michigan, 1827-1861. Princeton University Press.

Betts, R. K. (Ed.). (2017). Conflict after the Cold War: arguments on causes of war and peace. Taylor & Francis.

Boyer, P. S., Clark, C. E., Halttunen, K., Kett, J. F., & Salisbury, N. (2016). The enduring vision: A history of the American people. Cengage Learning.

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