I’m going to make mention of political parties now due to the fact that they they formed nearly as soon as Washington became president and actually began changing very quickly. They also started creating controversy. George Washington warned the young country
“However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”
The first two political parties in the United States were the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans. Although these two had some similarities to the present day political parties in this country there are quite a lot of differences. Later on we will talk about the parties and how they’ve changed over time, but for now I’m more interested in the terms ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’. Those were terms that were already being used in Washington’s day to describe political attitudes and positions. Jefferson, who led the Democratic-Republicans, was often called liberal, but he wasn’t always what we would think of as liberal. Alexander Hamilton, who led the Federalists, was usually called a conservative although he wasn’t all the time.
Take a look at this list of political and social issues. Read the top intro sections and then scroll through the issues that are presented. Pick four or five of them and read both sides. Decide if you are liberal or conservative on that issue…or are you somewhere in the middle. Briefly explain your reasons for each choice in one or two sentences.
You can write the answers to these questions out by hand or type them and email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Also Worth Looking At
This Guy is really cynical, but he makes the argument that the present day parties really aren’t that different at least in terms of how they use money. Is he right?