What were our founding fathers’ thoughts about political parties?
From my research, it appears they were not in favor of them. I believe they were aware of how Parliament operated back in England with political parties and were against that kind of governance.
They wanted to have a government of representatives of the people for only a certain period of time, not politicians to be in office like today, for many years or even decades. They saw reasons why it was not what our new nation should be involved with.
Here are some thoughts/quotes of what they thought of political parties:
• A statement by George Washington about political parties: “It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption.”
Can we say that over our political history, he was right?
• A statement by John Adams about political parties: “There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties.”
Is it perhaps what we have today: our two major political parties with a division of the republic?
• A statement by Thomas Jefferson about political parties: “A man under the tyranny of party spirit is the greatest slave upon the earth.”
I believe that this is possibly true when a politician forgets to be a representative of the voters and becomes involved in only party politics.
John Adams said this (and perhaps it can pertain to a U.S. representative in the House of Representatives known as Liz Cheney): “Always stand on principle, even if you stand alone.”
• This next statement is not from a founding father but from a president who points out his view on perhaps his own political party. This is what President Dwight D. Eisenhower said on March 6, 1956: “If a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power.”
These statements as listed above perhaps point out what may be wrong about having political parties. In any case, it is what we have now and will continue to have in the future.
Is it possible for our political parties to behave in a way that they can stand on principles and only on principles of how we as a nation move forward to defend our democracy? If any political party or any politicians do not follow through as true representatives of the people, by the people and for the people, then our democracy is in jeopardy.
A side note: Our political parties showed themselves on May 28 on a most critical vote in the U.S. Senate in our nation’s history. The vote was a bill to create a commission on the Jan. 6 attack on our nation’s Capitol building.
Sixty votes were needed to pass with at least 10 votes coming from Republicans. The bill failed.
Perhaps we Americans can now fully understand our founding fathers’ fears and problems of political parties.
Thomas E. Carter