The Founding Fathers Tried to Warn Us About the Threat From a Two-Party System


Polls show that a majority of Americans say that both the Republicans and Democrats are doing such a poor job representing the people that a new, third party is needed.

I’ve repeatedly warned that there is a scripted, psuedo-war between Dems and Repubs, liberals and conservatives which is in reality a false divide-and-conquer dog-and-pony show created by the powers that be to keep the American people divided and distracted. See this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this and this.

In fact, the Founding Fathers warned us about the threat from a two party system.

John Adams said:

There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.

George Washington agreed, saying in his farewell presidential speech:

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind, (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight,) the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

There is an opinion, that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the Government, and serve to keep alive the spirit of Liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in Governments of a Monarchical cast, Patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in Governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And, there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be, by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.

Category: Politics, Think Tank

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8 Responses to “Founding Fathers: Beware Two Party System”

  1. DollarMonopoly says:

    Another party would be nice but the root of our economic problems are operational not political. Well-intended policymakers are only as good as their economic advisers. The mainstream economic profession is utterly clueless. How do they not know the objective is never to balance a currency issuer’s budget. The objective is always to optimize the budget. Fiscal optimization at any level of public spending by a currency issuer requires balancing tax revenues with spending while running deficits at a rate corresponding to users saving rate. Government debt of a currency issuer is the currency user’s savings as a matter of double entry accounting. It is a digital resource – a digital account corresponding to all the savings of currency users’ in banknotes, deposits, and treasuries. For those of you interested I’ve outlined a laymen’s explanation here – Mainstream economists are using the wrong models, drawing the wrong conclusions, and giving the wrong advice because they misunderstand monetary operations.

  2. scottinnj says:

    Not to be too cynical but we had effectively a one party system – with factions – in the US until the Second Party System in 1828. If you were Adams why wouldn’t you want to have a system that enabled you to run unopposed? That was never to be, but let’s also acknowledge that he was, as we say today, ‘talking his book’.

  3. BusSchDean says:

    How about the Integrity Party! Could we get anyone to join?

  4. jrs-satx says:

    Isn’t what they’re addressing the idea of party itself and the tendency toward lock-step affiliation over independent thought? The Integrity Party, while initially united around a laudable premise, would devolve into just another holier-than-though. To paraphrase, “Party corrupts and absolute party corrupts absolutely.”

  5. jrs-satx says:

    Sorry for the typographical nonsense: The Integrity Party, while initially united around a laudable premise, would devolve into just another holier-than-thou club bent on imposing its own version of morality and silencing or excluding those who don’t toe the line (at least in their minds). At least you can now consider the subject in its complete sentence form.

  6. BusSchDean says:

    On the plus side the press would be all over every statement, testing for integrity. They definitely do not do that now.

  7. ravenchris says:

    Protect yourself and the future, do not reelect incumbents.

  8. duaneteddy says:

    I’d love to see more political parties with some intelligent,fresh ideas to get us out of this mess. But I don’t think its practical now. What we need now is some good candidates from the 2 parties we have now. I’d give them a written test based on the attributes of great presidents and post the scores.Now the only test is their speech-making skill. Skill at community organizing is not what makes great Presidents, as we sadly learned.