The Presidency 37

Free course on the presidency. One paragraph per day.

2.11 Could political parties contribute to checks and balances within the government?  Martin Van Buren worried about the prospects of populist candidates driven by personal ambition and regional candidates who might split the country. His solution was to create modern, national political parties. Organized parties would substitute a well-defined party agenda backed by party resources for a candidates’ personal preferences. Their national character would bridge regional tensions.  In addition, competition between parties through regular elections would ensure that the winning party of the day would face attentive opposition.  Van Buren went on to found the Democratic Party, carved out of Democratic-Republican party, and won the presidency in 1836.

Image: Richard Nixon. U.S. Dept. of Defense.

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