EL Civics for ESL Students

Political Parties in the U.S.A.

EL Civics, History, and Government
United States Political Parties - Two Party System

Elephant and Donkey for Republicans and Democrats

Other Political Parties - Constitution Party, Green Party, and Libertarian Party


1. In 2004, about 42.6 percent of Americans were registered Democrats, 32.5 percent Republicans, and 24.8 percent independents.

2. The Republican Party is called "right" and "conservative" and the Democratic Party is called "left" and "liberal". Both parties have a strong "center".

3. The Democratic Party is represented by a donkey and the Republican Party is represented by an elephant.

4. Political factions occur within parties when there are differences of opinions over policies.

5. George Washington did not belong to a political party. He is the only president that was elected as an independent.

6. A two-party system prevents one party from gaining too much power.

7. The party that has a majority in the House of Representative or the Senate is called the "majority party" and the other party is called the "minority party".

8. The Republican Party is called the "GOP". It means Grand Old Party.

  • A political party is an organization that seeks power and influence.
  • Members of a political party share the same or similar opinions on many issues, but there may be differences.
  • Party members seek to gain public support and votes for their political candidates and issues.
  • In the United States, there are only two major political parties.
  • The two major political parties in the United States are the Democrats and the Republicans.
  • Democrats tend to favor a broader and more active role for the federal government, labor laws, and vigorous social programs.
  • Republicans tend to favor states' rights, policies that favor businesses, and private solutions to social problems.
  • The differences between the two parties are not exact and there is a lot of overlap in their policies.
  • Although the Constitution of the United States does not mention political parties, they came into being around the time the nation was formed.
  • Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton had different visions of America's future. Their differences led to the first political parties in the United States.
  • Jefferson favored a less active federal goverment, a limited presidency, and ties to France. Hamilton favored a strong federal government, a strong presidency, and ties to England.
  • The two-party political system in the United States is the result of a winner-takes-all voting system.
  • Smaller political parties include the Constitution Party, Green Party, and Libertarian Party.
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