The case against the two party system

Should America have a two party system?

In theory America has a two party system. Many Americans find it hard to imagine anything else. But a two party system is not what the founders envisioned and in fact they warned against it. 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“. (Letter to Jonathan Jackson (2 October 1780), “The Works of John Adams”, vol 9, p. 511

In his farewell address George Washington stated, “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“. Read George Washington’s entire farewell address here.