The political landscape of the United States has been shaped by the evolution of its political party system. From the struggle for the ratification of the Federal Constitution of 1787 to the emergence of the Republican Party in the 1850s, American politics has been dominated by successive pairs of major political parties since shortly after the founding of the Republic. To understand the resilience and adaptability of American political parties, it is important to examine their colorful historical development. Initially, they were factions in the 18th century, but later became political machines in the 19th century.
In the 20th century, parties underwent waves of reforms that, according to some, began a period of decline. Today's renewed parties are service-oriented organizations that provide assistance and resources to candidates and politicians. The unintended consequence of these reforms was to diminish the influence of political parties in the electoral process and to promote candidate-centered politics. This image was reinforced by Thomas Nast's relentless campaign against them in Harper's Weekly from 1868 to 1871. Despite this, U. S.
electoral politics has been dominated by successive pairs of major political parties since shortly after the founding of the Republic. The idea that there are six major political parties in America is promoted by former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, American political theorists Lee Drutman and Carl Davidson. However, many political scientists describe the political atmosphere of the South (during this time) as if it existed in a vacuum and remained basically unchanged while Democrats in other parts of the country evolved differently. Although American politics has been dominated by a two-party system, third political parties have appeared throughout American history from time to time. However, they have rarely lasted more than a decade. Political parties emerged shortly after this and have been an important part of American politics ever since.