For many years in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, American politics was a battle between the Federalist Party and the Democratic-Republican party. With the Federalist Party’s attempts to enact legislation as big government and ostensibly establish a monarchy as many American citizens feared, the Democratic-Republican party found a common enemy and significant competition. However, after the war of 1812, the Federalist Party all but died out, leaving the Democratic-Republican party as the only political party in the nation.
With the growing democratization in America, it was Martin Van Buren who stepped up to change the political climate in the country and establish a new party, separate from the Democratic-Republican party. Van Buren noticed that the key to a successful democracy was to stop listening to the voices of the few – rich, powerful players in the political and economic arenas – and instead, embrace the voices of the masses. Previous politicians, including the founding fathers, had never bothered to actually include the voice of the ‘common man’ when drafting legislation or enacting laws. But Van Buren was determined to put an end to the good-buddy type of lawmaking that had always been put forth.
Using the newspapers as tools of propaganda, Van Buren carefully scripted an introduction to the new party system for citizens to be educated and convinced to support it. With the help of these publications, Van Buren was able to establish a lasting alliance between a wide range of diverse groups of people in the American public. No longer would politics be decided by the elitist few who were at the top echelons of society, Van Buren envisioned a future for American democracy that would include the voices of the people, themselves. The traditional ways of using pledged personal loyalty and back-door dealings to accomplish political goals was now a part of history, because Van Buren’s vision was successfully enacted and still stands as a testament to what one person can do – given the right means and opportunity.
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