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How America's First Third Party Influenced Politics

By Becky Little

For most of its history, the United States has had a two-party system. From the Federalists and Anti-Federalists, to the modern-day Democrats and Republicans, there are usually always two political parties that dominate the U.S. government at any one time.

Since the 1820s, the United States has also had a plethora of third parties that challenge the two-party system. Though these parties rarely gain much national power, many have had a significant impact on U.S. political and party dynamics. This was the case with the very first third party, the Anti-Masonic Party, which was founded on the conspiracy theory that an elite group of Freemasons were secretly controlling the U.S. government.

Source: History.