Top of page

maps and graphs showing U.S. presidential election results by political party, from 1796 until 1968
Election Results, national atlas of the United States

Political Parties: A New Primary Source Set for Teachers from the Library of Congress

Share this post:

Political parties have been with the United States since the first competitive presidential election in 1796. Despite George Washington’s warnings of the dangers from such divisions, political parties are very much part of our country’s history, as well as of the ways our government has operated and will likely continue to do so.

Sheet music cover with an illustration of a donkey, moose, and elephant
Triplicity, or Donkey, Moose or Elephant

A new primary source set from the Library of Congress supports teachers and students in investigating how parties have changed over time and the various roles and functions of political parties.

Highlights include maps that show election results by party, photographs of individuals participating in party meetings and events, audio recordings of political speeches, documents from notable third parties, and an oral history interview with a member of a third party from the civil rights era.

As you use this set with your students, let us know their insights! What sources are most compelling or surprising? Encourage your students to use these primary sources to spark their own inquiry about the role and impact of political parties and how they have changed over time.

Do you enjoy these posts? Subscribe! You’ll receive free teaching ideas and primary sources from the Library of Congress.

Add a Comment

This blog is governed by the general rules of respectful civil discourse. You are fully responsible for everything that you post. The content of all comments is released into the public domain unless clearly stated otherwise. The Library of Congress does not control the content posted. Nevertheless, the Library of Congress may monitor any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove content for any reason whatever, without consent. Gratuitous links to sites are viewed as spam and may result in removed comments. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on the Library site. Read our Comment and Posting Policy.


Required fields are indicated with an * asterisk.