The Founding Fathers who drafted the U.S. Constitution in 1787 feared political parties, popular democracy, and centralized government. Contrary to these sentiments, the national politics that emerged has been that of intense partisan conflict, the continual expansion of suffrage, and the expansion of federal power. Early on, American politics became a blood sport with political candidates and officeholders assailing opponents in negative, and often, vicious ways, to win votes within an electorate that had increased in size and expressed a multitude of interests. By the 1830s all politicians, whatever their party affiliation, proclaimed themselves democrats and "men of the people." The only consistency between the Founders' dream for the new republic and what emerged was a profound faith in constitutional government.
- From American Political History: A Very Short Introduction by Donald T. Critchlow