9 Oldest Political Parties in The World

If there’s one topic that’s sure to turn a boring gathering into a lively one – for better or for worse – it’s politics. Opinions on political parties have both divided and united people over the decades, and they have been doing so for countless years. Here’s a list of ten of the world’s oldest political parties.

9. The Conservative Party of the United Kingdom

Year: 1834
Country: United Kingdom
Ideology:  Conservatism, Economic liberalism, British unionism
Active?: Yes

The Conservative Party of the United Kingdomphoto source: Wikipedia

The Conservative Party, known officially as the Conservative and Unionist Party, is the current governing party in the United Kingdom and is the largest party in local government. It had humbler beginnings in 1834 after being formed from the remnants of the Tories – a nickname sometimes still given to this party today.

This centre-right party was one of the two most dominant parties in the United Kingdom during the 19th century, with its rival being the Liberal Party. The two parties then joined into one and became the party we know now.

Today, the Conservative Party is one of the two leading parties in the United Kingdom, rivalling the Labour Party.


8. The Whig Party of the United States

Year: 1834
Country: United States
Ideology: Nationalism, Conservatism, American System
Active?: No

The Whig Party of the United Statesphoto source: Wikipedia

While the United Kingdom also had a Whig Party, the Whig Party of the United States is the one that makes it to number seven of our list. Formed from the remnants of the National Republican Party and the Anti-Masonic Party, it was the leading party opposing Andrew Jackson.

The Whig Party named itself after the American Whigs who fought for the independence of the United States in the 18th century. A total of four United States presidents identified as part of the Whig Party while they were in office. Due to tension regarding slavery and other similar issues, the party fell apart and dissolved in 1854.


7. Anti-Masonic Party

Year: 1828
Country: United States
Ideology: Anti-Masonry, American School
Active?: No

Anti-Masonic Partyphoto source: The Pandora Society

The Anti-Masonic Party, known also as the Anti-Masonic Movement, was America’s first third party. Founded in February 1828, it mainly opposed Freemasonry and came about after the disappearance of former Mason and Mason critic William Morgan.

The right-wing party achieved a surprising success in the elections of 1828 and began to make other political moves and consider other causes. However, as the 1830s went on, an increasing number of members of the party left to join America’s Whig Party. The Anti-Masonic Party was eventually dissolved in the December of 1840.


6. National Republican Party

Year: 1828
Country: United States
Ideology: Jeffersonianism, American School
Active?: No

National Republican Partyphoto source: Wikipedia

Known also as the Anti-Jacksonians, the National Republican Party was one of the branches that split off of the Democratic-Republican Party in America. The party was formed to oppose Andrew Jackson’s leadership when he was elected President in 1828.

Henry Clay was the nominee who ran against Jackson in 1832, but lost the election. Two short years later, the party dissolved as Jackson’s opponents formed another party known as the Whig Party – not to be confused with the Whigs of the United Kingdom.


5. The Democratic Party of the United States

Year: 1828
Country: United States
Ideology:  Modern liberalism, Social liberalism (mainly)
Active?: Yes

The Democratic Party of the United Statesphoto source: Wikipedia

The Democratic Party is the world’s oldest political party that continues to operate till this day. It was founded on the 8th of January, 1828[1], by the supporters of President Andrew Jackson. From the get-go, this party has maintained a more liberal view of social and economic issues, and many of those views have been maintained till today.

The party’s modern ideologies today have to do with liberalism, equality, and belief in the welfare state. Universal health care, labour union support, affordable college tuition, environmental protection, equal opportunity, and economic intervention are some of the party’s main focuses.


4. The Democratic-Republican Party

Year: 1794
Country: United States
Ideology:  Agrarianism, Anti-Federalism, Jeffersonianism, Republicanism
Active?: No

The Democratic-Republican Partyphoto source: Wikipedia

The Democratic-Republican Party, known also as the Jeffersonian Republicans, was a party formed by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison primarily to oppose the policies of the Federalist Party, which we’ll talk about in a latter entry.

It was the first official republican party and served as the base for what is now the oldest American political party that is still operating.

This party controlled the United States government from 1801 to 1825 during the First Party System, but began to split in 1824, branching off into two independent parties. One of them was the Democratic Party, known also as the Jacksonians, and that party continues to operate in the Unites States till this day, making it the world’s oldest operational political party.


3. The Federalist Party

Year: 1789
Country: United States
Ideology: Federalism, Hamiltonianism, Centralization, Classical conservatism, Modernization, American School
Active?: No

The Federalist Partyphoto source: Wikipedia

This party, known also as the Boner Party, was America’s first every political party. Founded by Alexander Hamilton, they focused on economic growth and financial stability.

After suffering a big loss to the Democratic-Republican party in the election of 1800, the Federalist Party never came back into power. They regained some strength in the War of 1812, lost it after the War of 1815, and slowly disappeared during the Era of Good Feelings. Eventually, the party was dissolved in 1824.

Despite their short-lived tenure, the Federalist Party continued to have a long, lasting effect on the policy of the Supreme Court thanks to Chief Justice John Marshall. Their ideologies helped to shape America’s federal government, based upon strong financial ground.


2. The Tories

Year: 1678
Country: United Kingdom
Ideology: Right-wing toryism
Active?: No

The Toriesphoto source: Wikipedia

The Tories, alongside the Whigs, which will talk about shortly, is one of the earliest known political parties to exist in the world.

Formed in 1678 from the Cavalier group, known also as the Royalists, they were originally formed to oppose the Exclusion Bill, a bill which sought to remove James, Duke of York, as the heir of the throne. Apart from that, their purpose was to oppose the ideologies of the Whigs, another political party.

The Tories were dissolved officially in 1834, though they ceased operations as a political party in the early 1760s. The term “Tories” was continually used by political writers to describe their ideologies, even after they were dissolved.


1. The Whigs

Year: 1678
Country: United Kingdom
Ideology: Liberal Whiggism
Active?: No

The Whigsphoto source: Wikipedia

Alongside the Tories, the Whigs were the world’s oldest and first political party. Originally known as the Roundheads, or the Parliamentarians, The Whigs opposed absolute monarchy and found their beginnings fighting against Charles I of England and the Cavaliers.

They were also central to the Revolution of 1688, also known as the Glorious Revolution, which saw the overthrowing of King James II of England. This resulted in the Whigs gaining complete control over the government from the years 1715 to 1760, with their reign ending as King George III allowed Tories to return to the governing system.

Throughout the decades, the Whigs supported revolutionary causes, such as the abolition of slavery and the emancipation of the Catholic church. They were dissolved on the 6th of June 1859 with the transition to the Liberal Party, which was a mix of members of the Whig party and free trade radicals and Tory party members.

 

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There are 1 comments

  1. “This centre-right party was one of the two most dominant parties in the United Kingdom during the 19th century, with its rival being the Liberal Party. The two parties then joined into one and became the party we know now.”

    That last sentence is a bit too simple of an explanation, as the Conservatives didn’t form a new party with the Liberals, but rather a group that broke away from the Liberal Party (Liberal Unionist); in 1912, the two parties merged to form the current Conservative and Unionist Party. The Liberal Party, though diminished, still existed and separate from the Conservative and Unionist Party.

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