Political Parties Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

There are two major political parties in the United States. In this lesson, learn about the history of political parties in our country, and explore ideas and symbols of Republicans and Democrats.

Election Time

Do you notice a lot of commercials before November where someone is trying to convince you to vote for them? What about signs in front yards and billboards along the road? These are advertisements for politicians, or men and women who want to be elected for special governmental jobs.

When your parents vote in November, they go to a polling place and cast a secret ballot. No one can see their vote, and in most cases they can choose between two different candidates. Each candidate represents a political party. This party isn't the kind with cake and ice cream, but the parties are still exciting and important for our country.

President Obama is casting his vote at a polling place.

History of Political Parties

Throughout history, there have been many political parties in the United States. George Washington, our first president, was considered an independent because he did not belong to any political party. During Washington's presidency, a political group called the Federalist party was created. There were people who did not believe in the same ideas as the Federalists so they created the Anti-Federalist party.

There were other political parties that were created during the history of the United States, including the Whig party and the National Union Party. However, the two main groups that emerged were the Republicans and Democrats. Sometimes these parties joined together, but now in America these are parties that run against one another in elections.

Republican Party

Today, the Republican party is represented by different symbols and ideas. During election season you might see elephants in advertising. No, these elephants didn't escape from the zoo! They are a symbol of the Republican party. You might often hear people call this party the 'GOP', which stands for Grand Old Party.

The elephant has been a symbol of the Republican party for over one hundred years.

In order to vote you have to register. People can register to vote as a Republican, which means they believe many of the things that Republican politicians want for the government and its people. Famous Republican presidents include Theodore Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

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