The United States of America has had only two major parties throughout its history, the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. Neither the Democrats, nor the Republicans have ever completely dominated American politics. When one party dominated national politics, the other party retained much support at state or local levels. These two parties have alternated in power since the beginning.
There are also other political parties in the USA besides the two major parties. There is the Libertarian Party, the Constitution Party, the Green Party and also several smaller parties. But none of them has enough popular support to win a presidential election. However, some of them are very strong in certain cities and states. In most cases, minor parties have just faded away.
The Democratic Party evolved out of Thomas Jefferson's party, formed before 1800. Most Americans today consider this party the more liberal party. This means that the Democrats believe the federal government and the state governments should be active in providing social and economic programs for those who need them (the poor, the unemployed or students). They are centre-left oriented with traditionaly poor voters and their symbol is the donkey, or the rooster (opposed to the eagle of the Republicans). Some Democratic presidents: Andrew Jackson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, John .F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama.
The Republican Party was formed in the 1850s, by the people in the states of the North and West, such as Abraham Lincoln, who wanted the government to prevent the expansion of slavery. Republicans are considered to be more conservative. This party puts more emphasis on private enterprise and individual initiative. They also oppose the involvement of the federal government in some areas of public life, which they consider to be the responsibility of the states and communities. They are centre-right oriented with traditionally rich voters and their symbols are the elephant and eagle. Some Republican presidents: Abraham Lincoln, Dwight D. Eisenhover, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Donald Trump.