The Constitution of the United States makes no mention of political parties. America’s first president, George Washington, abhorred them. He spent a large part of what turned out to be his most influential presidential message, his Farewell Address of 1796, warning the country against the dangers of what he called “factions.” Yet Americans ignored that warning and developed, soon after his presidency ended, two major parties. The country has had two major political parties almost continuously ever since. Moreover, it is difficult to imagine American democracy, or indeed democracy anywhere, functioning effectively without such parties to connect citizens to the government and to structure elections and legislative proceedings.