The United States' hoary motto, e pluribus unum, symbolized the unity of the colonies against the tyranny of King George III. With apologies to true Latin scholars, the motto of today's American partisans might well be ex uno plura, Out of the One, Many — symbolizing not only both parties' seemingly endless bloodlust for each other but also a growing tendency on both Right and Left to deconstruct our great nation into warring racial, gender, and sexual factions.
Our Founding Fathers certainly did not see things this way. Alexander Hamilton, for instance, referred to parties — or factions — as “the most fatal disease” afflicting republics, and hoped to dispense with them in America. As a contemporary put it, “Hamilton said in ‘The Federalist,' in his speeches, and a hundred times to me that factions would ruin us, and our government had not sufficient energy and balance to resist the propensity to them and to control their tyranny and their profligacy.” Hamilton granted that “the spirit of party, in different degrees, must be expected to infect all political bodies.” But, at best, he saw such partisanship to be a “necessary evil.”