First party system:
inception to 1836
Federalists - broad central power - Hamilton. supported England in French- England war. Stronghold in New England.
Anti-federalists - limited federal power. anti-national bank. supported the French revolution. Thomas Jefferson. supported France in 1793 French English war.
...also called democrat-republicans.
Second party system:
1837 to 1852
Anti-federalists split into multiple parties-  Jackson democrats who were against the bank of the united states b/c it was too centralized and too corporate. farmers and common/poor man were in this party from the start. Believed in appointing friends/supporters of like mind when becoming president instead of letting the previous executive employees stay in tenure.  bankers and businessman therefore fell together into the Whig party. They supported public works programs and subsidies to businesses and high taxes on imports to protect American businesses.
Third party system:
Democrats remain. A lot of white racists in the south joined the party having left the republicans who wouldn't tolerate their racism. These new democrats were pro business but didn't agree with the republicans on race so they found a home with the democrats instead. Lots of unskilled laborers and catholic immigrants in party also. Generally wanted govt to stay out of moral/social issues like prohibition. On slavery democrats were split in that some were racist and pro slavery and some were against slavery- mostly the northern democrats. They supported low tariffs on imported goods to keep costs low for common people and wanted less federal spending overall so that the common man could keep more of his own money.
Whigs dissolve. Some Whigs come together-mostly middle class anti-Catholics to make the American party (which eventually dissolved as most 3rd parties do). Many other former Whigs come together to form the Republican party and put up Abe Lincoln for president. Businessman and white collar workers flock to the Republican party. Freed slaves also in the party. Mostly protestant. Wanted the government to condemn sin - supported prohibition and other heavy handed govt intrusion into moral decisions. Still wanted high tariffs to protect business owners and lots of federal subsidies to businesses.
Fourth party system
More of the same from both parties, except that republicans became even more business oriented as some republicans thought the party went too far in supporting business over environment and commoners and left for the Democrat party. Also most of the poor immigrants coming into the country joined the Democrat party. Democrats are generally anti-war, anti-imperialism and anti-world policing and definitely anti-business. They support direct democracy versus electoral college and support broadening the vote to as many as possible except the blacks. Began to support strong govt regulation over business to protect people from businesses.
Fifth party system
1933-?? (some same 1960s, some say 1990s, some say still under this system today)
More people begin to support Democrats as the Republicans were in charge near the depression and some see them responsible somehow so the Democrats got even more poor, immigrants, and minorities to come over to their side. Republicans still support business and subsidies to business. Republicans FINALLY adopt free trade platform under Reagan, realizing that their previous anti-trade policies hurt the nation and businesses ultimately. Besides, now that US businesses were selling more and more overseas, free trade was more beneficial for them so they were now happy to support it too. Ironically, this is about the time that most Democrats driven by the labor unions- come out against free trade b/c it risked their jobs. Job security suddenly became more important than the little people being able to buy things affordably. Here we have a reversal of both party platforms on free trade.
From my research, it seems that since their inception, Democrats have always held tight to pushing direct democracy and having the common man become very involved in and directly benefiting from the federal government including govt funds. Republicans have always been pro-business and push representative democracy and the electoral college. A healthy debate that is likely to continue in perpetuity.
On the other hand, the parties switched ideology on free trade. I'm glad the Republicans finally came around to the winning strategy of supporting free trade. I believe its best for the global economy and will eventually lift most countries out of poverty. It's too bad the democrats adopted the anti-trade stance. Would have been nice to have unity on the issue.
Clearly on the black race issue, democrats have the longstanding pattern of being on the wrong side. This does make me feel good about my Republican party.
Finally, I don't see how democrats have the audacity to claim Thomas Jefferson as *their* president (go look at dnc.org - they state he was a democrat) when really he was the father of the party that BOTH Democrats and Republicans ultimately branched off from. I dare say that Jefferson, had he been alive, would have been more likely to go off with the Whigs than the Jackson Democrats when the split occurred.