A plank is a political party's declarations regarding the candidates' opinions, goals and plans for addressing the important issues in society. Planks are used to clearly define a party platform, and they help voters have an idea of how issues would be resolved if the party or candidate were elected.
Political parties began with the Federalists and Anti-Federalists in the debates leading up to the ratification of the Constitution of the United States. After ratification, the Federalists and Democratic Republicans became the first true political parties. The modern Democratic Party is based on the Democratic Republicans, while the modern Republican Party has grown since 1854. Because American political parties consist of many individuals with widely varied interests, planks are important and help organize the opinions and strategies for each political issue.