One thing I get tired of hearing is people saying that we are more polarized today than ever before. We are a history of wars, and what is more polarizing than wars. You have people so polarized that they want to kill each other to get their way. We have fewer wars today than ever before, and, therefore, by default, we are less polarized today, not more.
So, you want to relate it to American history. What about the election of 1812 was between Thomas Jefferson democratic-Republicans and John Adams Federalists. Back then presidential candidates believed it was not presidential to campaign for themselves, yet their surrogates were very polarized in their comments.
They each called their opponents some vial names. Let me give you some examples. Both sides claimed that victory by the other would ruin the nation. I have heard such comments from both sides in nearly every election that I've ever participated in.
Federalists called Jefferson an undisciplined deist whose sympathy for the French revolution would bring similar bloodshed to America. Democratic-Republicans complained that the Federalists wanted the government to be too central and too powerful. They adamantly complained about the attack on individual rights by the Alien and Sedition Acts.
Adam's Federalists wanted a large central government with the government having more control over people's lives, while Jefferson's Democrats wanted a small central government in order so that the people could have control of their own lives.