Was there ever a time in U.S.History where there was as much contentiousness as there is now between both parties?
Yes, without a doubt. Take for example the historically recent time period of the early 1960's into the mid 1970's. Our two major Political Parties were quite divided. The first Roman Catholic President, John Kennedy (D), was inaugurated in January 1961 (and was assassinated in November 1963). In between that starting event continuing until President Richard Nixon's resignation in August 1974 arguably marked the most politically tumultuous period in American history. That 13+ year time period was marked by high profile assassinations of political and religious leaders, racial discord and disharmony, the creation of social welfare programs, the Vietnam Conflict, youth and radical movements, organized challenges to authority, Presidential crises such as Watergate, etc. Know that this period of time is only one of many that experienced severe Political discord. Harken back to the U.S. Civil War in 1864 where Abraham Lincoln (R) and his Republican Party demanded that the U.S. continue to fight the Confederacy toward unconditional surrender and supported a constitutional amendment to end slavery. At the same time the Democrat Party was split between "war" and "peace" factions. Prior to that the Mexican American War (1846-48) was a festering source of contention between the Political Parties.
Next, take the War of 1812 for example. Read this excerpt from The Atlantic Magazine article entitled: "What the War of 1812 Can Teach Us About the Fiscal-Cliff Debate." "With no consensus between the Political Parties, the government of the United States decides to go to war. The war of choice is launched on the assumption that it will be very brief and decisive. There is little advance planning for how to pay for (and prevail in) a more protracted and complicated military operation. The war aims are not stable. They become ambitious. When the main casus belli recedes, others move to the fore. An invasion of a foreign country (Canada) is attempted, and it is presumed that American soldiers will be greeted as liberators. Nasty surprises abound. Not only does discord grow in Congress, the executive suffers from mismanagement and infighting. The war drags on longer than expected. The upshot is a stalemate -- or at least an anticlimax -- even though the president declares the mission accomplished. Historians will continue to wonder whether it was necessary and exactly what it accomplished. Sound familiar? Iraq comes to mind. But the general description is also a serviceable characterization of an earlier armed conflict -- one that took place a couple of centuries ago and that most Americans now recall dimly, if it all: the War of 1812." -- The Atlantic Magazine, November 26, 2012
So you can see that there are many periods of time in our Great Nation's History where contentiousness between the Parties left an indelible imprint. The late author Howard Zinn's text "A People's History of the United States" is a good benchmark to understand how average Citizens (and non-Citizens) fared during these times. America's History is rich and should be treasured; never to be forgotten. One thing is for sure though; contention is part of our National fabric, never to disappear.