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Development of American Political Parties The Two-Party System.

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Presentation on theme: "Development of American Political Parties The Two-Party System."— Presentation transcript:

1 Development of American Political Parties The Two-Party System

2 What Is a Political Party? A political party is an association of voters with broad common interests who want to influence or control decision making in government by electing the party's candidates to public office. Parties pick candidates who agree with their beliefs and try to persuade voters to support those candidates.

3 Parties in the US Anyone may join a political party. You simply declare yourself a member. The United States has had two major parties, or a two-party system, since 1860.

4 Hamilton vs. Jefferson Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton disagreed strongly about how the government should operate. Hamilton wanted a strong national government and strong president. Jefferson wanted less power for the national government and more for state governments. Two rival political groups formed around these two leaders. E. Jefferson's group was called the Democratic-Republican Party.

5 Jacksonian Democracy Reigns In 1828, the party split, and the new leader Andrew Jackson aligned with the Democratic Party. Jefferson's party grew stronger. Hamilton's group, the Federalist Party, faded away. The Whigs (or National Republicans) rose in 1830, and the Whigs and Democrats remained the two major parties until the 1850s.

6 The Two Parties Emerge In 1854 breakaway Democrats and Whigs who opposed slavery formed the Republican Party. The Whigs lost support. Abraham Lincoln became the first Republican president in Since then, Republicans and Democrats have been our two major parties.

7 Third Parties Third parties sometimes challenge the two major parties. A third party has never won a presidential election and rarely wins other major elections. Third parties can influence the outcome of elections and may influence policy. Ralph Nader, Green Party Candidate, 2000

8 Third Parties at the Turn of the Century Farmers and laborers formed the Populists in the 1890s. They called for the direct election of senators and an eight-hour working day. They did not win, but the two major parties adopted many of their ideas. In 1912, former Republican President Theodore Roosevelt ran for president for the Progressives, or Bull Moose Party. He won enough votes away from the Republican candidate, William Howard Taft, that Democrat Woodrow Wilson won the election.

9 Ideological Third Parties Some third parties arise to promote a social, economic, or moral issue. The Prohibitionist Party pushed for laws against the sale of alcohol. Single-issue parties fade when the issue loses importance or a major party adopts it. Ideological parties focus on changing society in major ways. The Socialist Labor Party and Communist Party favor government ownership. The Libertarian Party wants more individual freedom. The Green Party opposes the power of corporations.

10 Cult of Personality Some third parties form around well-known individuals who cannot get support from a major party. Such parties fade after their candidate's defeat.

11 The Odds Are Against Them Republican and Democratic candidates are automatically placed on the ballot in many states. Third-party candidates must obtain a large number of signatures to get on the ballot. Usually only one candidate can win a district. Most voters favor a major party. Third parties have trouble raising enough money to compete with the major parties.

12 Other Party Systems Political parties exist in most countries, but two-party systems are rare. Most democracies have multiparty systems. One party rarely wins enough support to control the government, so several parties must work together. This is called a coalition. Competing interests can create a politically unstable situation

13 Following The Party Line In a one-party system, the government and party are nearly the same thing. In the People's Republic of China, only the Communist Party is allowed to exist. A one-party system is not a democracy. There are no rival candidates in the elections. D. One-party systems also exist in some non-Communist nations. Muslim leaders control Iran's Islamic Republican Party. Other parties are outlawed or inactive.

14 Today's Major Parties Competing political parties give voters a choice among candidates and ideas. The major parties differ mainly in their belief about how much the government should be involved in the lives of Americans. Democrats tend to believe that the federal government should be more directly involved in regulating the economy and providing for the poor. Republicans tend to believe that if they help the economy grow, poor people will have a better chance of finding jobs and providing for themselves. They believe in less regulation.

15 Parties Move Towards The Center Both parties try to appeal to as many voters as possible. As a result, they tend to adopt mainstream, moderate positions and avoid extremes. A platform is a series of statements expressing the party's principles, beliefs, and positions on issues. Each individual part is called a plank. The platform communicates to voters what the party plans to do if it wins. The parties are also similar because the American people generally agree about many issues.


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