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Development of American Political Parties

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1 Development of American Political Parties
The Two-Party System

2 A Political Party… A group of persons who seek to control government by winning elections and holding office. A group of citizens who agree on major issues facing the nation. These groups work to create public policies that reflect their views. Parties choose, or nominate, people they want to elect to public office. These candidates campaign to get elected. principle-oriented, issue-oriented, or election-oriented (US parties are election-oriented)

3 Functions of the Political Party
Nominate Candidates —Recruit, choose, and present candidates for public office. Inform and Activate Supporters —Campaign, define issues, and criticize other candidates. Act as a Bonding Agent—Guarantee that their candidate is worthy of the office. Govern—Members of government act according to their partisanship, or firm allegiance to a party. Act as a Watchdog—Parties that are out of power keep a close eye on the actions of the party in power for a blunder to use against them in the next election.

4 Parties in the US Any American citizen may join a political party regardless of age, but most members are eighteen or older. The United States has a two-party system.

5 History of Political Parties

6 Hamilton vs. Jefferson Political parties first emerged when followers of Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson disagreed over major issues on the Constitution and government. Jefferson’s group (who were basically the anti-federalists) took the name Democratic-Republicans. they feared a powerful central government and wanted the states to hold greater power. Hamilton was in favor of a strong national government with a powerful chief executive. His followers called themselves Federalists.

7 Jacksonian Democracy Reigns
In 1828, the farmers and small business owners who made up Jefferson’s party, calling themselves the Democratic Party, nominated Andrew Jackson. He stood for the common citizen, but looked out for southern and western interests. Those who did not support Jackson formed their own party called Whigs, after a Scottish political leader. Their real name was the National Republican Party. The Whigs and Democrats made up the two key parties in American politics for two decades.

8 The Two Major Parties Emerge
In 1854 Whigs, former Free Soil Party members, and ex-Democrats formed the Republican Party to oppose the spread of slavery in US territories. The Whigs faded from American politics leaving the Democrats and Republicans in a two-party system that has dominated American politics ever since.

9 Third Party Parties

10 Ralph Nader, Green Party Candidate, 2000
Role of Minor Parties Third Party any party other than one of the two major parties Examples: Constitution Party, Green Party, and Socialist Party, Reform Party Impact of Third Parties draw votes from major parties; bring attention to issues Obstacles to Third Parties Getting on ballot Single-member districts Financing Ralph Nader, Green Party Candidate, 2000 Single issue party—focuses exclusively on one major social, economic, or moral issue (Example: Liberty Party and Free-Soil Party formed to take stronger stand on slavery than two major parties in 1840s) Ideological party—focuses on overall change in society rather than one issue (Example: Socialist Labor Party and Communist Party advocate government ownership of factories and resources) Splinter party—party which splits away from one of the major parties due to some sort of disagreement (Example: in 1912 Theodore Roosevelt led a group out of the Republican Party to form the Bull Moose or Progressive party) Impact: Draw votes away from one major party in order to influence outcome of election Bring attention to important issues which are usually taken up by one of the major parties Obstacles: Difficulty getting on the ballot in all 50 states Single-member districts—only one candidate my win in a district no matter how many are running and because most voters are affiliated with one party or another, the winner will almost always be Dem or Rep Financing—need a great deal of money to campaign 10

11 Cult of Personality Some third parties form from the efforts of famous people. If they cannot gain support from one of the major parties, so they form their own. H. Ross Perot’s Reform Party was a force in the 1992 and 1996 elections. This party also placed pro wrestler Jesse Ventura in the governor’s mansion in Minnesota. These parties usually fade after their candidate is defeated.

12 American Politics Today
Democrats usually feel that the federal government has a responsibility to help the poor through government intervention. Democrats are generally seen as liberal. Republicans hold the view that leaving the economy alone will allow for growth, giving people greater ability to help themselves. They believe in less regulation. Republicans are viewed as being conservative.

13 Modern Political Parties
The Democratic Party The Republican Party AKA The Grand Old Party (GOP)


15 Parties Move Towards The Center
A platform is a statement that puts forth the party's positions on issues. Each individual issue is called a plank. Both parties want votes. As a result, parties become more moderate in their platforms, moving away from extreme positions. The American people generally agree about many issues. This unity forces the two parties toward the center of the political spectrum.

16 Multiparty Systems Advantages Disadvantages
Provides broader representation of the people. More responsive to the will of the people. Give voters more choices at the polls. Disadvantages Cause parties to form coalitions, which can dissolve easily. Failure of coalitions can cause instability in government.

17 Following The Party Line
A one-party system cannot exist in a democracy. There is no choice of candidates in the elections. Communist China, Cuba, and North Korea operate under one-party systems. One-party systems may be based on other ideologies such as religion. Opposition parties are usually banned. Iran's Islamic Republican Party has established a Muslim state. This type of religion-based government is called a theocracy (remember?) Communist Party Congress, China In a one-party system, the government and party are synonymous.

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