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Evolution of American Political Parties

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lucy griswold

on 26 April 2016

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Transcript of Evolution of American Political Parties

1. What are the lessons we get from this game?

2. What patterns do you see in each party throughout their history? (who do Republicans favor? And who have Dems favored?)

3. Civil War to 1896
regional split
evenly matched

northern business, middle class, newly enfranchised male African Americans

primarily a white southern party, also working class in urban north, recent immigrants
1. 1790's Federalist vs Democratic-Republicans
narrow base--financiers, landowners, established elite who wanted strong national government and foreign policy sympathetic to British
(Jeffersonian Democrats) small farmers, workers, opposed centralizing power in national government
Initially, the label "democrats" was used as term of derision ( a put down) by the federalist party. Why might this be the case?
4. 1896 to
Great Depression:
Republican Dominance
Progressive Party
emerges, threatening democratic party (9% of vote in 1892) and alienating southern whites
Socialist Party
- Eugene Debs received 6% in 1912
Republican Party
favors new industrialists, wins out in an age of industrialization
SWITCH: party of high tarriffs becomes party of deregulation
2. early 1800's Democrats Versus Whigs
legislative (congressional) supremacy and support for business interest

(Jacksonian Democrats) opposed to high tariffs and and big business. Supported westward expansion and native removal.

evolution of american political parties
Q: Why would these groups TEAM UP at this historical moment?
Q: What historical events can explain the development of "Jacksonian Democracy"?
"The two-party system came into its own during this time. To give people a choice between two different parties and allow them, in a period of
to choose the slightly more democratic one was an ingenious form of control"
- Zinn
"We're coming Father Abraham, three thousand more
We leave our homes and firesides with bleeding hearts and sore
Since poverty has been our crime, we bow to thy decree
We are the poor and have no wealth to purchase liberty"
Song of the conscripts, new york 1863
"The two-party system played the role of the shock-absorber, trying to head off or co-opt resistive segments of the electorate"

5. New Deal to
Great Society: 1930s to 60s
Second Democratic Dominance
(New Deal Coalition) workers, unionists, white ethnics, small and medium farmers, African Americans. Wanted to regulate business, subsidize agriculture, provide government assistance
: party of states rights becomes party of federal intervention but "for the people"
Diving issue was direct government payouts and deficit spending
"A remade democratic party was the vehicle FDR used to
absorb the rising labor movement
within the confines of the existing political establishment...the system would not be willing to concede more than was absolutely necessary to
contain class struggle
6. 70s to today: Era of Divided Government, or Dealignment
divided congress and presidency since 1940's
failure for minority party to takeover
political polarization
Republicans: emergence of
christian right
Q: what push and pull factors contributed to this?
Q: What factors contributed to the political polarization that characterizes the recent era?
1) Housekeeping:
! Exam I
2) Testing wrap up / interview practice
: What do we remember about the history of political parties?
4) Origins of Contemporary Democratic and Republican Party
5) Political Party
Body Maps

Agenda 10.22
what is a political party
political party
is a group of citizens who agree on major issues and who work to create public policies that reflect their views
Parties choose, or
people they want to elect for public office.
"Trying to understand why why this
fierce class spirit
did not lead to independent revolutionary political action, theorist conclude that the main reason is that
electoral politicians drained the energies of the resisters into the channels of the system
Zinn, 227
Period of massive class unrest

Anti-Renter Movement
massive unionization in cities
United Tayloresses of NY strike in 1825
"No harm shall come to any
business interest
as a result of administrative policy so long as I am president...a transfer of executive control from one party to another
does not mean any serious disturbances of existing conditions
- Grover Cleveland, 1884
Book: graph on page 239
Agenda: October 26
Political Socialization Projects, Federal Law Presentations, Reading - Chapter 8
SNL Clip
: What Social commentary are they getting at here?
Political Party
Body Maps
Socratic Seminar
: Does the American two-party system HELP or HURT democracy?
Helpful Sources for Body Map
________Party Platform
National Committee Websites
Facebook Pages
Chapter 8
Wiki (check sources)
YOUR BRAIN (check sources)

"In the United States, a candidate wins the election by gaining a
, or more votes than any other candidate. This is a
winner-take-all system
because there is no reward for the party or candidate that finishes second. Parties aim to be as large as possible, smoothing over differences among candidates and voters.
There is no incentive to form a party that consistently gets votes but cannot win an election"
The Electoral System
in the US
contrast with
proportional representation
What are the costs and benefits to each system?
Two-party systems are more stable than multiparty systems
The two parties must appeal to the middle to win elections,
so the parties tend to be moderate.
Voters have only to decide between two parties.
Full transcript