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Democratization in the US. US Constitution: Voting.

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Democratization in the US

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Democratization in the us

Democratization in the US

Us constitution voting

US Constitution: Voting

  • “The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.” (1.2.1)

  • Usually 21, white, male, property-holding

    • Some states allow women and blacks vote; gradually disenfranchised

  • “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.” (1.3.1)

  • 17th Amendment, 1913: chosen by “the people” of the State; “electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures”

    • States, by setting reqs for own legislature can set reqs for Congress (federalism)

Democratization in the us

  • “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Place of Chusing Senators.” (1.4.1)

    • First Tuesday after the first Monday in November

Electoral college

Electoral College

  • “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.” (2.1.2)

    • 538 electors: 3 from D.C. after 1964

  • States hold elections for electors winner takes all electors (mostly) electors meet and vote for Pres (one ballot) and VP (separate ballot) if straight majority (270), winner; if no majority House (as States) elected Pres, Senate (as individuals) elect VP

    • Changed by 12th Amendment, 1804 (after TJ-JA election 1800)

Democratization in the us


  • Federalism, not democracy (“favorite sons”), disproportionate vote small States (limit big States ganging up), not Parliamentary (Congress doesn’t choose), not State legislature (too much federalism), national rather than regional (why else care about Wyoming?)



  • 1st Party System: Federalists vs. Democratic-Republicans

  • Stand for office; anti-campaigning (by candidate)

  • Party = factions

  • TJ: party as necessary evil (overthrow Hamilton); disappear once win

    • Inaug: “we are all republicans, we are all federalists”

2 nd party system and mass politics

2nd Party System and Mass Politics

  • War 1812 Federalists collapse

  • D-Repub Democrats (various factions)

  • Andrew Jackson Whigs (anti-monarchy; King Andrew I)

Democratization in the us

  • Jacksonian Democracy: growth of mass politics (participation + techniques) began before AJ (Jeffersonians) AJ beneficiary

    A. Change in Attitudes

  • pre-1790s: parties are factions evil, should be stamped out entirely

  • 1790s: parties as necessary evil need to form to protect nation against the others (Fed/D-R), who are the real faction; once done, party will dissolve

  • Post-1800: parties as positive good educate + involve voters in political process necessary for mass democracy

B stages of development

B. Stages of Development

1. Expansion of electorate (collapse prop req)

  • 1810-1821: 6 western states w/minimal or no prop req

  • 4 old states ratify new constitutions lowering/eliminating prop req

    2. Jump in voter turnout (life and death rhetoric)

  • 1828: 58%; 1840: 80%

    • 2000: 51.3%

    • 2004: 64%

      3. New efforts to mobilize

  • Political rallies, parades, songs, slogans, badges, picnics, mud slinging + character assassination

    • Modern political tactics

Democratization in the us

George Caleb Bingham, “Stump Speaking”

Democratization in the us

“The County Election”

3 rd party system

3rd Party System

  • Whigs collapse over slavery Republican Party (minor 3rd party) 1860 split election Lincoln

  • CW + Reconstruction Republicans party of civil rights until Compromise 1877

Civil war amendments

Civil War Amendments

  • 13th: no slavery

  • 14th: birth citizenship; can’t disenfranchise w/o proportional loss House; felony disenfranchisement (Confederates + Klan)

  • 15th: no block “on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude”

    • Not guarantee to blacks; still disenfranchise, just not those reasons

Jim crow

Jim Crow

  • Poll taxes, felony disenfranchisement, racial redistricting (until Gomilion v. Lightfoot, 1960), literacy tests, polling place location, shotguns at the polling place

  • Democratic Party at Night

  • 1936: northern blacks join New Deal Coalition

  • 1964 + 1965: Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act

    •  lose the South for a generation

Democratization in the us

Political Party: a group of people organized to influence government through winning elections and setting public policy.

I role of political parties

I. Role of Political Parties:

  • Run Candidates for office.

  • Inform voters of the issues.

  • Organize the voters.

  • Govern.

  • Watchdog.

Running candidates

Running Candidates

  • Nominating: reduce choices to manageable level “Primaries”

    • Open and closed (CA is a closed primary State)

  • Bonding Agent: guarantee nominees aren’t criminals and are capable of governing

Informing voters

Informing Voters

  • Create Platforms (issues)

    • Often created at national convention (esp. during Presidential campaigns) or by party national committee (DNC, RNC)

  • Campaigning

    • Pamphlets, grassroots, speeches, photo-ops

  • Fund raising

Organize voters

Organize Voters

  • Party identification

  • Registering to vote

  • National, State, local organizations

Democratization in the us

The political party is organized from the bottom up:

National Party

State Party

Local Party


“Party in the Electorate”

Party structure

Party Structure

1. Party organization

2. Party in the electorate

3. Party in government

Democratization in the us

  • Decentralized and based on federalism

  • President’s party tends to be better organized and unified (“bully pulpit”)

  • National (DNC, RNC)

    • National convention, national committee, national chairperson, Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC, RCCC)

  • State and Local

    • Set by State and local law/tradition

    • Precinct and wards (“ward boss”)



  • Government by party

    • Negotiate, communicate between branches and between national and State

  • Partisanship; “Bi-partisan”

    • Relatively weak compared to Europe



  • Party in Power

  • Party out of power

    • Criticizes part in power in attempt to gain power

      • “Throw the rascals out!”

      • “The Loyal Opposition”

Democratization in the us

The USA has had a two-party system throughout its history: third parties occasionally emerge, but usually, most elected officials come from one of the two major parties.

Major 3rd Parties: Republicans (pre-1860), Populists, Progressives, Green, Independents

Reasons for two party dominance

Reasons for Two-Party Dominance

  • Historical basis

  • Force of tradition

  • Electoral system

    • Single-member district plurality (SMDP) / First-past-the-post

      • Winner-take-all

        • Vs. Proportional (PR) multi-party

    • Election law: 5% requirement, campaign finance laws, primaries, getting on the ballot

Reasons for two party dominance1

Reasons for Two-Party Dominance

  • “American Ideological Consensus”

    • Pluralistic society

    • Nation of immigrants

    • “Un-Americanism”

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