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CH. 5-4 THE MINOR PARTIES. AMERICAN GOVERNMENT. MINOR PARTIES IN THE UNITED STATES. Their number and variety make minor parties difficult to describe and classify Some are limited to a particular locale, others to a single state, and some to one region

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ch 5 4 the minor parties

CH. 5-4 THE MINOR PARTIES

AMERICAN GOVERNMENT

minor parties in the united states
MINOR PARTIES IN THE UNITED STATES
  • Their number and variety make minor parties difficult to describe and classify
  • Some are limited to a particular locale, others to a single state, and some to one region
  • Others have tried to gain national support
  • Most exist around a single theme but some have a broader, more practical approach
slide3

FOUR DISTINCT TYPES OF MINOR PARTIES

  • 1) Ideological parties
  • Based on a particular set of beliefs—a comprehensive view of social, economic, and political matters
  • Most built on some shade of Marxist thought
  • Examples—Socialist, Socialist Labor, Socialist Worker, and Communist Parties
  • A few have a different approach
  • Libertarian Party emphasizes individualism and calls for doing away with most of government’s present functions and programs
  • Ideological parties seldom win many votes but there are usually long-lived
slide4

2) Single-Issue Parties

  • Focus on one public-policy matter
  • Names indicate their primary concern
  • Example—Free Soil Party opposed the spread of slavery in 1840s & 1850s
  • The American Party (aka The Know-nothings) opposed Irish-Catholic immigration in the 1850s
  • Right to Life Party opposes abortion today
  • Most single-issue parties fade into history
slide5

3) Economic Protest Parties

  • Show up during periods of economic discontent
  • Proclaim their disgust with major parties and demand better times
  • Most often these are sectional parties, drawing their strength from the South and West
  • The Greenback Party (1876-1884)—tried to take advantage of agrarian discontent
  • They called for free coinage of silver, federal regulation of railroads, an income tax, and labor legislation
slide6

Populist Party 1890s (descendant of the Greenbacks)

  • Demanded public ownership of railroads, telephone and telegraph companies, lower tariffs
  • Each of these parties disappeared as the nation climbed out of difficult economic times
  • 4) Splinter Parties
  • Parties that have split away from a larger party
  • Most of the important minor parties have been splinter parties
slide7

Among the leading groups that have split from the Republicans:

  • “Bull Moose” Progressive Party of 1912—Theodore Roosevelt
  • Progressive Party of 1924—Robert La Follette
  • Groups that have split from the Democrats:
  • Progressive Party 1948—Henry Wallace
  • States’ Rights (Dixiecrat) Party
  • American Independent Party 1968—George Wallace
slide8

Most splinter parties form around a strong personality

  • Most often someone who has failed to win a major party’s presidential nomination
  • These parties fade away or collapse when the leader steps aside
  • The Green Party 1996 points out the difficulties in classifying minor parties.
  • The began as a classic single-issue party
  • As the party evolved, it doesn’t fit in any of the catagories listed
slide9

The Green Party came to prominence in 2000 with Ralph Nader as its presidential nominee.

  • He campaigned on several issues: environmental protection, universal health care, gay and lesbian rights, restraints on corporate power, campaign finance reform, opposition to global free trade, etc.
  • The Greens refused to re-nominate Nader in 2004. They went with David Cobb instead
why minor parties are important
WHY MINOR PARTIES ARE IMPORTANT
  • Most Americans do not support minor parties but they have made important contributions
  • The Anti-Masons party first used a national convention to nominate a presidential candidate in 1831.
  • The Whigs and Democrats followed suite in 1832
  • A strong third-party candidate can play a “spoiler role”
  • The Green Party 2000 pulled votes mainly from the Democrats possibly causing Al Gore the Presidency
slide11

The Presidential Election of 1912 (graphic p. 134)

  • Had Roosevelt not quit the Republican Party, Taft would have had a better showing and Wilson would not have become President
  • Historically, the role of minor parties has been one of critic and innovator
  • Minor parties present ideas that the major parties have eventually taken on and called their own.
  • (chart p. 135)
  • The End
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