Ch 5 4 the minor parties
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CH. 5-4 THE MINOR PARTIES - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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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 l.jpg



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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • Most splinter parties form around a strong personality Republicans:

  • 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

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  • 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

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WHY MINOR PARTIES ARE IMPORTANT as its presidential nominee.

  • 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

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  • The Presidential Election of 1912 (graphic p. 134) as its presidential nominee.

  • 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