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Parties in the United States

Parties in the United States

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Parties in the United States

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  1. Parties in the United States Origins and Development

  2. I. Why Parties? The Origin of American Parties • The debate over the Constitution • Federalists • Those who favored the Constitution and strong federal (central) government. • Most well-known elites agreed on ratification, even when they disagreed about meaning of Constitution (Hamilton and Jefferson both support ratification) • Anti-Federalists – Those who opposed ratification and favored states’ rights and a weak central government (Confederation) • Ratification and Bill of Rights largely ends dispute – but divisions among “Federalists” soon emerge

  3. B. Factionalism: Hamilton vs. Jefferson • Alexander Hamilton proposes creating national bank  calls his vision of strong central government “Federalist” • Thomas Jefferson opposes plans for large central government, says that if Constitution doesn’t mention it then the central government cannot do it. • Jefferson often called “Anti-Federalist” even though he supported ratification and rejected the term. He does ally with some “real” Anti-Federalists, however…

  4. 4. Two Leaders, Two Visions of the United States

  5. C. From Personalism to Parties • Formation of Federalist Party • 1792-1793: Hamilton mobilizes Northeastern elites for his policies, forms Federalist Party • Nature of Party = Collection of notables, rather than mass organization • Federalists initially retain power based on connections to Washington (election of Adams)

  6. 2. Formation of Democratic-Republicans • Opposition to (First) Bank of the United States and financial centralization • Opposition to pro-British tilt in US foreign policy  Democratic-Republican Societies formed • Congressional faction led by Madison allies with Jefferson – begins to campaign on common issues using the Societies (Democratic-Republican Party)

  7. D. Early Party Competition • Democratic-Republicans focus on popular mobilization, esp. in South and “West” • Build network of newspapers to reach public, subsidized by Jefferson • Use rural-urban cleavage to campaign against Federalists • Federalists attempt to use government to perpetuate power (belief that opposition parties promote division) • Patronage (new military commissions) • Censorship (Alien & Sedition Acts)

  8. II. Why Two Parties? • Duverger’s Law – SMSP leads to Two-Party Systems • SMSP? Single-Member Simple Plurality districts (“First Past the Post”) • In SMSP, voter faced with possibility that minority party may win if opposition divides  incentive to vote for “lesser of two evils” instead of “throwing your vote away”

  9. B. US-Specific Factors • Ballot access laws – Generally admit two parties; others must “qualify” • Focus on “up-ticket” races hurts “down-ticket” candidates – makes it difficult to build a regional or local political party (exception to Duverger’s Law that doesn’t apply to US)

  10. 3. Anti-fusion laws Most states require separate slates of electors for each party, prohibit candidates from appearing twice on the ballot SC Ballot 2006

  11. III. Party Systems • The First Party System: Federalists vs. Democratic-Republicans • Origins: Factionalism • Focus: Foreign Policy • Termination • Democratic-Republicans moderate domestic views after gaining national power • Federalists become irrelevant once foreign policy issues lose salience (end of Napoleonic Wars and War of 1812) • Aftermath: Resistance by some Democratic-Republicans (“quids”) to moderation in domestic policy  populism within party

  12. B. Second Party System: Democrats vs. Whigs • Origins: “Era of Good Feelings” produces single-party dominance  factionalism within Democratic-Republicans • Election of 1824: Four candidates without parties vie for Presidency. Jackson mobilizes agrarian supporters against urban elites • “Corrupt Bargain” – Adams-Clay alliance gains Presidency in House of Representatives  Triggers Jacksonian coalition of “Old Republicans” • 1828: Jackson gains control of Party and Presidency

  13. d. Jackson kills the Second Bank of the United States • Jackson initially divides opposition, but second term (1832-1836) unites opponents • Jackson casts the first “political” veto – prior vetoes had been based on Constitutionality of laws, not desirability • Jackson then kills the Bank by removing deposits without express authority (prevents centralized monetary policy, allowing states more fiscal independence) • Bankers, businesses, commercial farmers mobilize against Jackson  Choose the label “Whigs” in 1832-1833 (leaders = Clay and Adams)

  14. 2. Focus: Presidential Power and Commerce • Whigs favor Congress over Presidency (viewed as closer to popular will) • Whigs favor economic modernization and industrialization: central banking, tariffs, “public improvements” • Democrats favor free trade and horizontal expansion (Manifest Destiny) instead of economic development (land over capital)

  15. 3. Termination: Expansion of Slavery • Whigs weaken over time: factionalism, grudges over opposition to expansion • Economic divide decreases as Democrats adopt “Whiggish” ideas about business • Free Soil Party begins to win Northern support (splits Democrat vote in 1848 over slavery issue)  initially helps Whigs

  16. 3. Termination: Expansion of Slavery • Whigs weaken over time: factionalism, grudges over opposition to expansion • Economic divide decreases as Democrats adopt “Whiggish” ideas about business • Free Soil Party begins to win Northern support (splits Democrat vote in 1848 over slavery issue)  initially helps Whigs • Compromise of 1850 splits party – incumbent Fillmore rejected in 1852

  17. 1852: Whig Decline

  18. d. 1854: The Final Split • Kansas-Nebraska Act divides Whigs along North-South lines • Northern Whigs leave Party, form Republican Party to fight against both Southern Whigs and the Democrats (which begin to lose Northern support) • 1856: “Whig” candidate wins most traditional Whigs in South, but fails to win previous Whigs in North

  19. 1856: Republicans Become the Second Party

  20. 4. Aftermath: The Regional Divide • Republicans become Northern party (adding freed slaves in the South after the Civil War) • Democrats limited to Southern whites after Civil War  “the Party of treason”

  21. C. The Third Party System: Republicans and Democrats • Origins: North-South divide becomes more salient than other issues • Focus: North (industry, tariffs) against South (agriculture, free trade).

  22. 3. Termination: Culture Wars • Regional power bases solidify with end of Reconstruction  competition over new states (West) and voters (immigrants) • Civil Service reform makes enforcing party loyalty more difficult  internal struggles and third party defections • 1892: Populist Party takes much of West over issue of “free silver”  rejected by both Democrats and Republicans (threat of region-based third party)

  23. 1892: Populists and “Free Silver”

  24. c. 1896: Realignment of the Democratic Party • Pro-Populist Democrats gain control of Party, repudiate own President! • William Jennings Bryan tries to unite South and West over opposition to Northeast bankers and federal anti-inflation policies (the “Cross of Gold”)

  25. 1896: The Urban/Rural divide replaces the North-South divide

  26. d. Aftermath • Democrats now opposed by many Northern workers in addition to business (anti-industry policies) • Republicans lose the West, but make it up by dominating large cities • Why did both parties endure this realignment? Internal change, esp. in Democratic Party

  27. D. The Fourth Party System: The Urban-Rural divide • Origins: Populist-Democratic coalition unifies urban dwellers behind Republicans (exception: some new immigrant groups) • Focus: Business vs Agriculture. Democrats essentially trade national power for concessions to state power. Progressive movement challenges both parties on cultural issues (accounts for only Democratic victory – Wilson)

  28. 3. Termination: The Great Depression • Depression splits the business-labor alliance in cities • Democrats add the solid South to Northern cities  overwhelming support for FDR

  29. 4. Aftermath: Persistent Regional Blocs • West/South vs. North/Great Lakes division persists to this day: 1896 vs. 2004

  30. E. The Fifth Party System: The New Deal Coalition • Origins: FDR unites urban workers in North and the “Solid South” • Focus: Labor/Agriculture vs Business

  31. 3. Termination: The Battle for the Democratic Party • Problem for Democrats: Northern labor unions oppose discrimination but Southern whites support it • Northerners win control of Democratic Party • Southerners revolt: 1948 “Dixiecrats” run on segregation, 1960 anti-Kennedy electors, 1968 American Independent Party

  32. 1948

  33. d. The “Southern Strategy” Realigns the Parties • Nixon in 1968 takes slightly more conservative positions on race than Democrats, allows Wallace to attack integration (see Hillygus and Shields for more details) • Southerners support Republican Party of Nixon and Reagan

  34. 4. Aftermath • Racially-charged issues of welfare, affirmative action, and crime convince Southerners to switch to Republican Party  Republicans now control South-West coalition of Bryan and Democrats have the urban North!

  35. F. The Sixth Party System • Origins: Southern whites switch to Republican Party • Focus: Liberal-Conservative divide

  36. 3. Developments in the Sixth Party System • Racially-charged triad has lost effectiveness: welfare reform, limited affirmative action, lower crime  “third way” Democrats. But has race lost salience? Must examine Obama campaign in more detail… • Liberal-Conservative divide now provides basis for regional coalitions, but there are important differences within these labels (see Assignment 1 for other ideologies) • Great Lakes and Rocky Mountain states contain seeds of discontent within major parties

  37. G. Conclusions • Overall pattern of realignment • New issue emerges that divides existing parties  grassroots third parties emerge • Elites within a party bolt to take advantage of new cleavage OR political insurgents take over existing party for the same purpose • Elite-founded parties or altered major parties absorb grassroots challengers

  38. 2. Realignment has become less frequent • Parties much more stable – Democrats and Republicans for almost 150 years… • Internal democracy allows gradual policy change without full-scale realignment (primaries)

  39. IV. Third Parties • Presidential Aspirations – • All Fail: No “third” party has ever won the Presidency. Even the Republicans spent an election losing (as the Whigs disintegrated) before winning in 1860.

  40. 2. Close Calls: Third Parties That Won Electoral Votes • Excludes party factions (different nominees by different state branches) • Excludes “faithless electors”

  41. 1824: Non-Partisan Split

  42. 1832: Anti-Jackson Factions

  43. 1856: Twilight of the Whigs