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America’s Political Parties An Overview and Their History. America’s Political Party. Founding Era (1790s-1812) Birth of political parties Federalists v. Democratic-Republicans Era of Good Feeling (1820s to 1850s) Growth of parties on state level Democrats and Whigs
How do they differ on…
– Foreign policy?
– Social issues (abortion gay marriage, etc.)?
– Law and order?
People are dissatisfied with party system
Theory of Responsible Party Government
1. Parties should present clear and coherent programs to voters
2. Voters should choose candidates on basis of party’s ability to execute programs
3. Winning party is obliged to carryout program
4. Voters should hold governing/majority party responsible at election time
1. As voters, we want the best chance our policy choices will be adopted
2. Parties want to win office
To what extent do the Republicans and Democrats meet the Theory of Responsible Party Government?
Do they provide voters’ favorable policy choices?
WHAT ARE THEY?
What is an ideology? A set of ideas (values, expectations, myths) about how society should operate
Political ideologies studied in comparison on a political spectrum
Liberal Conservative Moderate
in the Economy
Communitarian / Populist
Maintaining Traditional Values
Basic values: Personal responsibility
Free markets (laissez-faire)
Strong national defense
Duty of government to provide freedom necessary for people to pursue their own goals
Idea of government as a “strict father”
Basic values: Equal opportunity
Equality for all
Duty of state to protect civil liberties, alleviate social ills, and promote human rights
People are innately good
Can also be called “progressives”
Idea of state as “nurturing mother”
View of the
Libertarian: maximization of individual liberty in thought and action and the minimization of the state
Communitarian/Populism: need to balance individual rights and interests with that of the community as a whole
Extreme Conservatism: nationalism, authoritarianism, racism Very diverse thoughts-from Nazism to McCarthyism Reactionary in nature
Neo-conservatism: support using American economic and military power to bring democracy and human rights to other countries; usually supportive of “big government”
Others include: feminism, environmentalism, Islamism, anarchism
Some thinking points…
Conservatives oppose abortion saying they want to save the lives of unborn fetuses but also oppose government programs like prenatal care and have voted to eliminate similar programs resulting in a higher infant mortality rate
Liberals support federal funding for AIDS research and treatment, while promoting the spread of AIDS by sanctioning sexual behavior that leads to AIDS (supporting gay marriage, distribution 0f condoms)
Contradictions in Both Camps