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Political party

Political Parties[1][1]Hundreds of years ago the term politics was unheard of,the word layed scrambled among the alphabet, and the power behind the undeveloped word lied still. Today, politics is a wellknown word to us all and the power behind it has governed us for many centuries. Differences of opinions in politics havecreated what we know as political parties. The political parties of the United States are the oldest in the world; amongDemocratic nations, they may also be the weakest. American voters attitudes and traditions are big factors in what makesour parties weak.[1]A Political Party is a group that seeks to elect candidates to public office by giving them a party identification. Although there are more than two political parties, the Democratic and Republican Parties, they have dominated thepolitical system for hundreds of years. Other parties that exist but, are not very familiar are the Whig Party, LibertarianParty, Socialist Worker Party, Communist Party of the United States of America, National Hamiltonian Party, NationalProhibition Party, Peace and Freedom Party, and the Know-Nothing Party.[1]In the United States, the labels of the two major political parties have always had a relatively strong appeal for thevoters. Because of that, third parties and independent candidates have rarely had much competitive success at thenational or even the state level. There has hardly, maybe never, been a strong national party organization in this country.Though there have, however, been long periods in which certain state, city, and county components of the Democratic andRepublican Parties have been organizationally powerful.[1]Political Parties were developed because of differences in opinions on subjects; each party was comprised of individuals with similar views. The question that seems to come into mind often is, "How do the parties really differ?" The answer isvery complex, much depending on what aspect of the party we are looking at: their history, their policies and platforms,their leadership, their rank, and their level of government--national, state, or local. A lot of it also dependson our own view of how we see it from where we sit.[1]During the New Deal, the difference between the Democrats and Republicans was clear to everyone. At one time there wasa great difference between all the Political Parties, but things have changed and the lines between the parties have blurred.[1]Political Parties went through many name changes beforeany were final. Thomas Jefferson's party was known as the Democratic-Republican Party. By 1791, Jeffersonian Republicanswere emerging as an opposition political party. Although its leaders hesitated to use a name associated with the French Revolution, the party remained in power until the election ofJohn Quincy Adams in 1824. It returned to power with the election of Andrew Jackson, and soon after became known as theDemocratic Party (Bender 698).[1]The Republican Party is the younger of the two major parties in the United States. In 1854, the Republican Party wasorganized to oppose the extension of slavery into the territories. Republicans first captured the presidency in 1860under the leadership of Abraham Lincoln. His election was followed by the Civil War, during which the Republican Partybecame the majority party (Reichley 433). The Republican Party was born in an outburst of protest against the Kansas-NebraskaBill in 1852 (455). After the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, opponents of the measure held a series of conventions thatled to the formation of the Republican Party. [1]By 1860, Republicans were in a strong position. The Whig Party had disappeared, the Know-Nothing Party had faded, andthe Democratic Party was divided over the issue of slavery. (Linden 69-73). In 1860, a four-way presidential race broughtvictory to the Republican candidate. It was Abraham Lincoln who won a majority of the electoral votes. However, theRepublican victory was a narrow sectional one. The Republican Party was the first, and thus far the only, third party inAmerican history to succeed in becoming one of the two major parties (Binkley 173).[1]Our major parties have been expected to take on many heavytasks. At times in our history, they have performed admirably and at times they have been found lacking. Since early political parties lacked the tight organization of present-day parties,candidates were chosen by a few congressional leaders. They were chosen at a party caucus. The caucus system was successfuluntil the 1820's when many Americans became resentful of "King Caucus." The Americans then called for a change.[1]In the election of 1824, 3 of the 4 presidential candidates were chosen by state conventions or state legislatures instead of by caucuses (Nichols 217). Rather quickly, political partiesbegan to hold national conventions to choose presidential candidates. The delegates to these conventions did give moreparty members a voice in choosing candidates.[1]Parties serve as unifying factors at times: drawing together the president, senators, representatives, and sometimeseven judges behind common programs. But political parties, have weakened by having to work through a system of fragmentedgovernmental power. This was so we would never develop a strong party. Since 1954, the electorate have chosen to put Democratsin charge of congress and a Republican in charge of the White House (Burns 32).[1]Many Americans have mixed feelings about parties. Theythink parties: evade the issues, fail to deliver on their promises, have no new ideas, and they are sources of corruptionand misgovernment. Parties follow public opinion rather than lead it. Other Americans favor political parties and take partin it. Most Americans believe in voting for individual candidates, regardless of party label. There are many political parties that enter candidatesin national elections. The Democrats and Republicans seem tobe the most common. Democrats and Republicans also hold sharply contrasting images of one another. As we entered the 1990'sDemocrats consider the Republican party to be a John Wayne/Rambo/tough-guy party that talks a hard line againstcommunists and terrorists in foreign affairs. They are also against criminals and welfare cheats. Republicans considerthe Democratic Party to be the party of "the losers, the lame and the lazy." The party that will not meet the nation'sresponsibilities in the world arena. The party that is too soft toward the communists abroad. They are too tolerant offringe groups at home: the feminists, the gays, and "troublemakers" in general. Reagan's shift, late in hispresidency, toward a friendlier stance toward Moscow, and Bush's mixed approach hardly altered these contrasting images (Burns236).[1]Our nation began without political parties; today political parties, though far from extinct, are about as weak as at anytime in our history. Some party experts fear the parties are so weak they are mortally ill--or at least in a long decline. They point first to the long-run impact of the progressive reforms early in this century. It was the reforms that robbedparty organizations of their control. Their control of nomination process by allowing masses of independents and "uniformed" votersto enter the primaries and vote for candidates who might not be accepted the to party leaders. They also point to a long series of "reforms." The nonpartisan elections in cities andtowns, the staggering of national, state, and local elections. This made it harder for parties to influence the electionprocess. [1]Some parties suffer from further ills today. The rise of television and video cassette campaigns, media, anddirect-mail consultants, have denied parties their historic role. The role of educating, mobilizing, and channeling theelectorate. In addition, partly as a result of media influence, the most powerful electoral forces today are officeseeker oroffice holder organizations. Not the party organizations. Officeseekers are supported by money and media. They organize their personal followings to win nominations while the partyleaders are supposed to stand by nuetrally. If they win office, they are far more responsive to their personal followings thanto the party leadership. [1] The truth of the matter is, the two-party system in the United States does not offer voters a meaningful choice. Somepoliticians and scholars, both Republican and Democrat, are more intrested in party renewal than party reform. In theirview or at least in the view, of the "party pessimistes", the party system needs to be strengthened, not reformed. Thosethat fortify the party as an organization would nurse both the elephant and the donkey back to health and vitality before theywould teach either animal how to improve its ways. Everyone has their own opinions about political parties and how they should be run. There have been many changes over the years since political parties started to develope. Although some may agree with them and some may not, but this is howpolitical parties operateWorks Cited[1][1]Bender, David. ۊAmecican Elections. San Diego, CA: GreenhavenPress, Inc., 1988. (pg. 698) [1][1]Binkley, Wilfred. ۊAmerican Political Parties. New York: AlfredA. Knopf, 1945. (pg. 173)[1][1]Burns, James. ۊGovernment by the People. New Jersey: Prentice[1]Hall, Inc., 1952. (pg. 32)[1][1]Linden, Glenn. Legacy of Freedom. Sacramento, [1]California: Laidlaw Brothers, 1986. (pg. 69-73)[1][1]Nichols, Roy. The Invention of the American Political Parties. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1967. (pg. 217)[1][1]Reichley, James. ۊThe Life of the Parties. New York: The FreePress, 1992. (pg. 433-445)[1][1][1][1][1] [1][1][1]Parties[1][1] I. Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1[1][1] II. Different Types of Political Parties. . . . . . . 1[1][1] III. Two-Party Development. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .[1] A. Democrats. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [1] B. Republics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .[1][1] IV. Choosing Leaders. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [1] A. Caucuses. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .[1] B. Conventions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .[1][1] V. Opinions of Political Parties. . . . . . . . . . .[1][1] VI. Political Parties Today. . . . . . . . . . . . . .[1] A. Entering Elections. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .[1] B. Nation without Political Parties. . . . . . .[1] C. Campaigns. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .[1][1] VII. Conclusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6-7[1]

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