Chapter 5

Chapter 5: Political Parties
Chapter 5 Activity
- Due Friday October 25, 2013
 Select an American political party other than
the two major parties and construct a profile of
that party. Your profile should tell when the
party was founded, who founded it, the
principles upon which it was founded, its
degree of political success over the years, and
whether it is currently fielding candidates for
office. Present your findings to the class.
 The nature and functions of parties in American
 The reasons for the existence of the American two-
party system.
 The evolution of American political parties.
 The nature and role of minor parties in American
 The structure and composition of the two major
Chapter 5 Vocabulary
Political parties
Major parties
Minor party
Two-party system
Single-member district
Pluralistic society
11. One-party system
12. Electorate
13. Ideological parties
14. Single-issue parties
15. Economic protest
Splinter parties
Split-ticket voting
Chapter 5: Section 1 – Parties
and What They Do
 What is a political party?
 What do political parties do?
Future Essay Question
Does the two-party system help or harm
What Is A Party?
 Broad definition - Political party: group of
persons who seek to control government through
the winning of elections and the holding of public
 Specific definition – Political party: group of
persons joined together with common principles,
who seek to control government in order to secure
adoption of certain public policies and programs.
What is a Party?
 Major parties: dominant political parties in the United States
(Democrat and Republican). They are not issue-oriented, but
election oriented.
The specific definition of political parties does not work for the
major parties.
3 Elements:
The party organization: people who giver their time, money,
and skills. Run the party at the National, State, and local levels.
The party in government: candidates and officeholders in the
executive, legislative, and judicial branches at the federal, state,
and local levels.
The party in the electorate: people labeled Republican or
Democrat, support the party and its candidates through thick
and thin. Cast votes on basis of party label.
Political Parties
What Is A Party?
 Republicans and Democrats do not regularly agree
with one another on public questions.
 Not all political persons are one-minded in
politics. Instead each party is a coalition: union
of many persons of diverse interests who have
come together to get their candidates elected to
public office. (economic, racial, religious,
regional, and ideological groupings)
3. Why would political parties be
essential to American Government?
What Do Parties Do?
 Political parties:
 Essential to democratic government.
 Develop broad policy and leadership choices.
 Vital link between the people and their
What Do Parties Do?
 Political parties:
 Serve the democratic ideal.
 They are “power brokers” – work to blunt conflict.
 Seek to modify contending views of various interests
and groups.
Encourage compromise.
Help unify rather than divide the American people.
Often successful in softening the impact of extremists
at both ends of the political spectrum.
Parties are indispensable to democratic government.
Stop! Question
4. How do political parties inform the people?
What Do Parties Do?
 Political Parties:
 Inform people and stimulate their interest and
participation in public affairs.
 (News media and interest groups also do this).
 Inform the people to their advantage.
 Ex) pamphlets, signs, buttons, stickers,
advertisements in newspapers/magazines ,
radio, TV, rallies, conventions, etc.
Stop! Question
5. How does our two-party system HELP democracy?
6. How does our two- party system limit democracy?
What Do Parties Do?
 Political Parties:
 Criticize opposing candidates and the positions they
Shape positions that will attract voters, and at the same
time offend as few as possible.
“Bonding agent” – ensures good performance of
candidates and elected officeholders. Failure to do so
will affect future candidates and elections.
Men and women are both qualified and of good
Partisanship: strong support of party and policy
What Do Parties Do?
 Political parties:
 Bring conflicting groups together.
 Reason the will of the people is made known the
 Modify and compromise the views of different
interests and groups, help to unify.
 Major function: to nominate candidates for
public office.
What Do Parties Do?
 Political parties:
 Want to win elections, has much to do with the
positions they take on most issues.
 Try to attract many voters.
 Pick candidates who are qualified and of good
character…. Or at least that they have no serious issues
on public record.
 Prompt successful candidates to perform well in office.
What Do Parties Do?
 Political parties:
 Provide a basis for the conduct of government.
 Must cooperate with one another if the
government is to accomplish anything.
 U.S. government by party. Ex) public officers
often chosen regularly on the basis of party.
 Party considerations given at Federal and State
What Do Parties Do?
 Political Parties:
 Congress and States legislatures organized
along party lines.
 Political parties have played a large part in
the constitutional change process.
 Ex) presidential election, reshaped by parties
to work.
What Do Parties Do?
 Political Parties:
 Act as a watchdog over the conduct of the
public’s business. Ex) criticizes the policies
and behavior of the party in power.
Stop! Questions
“There are many people of principle in both parties
in America, but there is no party of principles”
7. Do party affiliations corrupt otherwise principled
public servants?
8. Explain why a person might consider a vote for a
minor-party candidate even knowing that
candidate is not likely going to win.
Due Friday October 25, 2013
Select an American political party other than the
two major parties and construct a profile of that
party. Your profile should tell when the party was
founded, who founded it, the principles upon
which it was founded, its degree of political success
over the years, and whether it is currently fielding
candidates for office. Present your findings to the
Using your textbook
Chapter 5 – Section 2: The
Two-Party System
 For what reasons does the United States have a
two-party system?
 What are multiparty and one-party systems?
 What is the nature of party membership?
Reasons For The Two-party System
 Minor parties: one of the less widely supported
parties in the political party system.
 Two party system rooted in the history of our
nation, since the ratification of the U.S.
Constitution – Federalists and Anti-Federalists.
Reasons For The Two-party System
 Tradition: Accept the idea of a two-party system
b/c there has always been one.
 Electoral system promotes the existence of two
major parties.
 American people share much of the same ideals,
principles, and beliefs.
Two major parties
Two-party system
 Multi-party system: system in which several
major and many lesser parties exist.
 Each party is based on some particular interest.
Ex) economics, political ideology, religious beliefs,
 One-party system: similar to a “no party” system.
 Often seen in dictatorships, but in a sense present
in the United States. Ex) Democrats dominate
South, Republicans dominate New England.
Membership of the Parties
 Membership in a party is purely voluntary.
 The two major parties - broadly based and include
people from various cultures.
 Some join a specific political party because of
family reasons.
 Major events have also influenced party choice.
Ex) Civil War and the Great Depression.
 There are many other reasons why people choose
to belong to political parties.
Chapter 5 – Section 3: The TwoParty System in American History
 How have political parties developed during the
history of this country?
 Which two American political parties have
dominated the nation’s politics for more than 125
Nation’s First Parties
 Federalist party: first party to appear; led by
Hamilton; said to be the party of “the rich and wellborn”; appealed to financial, manufacturing, and
commercial interests; and urged liberal
interpretation of the Constitution.
 Anti-Federalist party: Also known as the
Democratic-Republicans; lead by Jefferson;
sympathetic to the “common man”; favored a limited
role of government; Congress should dominate the
government; wanted to help farmers, shopkeepers,
laborers, and planters.
Era of One-Party Domination
1. The Era of the Democrats, 1800-1860
2. The Era of the Republicans, 1860-1932
3. The Return of the Democrats, 1932-1968
4. The Start of a New Era, 1968-Present
Chapter 5 – Section 4: The
Minor Parties
 What are the different types of minor parties?
 What is the importance of minor parties?
Minor Parties in the U.S.
 It is hard to classify and describe minor parties
because of their number and variety.
 However, four distinct types of minor parties
can be identified: ideological, single-issue,
economic protest, and splinter parties.
Minor Parties in the U.S.
 Key role of Minor Parties: 1st to use a national
convention, critics, innovators, take clear
stands on controversial issues, 1st to bring
issues to the public’s attention Ex) women’s
suffrage, banking regulations, old-age
pensions, progressive income tax.
 Major parties have stolen their ideas.
Minor Parties in the U.S.
1. Ideological: based on a particular set of beliefs;
social, economic, and political matters.
2. Single-issue: concentrating on a single public
policy matter.
3. Economic protest: rooted in periods of economic
discontent, often proclaim disgust of the major
4. Splinter: parties have split away from one of the
major parties, most of the more important
political parties have been of this kind.
Chapter 5 – Section 5: The
Organization of Political Parties
 What factors make both major parties such
highly decentralized organizations?
 How are the major parties organized?
 What are the three basic elements of a major
 What factors explain the current state of
parties and the party system?
Reality of Political Parties
 Political parties: decentralized, fragmented,
disjointed, often have internal squabbling,
neither party has a chain of command running
through the State to local level.
 They have no clear leader of their party, the wide
distribution of elected offices and the
nominating process lends itself to the
decentralization of political parties.
National Party Machinery
 National convention: party’s national voice, meets
in the summer of every presidential election year
to nominate the party’s presidential and vicepresidential candidates.
 National Committee: between conventions it
handles the party’s affairs, appears to be powerful,
but it doesn’t have much clout, most of their work
centers on staging the party’s national convention
every four years.
National Party Machinery
 National Chairperson: heads up the national
committee in each party, chosen to a 4-year term,
in election years it focuses on the national
convention and campaign, in between elections
they try to strengthen the party and its fortunes.
 Congressional Campaign Committee: each party
has one, work to reelect incumbents and to save
the seats given up by retiring party members, serve
for 2 years.
National Party Machinery
 State Organization: headed by a State
chairperson; fronts for governor, senator, or some
other powerful leader or group of a State; work to
further the party’s interests in a State; can be a
complicated job.
 Local Organization: widely vary, usually follow
the electoral map of a State, party units for each
district are filled.
Future of Major Parties
 Political Parties: many people have mixed feelings
about political parties, viewed as necessary, but
need to be closely watched, have been in a period
of decline since the 1960’s, several factors have led
to their weakness.
 Split-ticket voting: voting for candidates of both
parties for different offices in the same election.
 Less party affiliation, structural changes, changes
in technology campaigning, growth of single-issue
organizations, etc.

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