9780226012728

Why Parties?

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780226012728

  • ISBN10:

    0226012727

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1995-06-01
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
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List Price: $22.00

Summary

Why did the United States develop political parties? How and why do party alignments change? Are the party-centered elections of the past better for democratic politics than the candidate-centered elections of the present? In this landmark book, John Aldrich goes beyond the clamor of arguments over whether American political parties are in resurgence or decline and undertakes a wholesale reexamination of the foundations of the American party system. Surveying three critical episodes in the development of American political parties--from their formation in the 1790s to the Civil War--Aldrich shows how parties serve to combat three fundamental problems of democracy: how to regulate the number of people seeking public office; how to mobilize voters; and how to achieve and maintain the majorities needed to accomplish goals once in office. Overcoming these obstacles, argues Aldrich, is possible only with political parties. Aldrich brings this innovative account up to date by looking at the profound changes in the character of political parties since World War II. In the 1960s, he shows, parties started to become candidate-centered organizations that are servants to their office seekers and officeholders. Aldrich argues that this development has revitalized parties, making them stronger, and more vital, with well-defined cleavages and highly effective governing ability.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Political Parties and Democracy
Politics and Parties in America
Why Parties Form
Party Formation in America, 1790-1860
Founding the First Parties: Institutions and Social Choice
Jacksonian Democracy: The Mass Party and Collective Action
Whigs and Republicans: Institutions, Issue Agendas, and Ambition
The New Political Party in Contemporary America
Party Activists and Partisan Cleavages in Contemporary Elections
Political Parties and Governance
The Critical Era of the 1960s
Conclusions
Political Parties, Historical Dynamics, and Democratic Politics
References
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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