The American Political Party System

I have concluded that many, if not most, people who speak and/or write about the political party system in the United States have little, if any, real knowledge of the various political party systems that have existed in the United States. It is my opinion that those who criticize the American political party system should do so from a perspective of knowledge rather than a perspective of ignorance. Consequently, I am recommending four articles from Wikipedia to assist these people in a quest for enlightenment. If, and after, reading the four articles, maybe, just maybe, the ill-informed pundits may change their tune, and hopefully seek even more knowledge on the subject, but I doubt it on both counts.

Using your computer mouse, click on the title of each of the four following Wikipedia articles in order to open a new browser window to read the corresponding article:
First Party System
Second Party System
Third Party System
Fourth Party System

About Roland Louis Hansen

I have been: an organization development consultant; a college-level instructor of political science, psychology, and sociology; a public administrator; a social worker; an elected official; a political operative; a community activist; a union official; a shoe salesman and manager, a factory worker; a fast food restaurant employee; and, a custodian.
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5 Responses to The American Political Party System

  1. Tim Higgins says:


    There is certainly nothing inherently wrong with elected officials gathering with a common purpose, agenda, and platform. In a Representative Republic, having them do so to achieve a common goal is the only way that anything could be done in government. If some of them doing so choose to call themselves a caucus or political party, hooray for them.

    What started off as something that even Alexander Hamilton (who formed the first political party in this country, the Federalist) feared, has become perverted in ways that I’m not sure even he could have foreseen.

    Where is there anything today but politically expedient (and not as was hoped for) party ideology? Where is the soaring rhetoric and spirited debate between those holding opposing opinions being held without rancor? (Like we have in some parts of the blogosphere) When did compromise become conceding defeat on a political scoreboard?

    While the concept of political parties may indeed have validity, the perversion currently being perpetrated bears no relation to the historical references that you site. I have said before and will say again that political discourse must be more than scoring points for one team or the other. The two bullies on the field have seemingly now rigged the game so that no one else can play, circumventing the natural evolution of political parties throughout this country’s history; and turning the process into little more than a macabre dance and a form of political self-gratification.


    • Aptly stated, mi amigo Tim. Note that the Fourth Party System ended around 1932 corresponding with the election of FDR, with no emergence of a Fifth Party System yet identified. That seems to be the beginning of the end, er, I mean what we have now, as you have very well explained. While there continues to be numerous minor political parties, the primary election system that has evolved replacing the party caucuses and conventions of previous times (not those of today) has pretty much sealed our fate. The irony of primary elections (at taxpayer expense) is that they are an outgrowth of the cry for reform in allowing everyday folks to have more a say in the party nominee. Two points: 1) Most everyday folks are not well informed on the political parties; 2) The result has been the two major party monopolization of the primary election process.


  2. Judy says:

    Repost from a FB friend-
    John Derinzy
    “Perfect example of why you do NOT elect the President: Ron Paul has the second largest campaign war chest behind the douchbag Romney but gets no news coverage. Is it because he is to right on about what needs to change with this country? Or maybe that he wants to live by the Constitution and not a dictatorship? Let’s return this country to a Republic people and elect Ron Paul. It’s disappointing that he is running as a Republican. The only way to fix the system is to abolish the two party system and the electoral vote.”


  3. I will continue until this country comes back to its senses and elects a slate of business managers whose stated purpose is to:
    Pay down/off the national debt.

    Stop wasting our money on so-called foreign aid.

    Stop the proliferation of Marxist give-away programs designed to redistribute our wealth and prolong the growing dependency on perpetual welfare.

    Make this country financially solvent and dependent solely on its own energy resources.

    Maybe then will other countries see the wisdom in living within their means, instead of foisting the costs of their (our) high living ways upon future generations. . .

    I continue to hope. . .


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