A 7 page discussion of the development of political parties. Today, the political party in effect
determines who will occupy the most powerful seats of our nation's government. While in theory elections are driven by the vote of the people, in
reality they are driven by the power of the candidate's respective party. Campaigns today have, in fact, become more candidate-centered than they are issue-centered. Bibliography lists 4 sources.
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The development of political parties in the United States is one of the more interesting aspects of our political history. From the evolution of the early "elite
"parties through the "mass party" period to the modern "post-alignment" system, political parties have claimed an increasing percentage of power on the political landscape. Today, the political party in
effect determines who will occupy the most powerful seats of our nations government. While in theory elections are driven by the vote of the people, in reality they are
driven by the power of the candidates respective party. Campaigns today have, in fact, become more candidate-centered than they are issue-centered. American
history is replete with a number of political ideologies and developments. One of the underlying themes was the development of the two-partied political system that we observe today.
The two-party system was not something which was envisioned and agreed upon during the early history of the country, however. Indeed, it entailed considerable disagreement and controversy. Developing
a suitable system, however, was at the forefront of our founding fathers concerns even during the earliest years of our history. This development, in fact, went hand-in-hand with the
concept of democracy itself. Political parties emerged as important entities in the management of power in American democracy relatively early in our history.
Irish and Prothro (1971) note political parties are peaceable agencies which are instrumental in expressing public reaction to government:
"Political parties may be viewed as democratic equivalents of groups found in all governments- those supporting the established regime and those conspiring to overthrow it".