You are here

Guide to U.S. Political Parties

Guide to U.S. Political Parties

Edited by:

June 2014 | 456 pages | CQ Press

This one-volume reference presents the major conceptual approaches to the study of U.S. political parties and the national party system, describing the organization and behavior of U.S. political parties in thematic, narrative chapters that help undergraduate students better understand party origins, historical development, and current operations. Further, it provides researchers with in-depth analysis of important subtopics and connections to other aspects of politics. 

Key Features:

  • Thematic, narrative chapters, organized into six major parts, provide the context, as well as in-depth analysis of the unique system of party politics in the United States.
  • Top analysts of party politics provide insightful chapters that explore how and why the U.S. parties have changed over time, including major organizational transformations by the parties, behavioral changes among candidates and party activists, and attitudinal changes among their partisans in the electorate.
  • The authors discuss the way the traditional concept of formal party organizations gave way over time to a candidate-centered model, fueled in part by changes in campaign finance, the rise of new communication technologies, and fragmentation of the electorate.

This book is an ideal reference for students and researchers who want to develop a deeper understanding of the current challenges faced by citizens of republican government in the United States. 

About the Editor
Marjorie Randon Hershey and Edward M. Burmila
Who is Included in a "Party"?  
Different Definitions of "Party"  
Central Themes in the Study of Political Parties  
Plan of the Guide  
Part I. What Are Parties For?
Mark D. Brewer and Jeffrey M. Stonecash
1. Parties and the Respone to Change: The Representation and Mobilization of Divisions in a Nation
The Nature of Party Coalitional Change  
Parties, Conflict, and the Challenge of Social Change  
Partisan Responses to Change  
Jamie L. Carson
2. Political Parties: Recruiting Leaders and Structuring Elections
Relationships Between Political Parties and Their Candidates  
Challenges to the Parties' Role Posed by Progressive Era Reforms  
Unintended Consequences of Candidate-Selection Reforms  
Decline and Resurgence of Parties' Roles in Nominating Candidates and Structuring Elections  
How the Parties Regained an Important Role in Campaigns  
Frances E. Lee
3. Parties as Coordinators: Can Parties Unite What the Constitution Divides?
Parties as Centralizers: Theory and Practice  
Building Majorities: Procedural and Substantive  
Enacting Policies  
Do Parties Promote Policy Coherence?  
Bridging the Separation of Powers?  
Promoting Accountability  
The Parties and the Constitution  
Hans Noel
4. What the Parties Stand For
Understanding Changes in Party Philosophies  
The First Party System (1789-1824): The Great Principle  
The Second Party System (1828-1854): Reemergent Conflict  
The Third Party System (1854-1892): The Irresistible Force of Slavery  
The Fourth Party System (1896-1932): The Progressive Era  
The Fifth Party System (1932-) and Beyond: Liberalism Versus Conservatism  
Party Ideologies in the Twenty-First Century  
Paul A. Beck
5. Parties in the American Political Environment: Shaped, Adaptive, and Shapers
The Constitutional Framework and Political Parties  
The Uniqueness of the American Parties  
Environmental Change and Shifting Powers Within Parties  
The Lens Reversed: Parties Shaping Their Environments  
Emerging Environmental Challenges to the Parties  
Part II. Historical Development of the Parties
6. The Origins and Development of U.S. Political Parties, 1790-1861
Clashing Views About Government  
The Parties’ Coalitions  
The Parties Fade  
A Populist Party System  
The Rise of Van Buren  
Party Organizations  
The Whigs and the Democrats  
Sectional Tension  
New Parties Arise  
Jeffrey D. Grynaviski
7. Political Parties in the Age of Industrialization: From Their Golden Age Through the Progressive Era
The Golden Age of Parties  
Political Party Organization  
Voter Behavior  
The Progressive Era  
Kristi Andersen
8. Constructing a New Majority: The Depression, the New Deal, and the Democrats
Party Politics in the 1920s  
A Changing Electorate  
The Great Depression and Party Politics  
The Mechanics of Political Change: Mobilization and Conversion  
The Democrats Organize a Coalition  
Party System Consolidation  
Jeffery A. Jenkins
9. Partisanship, Sectionalism, and Race: Civil Rights and Party Development From the 1950s Through the 1970s
Background to the Era  
The Eisenhower Years  
The Kennedy/Johnson Years  
The Nixon/Ford Years  
The Carter Years and Beyond  
David Karol
10. Parties Revised and Revived: Democrats and Republicans in the Age of Reagan, 1980 to 2000
Parties in the Electorate: The End of Democratic Dominance  
Changing Party Coalitions  
The Parties and the Presidency  
The Parties in Congress  
The Democratic Response to Reagan  
Third-Party Developments in the 1980s and 1990s  
Conclusion: Parties Revised and Revived  
Casey B.K. Dominguez
11. Polarization and Volatility: The State of the Party System in the Twenty-First Century
Political Events in the First Decade of the Twenty-First Century  
The Party as Organization  
Party in the Electorate  
Party in Government  
Understanding Outcomes  
Prospects for Future Change  
Part III. Party Organizations
Daniel DiSalvo
12. The Nature of Party Organizations
Party Structures  
Party Development  
Party Organizations in Congress  
Vladimir Kogan
13. From Machines to Service Centers: The Evolution of State and Local Political Parties
The Anatomy of the Party  
Machine Politics in the City  
Era of Political Reform  
Adaptation and Resurgence: Party Activities in the Modern Era  
Survival in the Twenty-First Century: Emerging Challenges  
Daniel J. Galvin
14. The Transformation of the National Party Committees
The Timing and Process of Party Change  
The Republican National Committee’s Transformation Into a Service Institution  
The Democratic National Committee’s Delayed Transformation Into a Service Institution  
Paul S. Herrnson
15. The Impact of Reform on National Party Financing and Campaigning
The Institutional Setting  
Party Finance During the Golden Age  
Party Finance and the Federal Election Campaign Act  
Party Finance and the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act  
Party Finance in the Post-BCRA Era  
Political Parties as Enduring Multilayered Coalitions  
Geoffrey C. Layman
16. Party Activists
Perspectives on Parties and Party Activists  
Amateurs and Professionals: The Political Incentives and Norms of Party Activists  
Party Activists and Partisan Change  
Activists and Party Polarization  
Ronald B. Rapoport and Justin de Benedictis-Kessner
17. Vote-Seeking Third Parties in the Twentieth Century
Categorizations of Third Parties  
Factional Parties  
Regional Versus National Parties  
Characteristics of Candidates and Campaigns  
Third Parties and the Institutional Environment  
The Institutional Context  
Opportunities for Success: The Political Environment  
Comparing the Campaigns  
The Dynamic of Third Parties  
Part IV. Parties in the Electorate
Marc J. Hetherington
18. The Nature of Partisan Identification
What Is Partisanship?  
The Distribution of Partisanship  
Where Party Identification Comes From  
Beyond Socialization and Groups  
The Effects of Party Identification  
Logan Dancey
19. Party Identification and Issue Attitudes
The Partisan Divide  
How Voters Align Party and Issues Positions  
The Normative Implications  
Conclusions and Remaining Questions  
Russell J. Dalton
20. Independents and American Elections
The Evidence of Weakening Party Ties  
The Consequences of Dealignment  
Independents and Electoral Politics  
Barbara Norrander
21. Primary Elections and Caucuses
Direct Primaries  
The Presidential Nomination Process  
Concerns About Primary Elections  
Helmut Norpoth
22. Partisanship in General Elections
Party Identification and the Vote  
Rivals of Party Identification  
Issue Opinions in General Elections  
Candidate Perceptions in General Elections  
The Impact of Issues and Candidates  
Cycles and Equilibrium in General Elections  
Thomas M. Carsey
23. Differing Views on Polarization of the Electorate
Is the Electorate Polarized Now?  
Causes of Party Polarization in the Electorate  
The Consequences of Party Polarization in the Electorate  
Part V. Parties in Government
Bruce I. Oppenheimer
24. Ebbs and Flows in the Power of Congressional Party Leaders Since 1910
Moving in Opposite Directions, 1910–1915  
Republican Dominance Followed by Democratic Control, 1919–1937  
The Conservative Coalition and the Independent Power of Committee Chairs, 1937-1970  
The Return of Stronger Parties, 1970 to the Present 317  
Jennifer Hayes Clark and Gerald C. Wright
25. Differences in Party Leadership and Control Among the U.S. House, U.S. Senate, and State Legislatures
Legislative Leadership: Structure and Organization  
Where’s the Party? Assessing Contemporary Debates of Party Power  
Leadership, Gatekeeping Rights, and Majority Roll Rates  
Analyses and Results  
Jesse H. Rhodes
26. What Influence Do the Parties Have in the Presidency and the Bureaucracy?
Parties, the Presidency, and the Constitution  
The Rise of Political Parties and the Transformation of the Presidency  
The Progressive Movement and Challenges to the Nineteenth-Century Party System  
The Modern Presidency and the Transformation of the American Party System  
From the High Tide of the Modern Presidency to the Reemergence of Party Politics  
David R. Jones
27. Partisan Control of Government and Public Policy
Party Differentiation in Policy Preferences  
Presidential Relations With Copartisans  
Policy Outcomes Under Divided Versus Unified Government  
Policy Outcomes Under Democratic Versus Republican Control  
Changes in Party Control  
Marjorie Randon Hershey and Jessica Gall Myrick
28. Political Parties and the Changing Media Environment
Relationships Between the Parties and the Media  
How the Party-Media Relationship Has Changed  
How Parties Use the Digital Media  
How the Media Constrain the Parties’ Goals  
Part VI. Parties in Their Environment
Richard M. Skinner
29. Political Parties and Interest Groups: Parties as Networks
Groups and the Party Networks  
Members of the Party Networks  
Interest Groups and Political Parties: Personnel and Resources  
Groups as Policy Demanders  
Party-Group Tensions  
John J. Coleman
30. The Standard of Responsible Parties
The Debate Over Responsible and Functional Parties  
Challenges Facing Responsible Parties in the United States  
Episodes of Responsible Party Government  
The Current Era and Party Responsibility  
Polarization and the Responsible Party Ideal  
Lawrence R. Jacobs
31. Political Parties and Economic Inequality
Political Parties and Economic Structure  
Information and Power  
So What?  
Disciplined Parties and Democracy  
Marjorie Randon Hershey
Selecting Leaders  
Policy Coordination Within Government  
Holding Leaders Accountable  
What Happens Next?  
Summing Up  

Preview this book

For instructors

This book is not available as an inspection copy. For more information contact your local sales representative.

Purchasing options

Please select a format:

ISBN: 9781452267807

SAGE Knowledge is the ultimate social sciences digital library for students, researchers, and faculty. Hosting more than 4,400 titles, it includes an expansive range of SAGE eBook and eReference content, including scholarly monographs, reference works, handbooks, series, professional development titles, and more.

The platform allows researchers to cross-search and seamlessly access a wide breadth of must-have SAGE book and reference content from one source.

SAGE Knowledge brings together high-quality content from across our imprints, including CQ Press and Corwin titles.