Who Decided the Great Political Party Divide?
Most Western democratic nations have multi-party systems. But the United States is as close to a two-party system as any democracy has come. A look at presidential elections from 1896 to 1968 shows that 5 to 7 political parties were represented by a candidate. In fact, for the election of 1968, two candidates ran and represented “NO PARTY”: Dick Gregory and Eugene McCarthy. Richard M. Nixon won the election of 1968 and most Americans are familiar with “his story”.
Below is a table of all the different political parties represented during 1896 -1968.
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS 1896 thru 1968
Where Did These Parties Go?
Besides the obvious parties – i.e.
the Prohibitionists who disbanded because the 18th Amendment to the Constitution was repealed; and
the Communists who were hunted down and marked for being “unpatriotic” – what became of these other political parties?
One party – the Populist Party – is not even included in the chart because they merged with the Democrats to nominate William Jennings Bryan for the presidency. The slogan of the Populists was: “Wealth belongs to them who create it.” Yep. That’s probably why the Republicans won the election in 1896. It was a very bitter election.
- Prohibitionist societies – A study in failure
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- What is Communism, Socialism, & Marxism... Are They All the Same? And What About Fascism?
Communism; Is a theoretical Social System in which land and capital are collectively owned and class divisions do not exist (in theory.)-:also the name applied to the Socialist system controlled by ...
Want to Know What Happened?
Interested in knowing what finally divided the country in two? You want the long story or the short story? Doesn't matter. You're getting the short story. The long story would put everybody to sleep.
The move toward a two-party system, or rather ... since the "divide" was not pre-planned by conspirators ... there were three (3) major developments that occurred during the late sixties and early seventies which caused the average everyday American - like "Joe the plumber" - to gravitate either to the Republican side or to decide upon Democratic loyalty.
The Democrats supported the Civil Rights Movement. Racism reared its ugly head and those who were once Democrats switched to the Republicans.
The Democrats insisted on separation of church and state, while at the same time supporting equal rights for homosexuals and also supporting abortion. This position alienated religious conservatives who were Democrats but who decided that on the basis of their understanding of morality and their spiritual convictions they could not – with a clear conscience – support these stances. So they switched parties to support the Republicans.
The Democrats opposed the war in Vietnam vigorously. For the Democratic Americans who had a strong sense of national defense and truly believed in making the world safe for democracy, opposition to a war being fought to prevent the spread of Communism, somehow seemed unpatriotic. The contention was so strong and so loud, the protests against the war were enough to make loyal Democrats defect to the Republican party.
What Happened to All the Other Political Parties?
Racism, religion and patriotism are matters which many Americans feel very strongly about; strong enough to make them choose sides. To this day, in America, these three “causes” are the proverbial “straws” that can be used to break the proverbial “camel’s back” or in plain language – to get the votes.
So to any person intending to run for the office of the President of the United States, it’s not that hard to win the election. When addressing any group, just perceive the matters which are closest to the hearts of the people you’re trying to win and AIM!
Benjamin Martin: “Aim small, miss small.”
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Quote Source: “The Patriot” (2000) The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) . IMDb.com Inc. Web. 13 Aug. 2011.)
Further Reading on the 3 Developments:
- Civil Rights Movement in the 60's and 70's: Successes and Failure
The years between 1960 and 1975 were the pinnacle of civil rights progression for African-Americans dating back to Reconstruction and Nat Turner—or even prior with the United States outlawing of the slave trade in 1808 and the gradual invig
- What the Founders believed regarding the Separation of Church and State
The wall of Separation of church and state erected by Thomas Jefferson bears little resemblance to the wall erected in 1947 by the Supreme Court. Jefferson’s wall, created only an institutional separation at the federal level, whereas the courts have
- The Vietnam War
The Vietnam War in French Indochina: Ho Chi Minh, Rolling Thunder, Prisoners of War, atrocities, the anti-war movement, draft dodgers, Tet Offensive, President Johnson, Viet Cong, Paris Peace Accords.
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