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Nature of political parties
· The less centralised the govt the less centralised the
· Some national organisation but doesn't amount to much.
· Each has a national committee and party chairman: responsible for
the day to day running of the party and acts as a spokes person.
· Principally the parties are state based.
· National convention held once every four years.…read more

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Leadership of political parties
· US parties have no one who can truly be called the party
leader: so many divisions of the party even at state level
(County, district, city, precinct committees).
· President could be called the leader of the party, but the
party not in control of the white house does not have that
level of national leadership.
· Leaders in Congress (Speaker of the House, majority and
minority leaders) power doesn't really extend past Capitol
Hill.…read more

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State party power
· Can be seen during election times for members of
· Republican nomination for senate seat of Delaware in 2010 was
Mike Castle.
· However, the state Republican primary chose O'Donnell (tea
· Invariably it is the state party that holds the upper hand.
· The real power in political parties resides at state level.…read more

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Big issues that shaped the parties
· Form of govt:
· Federalists favoured centralised govt; Anti-federalists the opposite.
· Democracy:
· There was intense debate about the level of democracy that was to be written into the
workings of govt.
· Slavery:
· Democrats = south, Republicans = north. Pro and anti slavery respectively. Led to
polarisation of demographic who they represented.
· The Economy:
· Depression of the 1930's sent the Republicans into the wilderness like the Civil war did
for the Democrats. Democrats put tog New Deal coalition.
· Civil rights:
· 1950's onwards Democrats become champion of civil rights (introduce affirmative
actions programmes ­ brought an end to solid south).
· Role of federal govt:
· Role reversal from civil war era.…read more

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Ideology of the parties
Republicans Democrats
Conservative Liberal
Moderate, conservative, Christian Moderate, New, conservative
South = conservative democrats and North East = Liberal democrats and
republicans. moderate republicans.
1960's: Goldwater = conservative 1960's: JFK = Liberal Democrat
republican. pushing for civil rights.
1960's: Rockefeller of NYC = Liberal 1960's: Wallace of Alabama =
Republican. conservative Democrat who was an
unreformed racist.
Today the parties are much less diverse.
Democrats have lost most of their conservatives to the Republicans and
visa versa.…read more

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Old Sir

A very useful set of slides, covering most of the issues relating to the US party system. Many students will want to further investigate or refer to their own notes when reading that the Republican party appeals to more men than women and vice-versa for the Democrats. Further study should aim to attach evidence that can be sued for AO2 - evaluation and analysis.

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