Why Parties?: A Second Look

Paperback | May 1, 2011

byJohn H. Aldrich

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Since its first appearance fifteen years ago, Why Parties? has become essential reading for anyone wishing to understand the nature of American political parties. In the interim, the party system has undergone some radical changes. In this landmark book, now rewritten for the new millennium, John H. Aldrich goes beyond the clamor of arguments over whether American political parties are in resurgence or decline and undertakes a wholesale reexamination of the foundations of the American party system.


Surveying critical episodes in the development of American political parties—from their formation in the 1790s to the Civil War—Aldrich shows how they serve to combat three fundamental problems of democracy: how to regulate the number of people seeking public office, how to mobilize voters, and how to achieve and maintain the majorities needed to accomplish goals once in office. Aldrich brings this innovative account up to the present by looking at the profound changes in the character of political parties since World War II, especially in light of ongoing contemporary transformations, including the rise of the Republican Party in the South, and what those changes accomplish, such as the Obama Health Care plan. Finally, Why Parties? A Second Look offers a fuller consideration of party systems in general, especially the two-party system in the United States, and explains why this system is necessary for effective democracy.

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Since its first appearance fifteen years ago, Why Parties? has become essential reading for anyone wishing to understand the nature of American political parties. In the interim, the party system has undergone some radical changes. In this landmark book, now rewritten for the new millennium, John H. Aldrich goes beyond the clamor of a...

John H. Aldrich  is the Pfizer-Pratt University Professor of Political Science at Duke University. He is the author and coauthor of numerous books and articles, as well as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and recipient of the American Political Science Association’s Samuel J. Eldersveld Career Achievement Award.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:400 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:May 1, 2011Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226012743

ISBN - 13:9780226012742

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

PART 1 POLITICAL PARTIES AND DEMOCRACY
1 Politics and Parties in America
2 Why Parties Form

PART 2 PARTY FORMATION IN AMERICA, 1790–1860
Prologue
3 Founding the First Parties
Institutions and Social Choice
4 Jacksonian Democracy
The Mass Party and Collective Action
5 Whigs and Republicans
Institutions, Issue Agendas, and Ambition

PART 3 THE NEW POLITICAL PARTY IN CONTEMPORARY AMERICA
Prologue
6 Party Activists and Partisan Cleavages
7 Political Parties and Governance
8 The Critical Era of the 1960s

PART 4 CONCLUSIONS
9 Political Parties, Historical Dynamics, and Democratic Politics

Notes
References
Index