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American Government Unit 3, chapture 7 (TCN)


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Democratic Party
The party formed in 1828 by Andrew Jackson and his supporters from the Democratic-Republican party. The Democratic party remains one of the 2 primary parties in the American political system.
Democratic-Republican Party
The party formed by Thomas Jefferson in 1796. This party was the forerunner of the modern-day Democratic party.
divided government
Term used to describe a government in which the executive branch is controlled by one party and the legislative branch is controlled by another party.
A group that favors a particular action or policy out of self interest. This term also is used to describe any distinct group within a larger organization.
Federalist Party
The first political party in the US, formed in 1792 by proponents of the ratification of the Constitution.
Great Depression
A period of severe economic recession in the US and Europe that began with the stock market crash of 10/29/29, and concluded with the advent of WWII.
Great Society
The domestic programs of the Johnson administration of the 1960s. These programs were designed to address racial injustice and poverty by way of targeted federal action.
Voters or candidates who are not affiliated with a specific political party.
Monroe Doctrine
President James Monroe's 1823 claim that Europe did not have authority to intervene in the Western Hemisphere.
multiparty system
A political system in which many parties and their members participate competitively in elections and serve in public office.
national chairperson
The leading national spokesperson for a political party.
national committee
the body responsible for organizing each party's national convention and coordinating party activities at the national level.
national convention
The meeting held by each American political party once every four years. At this meeting, the party chooses its leadership, adopts a platform, and selects it candidates for president and vice president.
New Deal
The domestic programs designed by the administration of President FDR in order to address the economic and social problems created by the Great Depression.
party identification
Voter commitment to a political party.
A political party's written statement of basic principles, policy goals, and legislative proposals.
political party
An organization whose purpose is to elect its members to governmental office in order to gain power and to pursue certain public policies.
proportional representation
An electoral system in which elections are held in multimember districts, and seats within these districts are allocated according to the proportion of the vote received by each party.
Reagan Democrats
Traditionally Democratic voters who supported Ronald Reagan's bid for the presidency in the 1980 and 1984 elections.
Republican Party
The party created in the 1850s largely in opposition to slavery. The Republican Party is one of the 2 major American political parties that exist today.
state central committee
The organization responsible for coordinating party activities at the sate level.
state chairperson
The primary spokesperson for a party at the state level.
third parties
A term used to refer to active American political parties in addition to those of the Republicans and Democrats.
two-party system
A political system in which two parties dominate elections.
Whig Party
An American political party created in 1836 by those members of the Democratic-Republican Party who opposed President Andrew Jackson.
winner-take-all electoral system
A system in which the winner of an election is the candidate who receives a plurality but not necessarily a majority of the votes.
List the functiions that political parties are designed to serve in a democratic political system.
--Recruiting and supporting candidates.
--Educating, registering, and mobilizing voters.
--Building political coalitions among diverse societal interests.
--Providing a forum for deliberation.
--Offering competing policy programs to voters.
Did the founders of the American system of government favor political parties? Why or why not?
No. They warned against the dangers of political parties, which they depicted as narrow factions that would threaten national unity. Nonetheless, political elites representing both the Federalists and the Antifederalists played dominate roles in the organization of groups of like-minded citizens. Indeed, the Federalists formed the first American political party in the late 1700s.
Briefly describe the historical origins of the present-day Democratic Party.
The Dem. Party gets its roots from the Den-Rep Party that was founded by T. Jefferson in 1796. The Dem-Rep Party initially formed in opposition to the Federalist vision of a stronger, more centralized national government. It began to collapse in the early 1800s when opponents of President A.Jackson broke away to form the Whig Party. The remaining Dem-Reps who supported Jackson founded the Dem Party in 1828. The creation of this party represents the begining of the present day Dem party, which remains the oldest continuing party of the Western world.
Briefly describe the historical origins of the present-day Republican Party.
Opponents of slavery founded the present-day Rep Party in the late 1850s. A. Lincoln was the first Rep. president. Because of the Rep party's opposition to slavery and its pur-union stance during the civil war, it came to dominate the North after the 1860s.
List and Briefly explain the reasons why the US has a 2 party system.
1.Major political issues have contributed to 2 party dominance by polarizing the nation on numerous occasions.
2.Our winner-take-all electoral system and the electoral college reinforce the dominance of the 2 main parties because voters hesitate to "waste" their votes on 3rd parties.
3.Most states have election laws, such as those governing ballot access and campaign finance, that give an advantage to the two main parties.
How did the New Deal shift political support for the Republicans and Democrats?
Prior to the Great Depression, the Rep party had dominated the North and the Dem party had dominated the South since the Civil War. This ended when Roosevelt ushered in the New Deal, a set of domestic programs designed to address the economic and social needs of the working and middle class americans harmed by the depression. These programs helped the dem party build a new political coalition that consisted of members of the working class, farmers, ethnic groups, southern dems, and many intellectuals. This new coalition marked the begining of an era of dem. dominance that would last through the 1960s.
How did political support for the Republicans and Democrats shift after the 1960s?
During the 1960s, Johnson and the democratic congress created new federal programs that targeted the needs of the poor and racial minorities. These programs were known as the Great Society. While the GS brought new constituencies, especially African-Americans, solidly into the Democratic camp, it caused the Democratic Party's new deal coalition to fracture, for white working-class voters and southern democrats commonly resented efforts to create federal programs aimed at helping the poor and members of minorities. In response to the fracture of the new deal coalition, the rep party pursued a strategy in which it opposed such programs, emphasized law and order themes, and played upon racial fears in an attempt to woo these disaffected dems. This strategy was most effective during the 1980 and 1984 presidential elections.
What is divided government?
A government in which the executive branch is controlled by one party and the legislative branch is controlled by another party.
Who are the Reagan Democrats?
Reagan Dems are disaffected dems who voted for Reagan in the 1980 and 1984 presidential elections. In general, reagan dems are working-class whites and southerners who defected from the dem party because they believed that it had moved too far to the left on many social issues.
Which American political party favors "big government"? Which tends to prefer "small government?"
Dems typically support "big government" and Reps support "small government" neither party is completely consistent in how it defines the appropriate size of government. The dem party, in general, is more supportive of government regulation of the economy, but Dems on the whole are less likely to favor regulation of social issues like abortion and sexuality. Conversely, Reps are typically more likely to favor governmental regulation of social issues but to oppose regulation of the economy.
Should political parties in the US be considered strong relative to political parties in most other democracies? why or why not?
No. In general, American parties are weak relative to political parties in other democracies. Neither the Dem nor the rep party has a consistent national agenda that is followed by all candidates running under its party label, and both parties are divided by ideological factions. In addition, party identification in the US has been declining in recent decades.
Are two-party systems or multiparty systems more common in democratic countries?
Multiparty systems are more common in democratic countries.
How does the winner-take-all electoral system hinder the success of third parties in the US?
In this system, representatives are elected in single member districts. Thus, regardless of how close a vote is, the candidate who wins the most votes wins the seat. This system hinders third parties because voters are reluctant to support candidates who are unlikely to win a plurality of the vot. Under the WTA system, people tend to vote for one of the major party candidates even if they prefer the issue positions of a third party candidate.
How does a proportional representation electoral system work? Why are third parties more likely to succeed under a proportional representation electoral system?
In proportional representation electoral system, elections are held in multimember districts, and seats in these districts are allocated in accordance with the proportion of the vote received by each party. 3rd party candidates are more likely to succeed under proportional representation because even parties that receive a relatively small percentage of the vote are able to obtain seats in multimember districts. Thus, voters in proportional representations systems are more likely to vote for 3rd party candidates.
Approximately what percentage of American voters currently identify as independents?
33%. Young voters are especially likely to do so.
Briefly describe the organizational structure of American parties.
American parties have organizational structures at the national, state, and local levels. At the national level, each party has a national committee and national chairperson. State level has a state central committee and state chairperson. Local party structures vary with size and location.

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