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Election year 2000 is an appropriate season to reprise the first major history of American political parties in nearly forty years. In this classic work, James Reichley traces the decline of political parties resulting in divided government and an ineffectual political process—but he also shows us what it will take to restore the party system and how it could work to revitalize our democracy. For the first time in paperback, The Life of the Parties includes updates on third party movements, political cycles and realignments, campaign finance reform, and other recent electoral trends. Citizens disillusioned by years of political disarray will find much to reflect upon in Reichley's monumental analysis of the lessons of party history and our contemporary political predicament.
It is hard to imagine a better time than now for reexamining American political parties. In The Life of the Parties, A. James Reichley shows us how parties have developed and how they have managed 'incompatible ideological traditions.' The forthcoming debates on the future of American political parties will be informed by Reichley's careful and well-written study.
Chapter 1 The American Two-Party System Part 2 From the Founding to the Civil War Chapter 3 Intention of the Founders: A Polity without Parties Chapter 4 The First Parties: Federalists and Republicans Chapter 5 One-Party Hegemony: The Jeffersonians Chapter 6 Formation of Mass Parties: Democrats and Whigs Part 7 The Republican Era Chapter 8 Party Government: The Civil War Republicans Chapter 9 Machine Politics: The Gilded Age Chapter 10 Third-Party Challenge: Populist Uprising Chapter 11 Reaction against Parties: The Progressive Era Chapter 12 The Progressive Legacy, City Machines, and the Solid South Chapter 13 The President as Party Leader: Woodrow Wilson Part 14 The New Deal Era Chapter 15 A Functioning Majority Party: The New Deal Chapter 16 Vehicles of Opposition Chapter 17 Fission of Party Coalitions Chapter 18 Decline of State and Local Machines Chapter 19 Movement Politics: The Republican Hard Right Chapter 20 Reform Politics: Amateur Democrats Part 21 Contemporary Parties Chapter 22 The New Giants: National Party Organizations Chapter 23 State Parties: Seeking New Roles Chapter 24 Local Parties: Getting Along without Patronage Chapter 25 Rebuilding the Parties