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There have been six distinctive periods in U.S. history when new political parties have emerged, control of the presidency has shifted from one party to another, or significant changes in a party’s makeup have occurred.
Periods of Party Dominance and Realignment
Era Party Systems and Realignments
1796–1824 First Party System: Federalists (urban elites, southern planters, New England) oppose Democratic-Republicans (rural, small farmers and artisans, the South and the West).
1828–1856 Second Party System: Democrats (the South, cities, farmers and artisans, immigrants) oppose Whigs (former Federalists, the North, middle class, native-born Americans).
1860–1892 Third Party System: Republicans (former Whigs plus African Americans) control the presidency. Only one Democrat, Grover Cleveland, is elected president (1884, 1892).
1896–1932 Fourth Party System: Republicans control the presidency. Only one Democrat, Woodrow Wilson, is elected president (1912, 1916). Challenges to major parties are raised by Populists and Progressives.
1932–1964 Fifth Party System. Democrats control the presidency. Only one Republican, Dwight Eisenhower, is elected president (1952, 1956). Major party realignment as African Americans become part of the Democratic coalition.
1964–present Sixth Party System. No one party controls the presidency. Ongoing realignment as southern whites and many northern members of the working class begin to vote for Republicans. Latinos and Asians immigrate, most of whom vote for Democrats.

One of the best-known party realignments occurred when Democrats moved to include African Americans and other minorities into their national coalition during the Great Depression . After the Civil War , Republicans, the party of Lincoln, were viewed as the party that had freed the slaves. Their efforts to provide blacks with greater legal rights earned them the support of African Americans in both the South, where they were newly enfranchised, and the Northeast. When the Democrats, the party of the Confederacy, lost control of the South after the Civil War, Republicans ruled the region. However, the Democrats regained control of the South after the removal of the Union army in 1877. Democrats had largely supported slavery before the Civil War, and they opposed postwar efforts to integrate African Americans into society after they were liberated. In addition, Democrats in the North and Midwest drew their greatest support from labor union members and immigrants who viewed African Americans as competitors for jobs and government resources, and who thus tended to oppose the extension of rights to African Americans as much as their southern counterparts did.

Thomas Streissguth. 2003. Hate Crimes . New York: Facts on File, 8.

While the Democrats’ opposition to civil rights may have provided regional advantages in southern or urban elections, it was largely disastrous for national politics. From 1868 to 1931, Democratic candidates won just four of sixteen presidential elections. Two of these victories can be explained as a result of the spoiler effect of the Progressive Party in 1912 and then Woodrow Wilson’s reelection during World War I in 1916. This rather-dismal success rate suggested that a change in the governing coalition would be needed if the party were to have a chance at once again becoming a player on the national level.

Questions & Answers

Which of the following types of discrimination would be subject to the rational basis test?
Jessie Reply
what are the purpose of courts
ABUKAR Reply
Why does the devolution of power cause an increase in the number and types of interests?
Karen Reply
Bigger the governments or in devolution, number of governments, more people come to power, so more corruption.Federal system is also example of devolution, WHERE three lists are made, one handled solely by centre like Defence etc., other decided by provincial gov as edu., other example is Scotland.
Saleem
examples of countries with direct democracy?
Nicolas Reply
what is four main reason of government
Abubakarr Reply
how is the president in United States
Abubakarr
I m not staying in United states but I wish to go they
hasan
Which of the following is true of spending in politics
Ashley Reply
what is government
Michael Reply
is the system to govern a state or community
Gumersindo
what is government
Meyty
what 2 important issues went unresolved in the constitution?
Queenie Reply
the 1957 Ghana constitution
Ahorlu Reply
The framers of the Constitution designed the Senate to filter the output of the sometimes hasty House. Do you think this was a wise idea? Why or why not?
Emily Reply
what is freedom?
syed Reply
what is political eqaulity
syed
what is federalism?
Maria Reply
federalism Federalism is a system of government in which entities such as states or provinces share power with a national government. The United States government functions according to the principles of federalism.
deborah
panyaring means
Opata
meaning of panyaring
Opata
what is government
Opata
what is democracy
helen
Democracy is the government of the people by the praise people and for the people
Royal
What is the REPUBLIC ? How many states is federalism In ?
Jr
opata city government ? county government ? I or state government? FEDERAL government.?
Jr
DEMOCRACY democrats democratic democratics ? Easiest answer Blue red and white . red = REPUBLICANS not republic! Republican white is LIBERAL neither side left wing or right wing .
Jr
how is power dispered in American federalism?
Savannah Reply
how is power dispersed in American federalism?
Savannah
what three factors molds nations, state, relations today
Savannah
what three factors mold national,state relations today
Savannah
In which areas do you think peoples rights and liberties are at risk of government intrusion?
camille Reply
whenever......new government
Marjan Reply
clearly,who was meant to be in charge of this new government?
Marjan

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Source:  OpenStax, American government. OpenStax CNX. Dec 05, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11995/1.15
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