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A New Migration of Political Forces: Party Decline and Presidential Leadership in Late Nineteenth-Century America

Michael J. Korzi
Polity
Vol. 36, No. 2 (Jan., 2004), pp. 251-282
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3235481
Page Count: 32
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A New Migration of Political Forces: Party Decline and Presidential Leadership in Late Nineteenth-Century America
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Abstract

This article examines the decline of political parties in post-Civil War America and analyzes the impact of this decline on the presidency and presidential leadership. Drawing on primary documents from nineteenth-century presidential elections, I argue that parties began to decline significantly in the late nineteenth century. This research suggests, contrary to conventional wisdom, that post-Civil War America was no monolithic "Golden Age" for the political parties and that, in fact, their power began to erode substantially during this period, at least at the presidential level. Further, the study provides additional support for the argument that the decline of parties was a major factor in the rise of modern, plebiscitary presidential leadership.

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