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Party system facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

A party system is a concept in comparative political science concerning the system of government by political parties. The idea is that political parties control the government, have a stable base of mass popular support, and create internal mechanisms for controlling funding, information and nominations.

U.S. Models

The concept of party system was introduced by English scholar James Bryce in American Commonwealth (1885).

American Party Systems was a major textbook by Charles Merriam in 1920s. In 1967 the most important single breakthrough appeared, The American Party Systems. Stages of Political Development, edited by William Nisbet Chambers and Walter Dean Burnham. It brought together historians and political scientists who agreed on a common framework and numbering system. Thus Chambers published The First Party System in 1972. Burnham published numerous articles and books. The model appears in most political science textbooks and many history textbooks, and is included in the AP tests in history and government that 300,000 high school students take every year.

Closely related is the concept of critical elections (introduced by V. O. Key in 1955), and "realignments."

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