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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

what's the difference between a Senate house and the parliament
Irene Reply
wat is decentralization
Irene Reply
Good question? its another way of emphasizing locality as a first principle value. assumed is self suffiency, sustainability, redundancy in critical systems but most of all it represents an individual citizens liberty; our rights, a dependence from and freedom from centralized power.
Lance
tnx
Irene
it's also assumed that this freedom is critical to our ability and advantages to be resilient. our full capacity to adapt w out any headwinds or yoke from an over reaching central world power as found in empires and dynasties or for example global neoliberalism virus.
Lance
Well said Lance! It's easy to forget how decentralized our government is. Local people have skin in the game.
Micah
Is it possible for a serious third party to emerge in the United States, positioned ideologically between the Democrats on the left and the Republicans on the right? Why or why not?
Richard Reply
Yes it's possible, but with the two-party system not likely. Here is why: when you have a strong right wing and a strong left wing the results you actually get are closer to the center. In fact, the point of having two parties is to keep the argument going and produce these centrist results.
Micah
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Omohowho Reply
create the most between the competing value of indivualism and limited government
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civil liberties basic freedoms while civil rights are basic right to free from discrimination based on characteristics of race, disability, color national origin, gender, and other..
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Omohowho
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Official Reply
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Irene
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Emmanuela Reply
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Ivan Reply
I cannot seem to find a clear answer to why the house is stronger than the senate, and every guess I make the check answer says is wrong.
girunit Reply
What is foreign policy
WONDERS Reply
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Three majors the National Liberation council adopted to transfer powers to the civilian government
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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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