The American Suspicion of Parties

  • James T. Bennett

The political scientist E.E. Schattschneider, whose seminal work Party Government (1942) set the terms of scholarly debate for decades, defined the beast: “A political party is an organized attempt to get control of the government.”1 There is nothing pretty or glossed-up in this definition. There is no high-minded rumble-bumble about American ideals or liberty or justice. Reduced to its essentials, the party is merely an instrument in the naked scramble for raw power. For this reason, those earliest and most sagacious political scientists, the Founding Fathers, did not put their faith or trust in political parties. In fact, they spurned them as inimical to republican liberty. They agreed with the satirist Jonathan Swift, who remarked: “Party is the madness of many, for the gain of the few.”2


Political Party Political Scientist Party System American Political Science Review Electoral College 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA

Personalised recommendations