American Political History


Party Ideologies in America: 1828-1996, Cambridge University Press, 2001
Is American politics “ideological,” or relatively consensual? Do the American parties differ from one another and, if so, how? This work offers a synthetic history and analysis of the ideologies of the major American parties from the early nineteenth century to the present. It draws on party platforms and campaign speeches, analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively. The author argues that the American parties have always articulated relatively coherent, differentiated, and enduring ideologies, though the content of those ideologies has changed considerably over the past century and a half. In order to understand the party battles of the present it is necessary to understand the content of past party struggles. The parties of today, though still ideological, have relatively little in common with the parties of yesteryear.
View the Appendix.

  • Walter Dean Burnham, Journal of American History (September 2000) 625-7.
  • Richard J. Ellis, Journal of Politics 61:4 (November 1999) 1182-3.
  • Bert A. Rockman, Journal of Interdisciplinary History 30:4 (Spring 2000) 709-11.
  • Clyde Weed, American Political Science Review 93:2 (June 1999) 451-2.


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    Studies in American Political Development 17:1 (Spring 2003) 82-102.

    “Does Party Ideology Matter?: A Roll-Call Analysis of Key Congressional Votes, 1833-1992”
    Journal of Policy History 11:4 (1999) 399-42.

    "The Perils of Particularism: Political History after Hartz"
    Journal of Policy History 11:3 (1999) 313-22.

    "Culture versus Economics: An American Dilemma"
    Social Science History 23:2 (Summer 1999) 129-72.

    "Continuities of Democratic Ideology in the 1996 Campaign"
    Polity 30:1 (Fall 1997) 167-86.

    “Party Ideology in America: The National-Republican Chapter (1828‑1924)”
    Studies in American Political Development 11:1 (Spring 1997) 44-108.

    "A Chapter in the History of American Party Ideology: The Nineteenth-Century Democratic Party, 1828-1892"
    Polity 26:4 (Summer 1994) 729-68.