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Who Decided the Great Political Party Divide?

Mrs. Fox, aka cmoneyspinner, former civil servant, now self-employed; engaged in multiple online endeavors, including freelance writing.

Most Western democratic nations have multi-party systems. But the United States is as close to a two-party system as any democracy has come. A look at presidential elections from 1896 to 1968 shows that 5 to 7 political parties were represented by a candidate. In fact, for the election of 1968, two candidates ran and represented “NO PARTY”: Dick Gregory and Eugene McCarthy. Richard M. Nixon won the election of 1968 and most Americans are familiar with “his story”.

Below is a table of all the different political parties represented during 1896 -1968.


US Political Parties From 1896 - 1968

US Political Parties From 1896 - 1968

Where Did These Parties Go?

Besides the obvious parties – i.e.

the Prohibitionists who disbanded because the 18th Amendment to the Constitution was repealed; and

the Communists who were hunted down and marked for being “unpatriotic” – what became of these other political parties?

One party – the Populist Party – is not even included in the chart because they merged with the Democrats to nominate William Jennings Bryan for the presidency. The slogan of the Populists was: “Wealth belongs to them who create it.” Yep. That’s probably why the Republicans won the election in 1896. It was a very bitter election.

Want to Know What Happened?

Interested in knowing what finally divided the country in two? You want the long story or the short story? Doesn't matter. You're getting the short story. The long story would put everybody to sleep.

The move toward a two-party system, or rather ... since the "divide" was not pre-planned by conspirators ... there were three (3) major developments that occurred during the late sixties and early seventies which caused the average everyday American - like "Joe the plumber" - to gravitate either to the Republican side or to decide upon Democratic loyalty.


The Democrats supported the Civil Rights Movement. Racism reared its ugly head and those who were once Democrats switched to the Republicans.

The Democrats insisted on separation of church and state, while at the same time supporting equal rights for homosexuals and also supporting abortion. This position alienated religious conservatives who were Democrats but who decided that on the basis of their understanding of morality and their spiritual convictions they could not – with a clear conscience – support these stances. So they switched parties to support the Republicans.

The Democrats opposed the war in Vietnam vigorously. For the Democratic Americans who had a strong sense of national defense and truly believed in making the world safe for democracy, opposition to a war being fought to prevent the spread of Communism, somehow seemed unpatriotic. The contention was so strong and so loud, the protests against the war were enough to make loyal Democrats defect to the Republican party.

What Happened to All the Other Political Parties?

Final Answer!

Racism, religion and patriotism are matters which many Americans feel very strongly about; strong enough to make them choose sides. To this day, in America, these three “causes” are the proverbial “straws” that can be used to break the proverbial “camel’s back” or in plain language – to get the votes.

So to any person intending to run for the office of the President of the United States, it’s not that hard to win the election. When addressing any group, just perceive the matters which are closest to the hearts of the people you’re trying to win and AIM!


Benjamin Martin: “Aim small, miss small.”

Quote Source: “The Patriot” (2000) The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) . Inc. Web. 13 Aug. 2011.)

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We The People

We The People

Further Reading on the 3 Developments:

  • Civil Rights Movement in the 60's and 70's: Successes and Failure
    The years between 1960 and 1975 were the pinnacle of civil rights progression for African-Americans dating back to Reconstruction and Nat Turner—or even prior with the United States outlawing of the slave trade in 1808 and the gradual invig
  • What the Founders believed regarding the Separation of Church and State
    The wall of Separation of church and state erected by Thomas Jefferson bears little resemblance to the wall erected in 1947 by the Supreme Court. Jefferson’s wall, created only an institutional separation at the federal level, whereas the courts have
  • The Vietnam War
    The Vietnam War in French Indochina: Ho Chi Minh, Rolling Thunder, Prisoners of War, atrocities, the anti-war movement, draft dodgers, Tet Offensive, President Johnson, Viet Cong, Paris Peace Accords.

There's a "New" Party??

Sanders Says He is a Democratic Socialist.

Sanders Says He is a Democratic Socialist.

POLL: The Two Party System Rocks! Yes or No

© 2016 Treathyl FOX


Treathyl FOX (author) from Austin, Texas on June 01, 2020:

Hello Tolovaj! Thanks for your observations and comments.

It's June 1, 2020, and the USA has been experiencing civil unrest and protestations for the past 6 days. Anger has erupted over the death of an unarmed citizen at the hands or rather “the knee” of another citizen who wears a badge and took an oath to serve and protect the citizens.

How I interpret the chart of political parties presented in my HUB is that it is PROOF that at one time many Americans were politically engaged and energized and believed they could take an active part in building this nation. Sadly, along the way, many Americans have become disappointed in and/or disillusioned by their elected officials.

Now American politics is pretty much down to the flip of a coin. HEADS = Republicans. TAILS = Democrats. Or is it the other way around. (O.o)

One thing I can say about Americans, they still recognize when WRONG IS WRONG and when “authority” is being abused and they won't just lie down and take it! Maybe they have not been actively involved in the nation-building process for a while because they figured “the ones in charge” ought to be able to do the job. But they sure aren't willing to sit back and let this country be destroyed by CORRUPTION and ABUSE OF POWER.

Tolovaj on June 01, 2020:

Thanks for this concise and interesting presentation of political system in America. While i believe there should be more than two (and very similar) political parties to offer more choices to the voters, the situation with many smaller parties (always blending into something inedible right after the elections) don't work very well either. I guess the politics should be about choosing the best but somehow always results in hoping to get least of the bad.

Elijah A Alexander Jr from Washington DC on May 22, 2019:

NOYFOB, there's records that say Vietnam was well planned before JFK took office which is one of three reasons for his demise and why Dwight Eisenhower warned of [b]the Military-Industrial-Complex[/b] - that has had a name change to [b]New World Order[/b] since then - as he relinquished the presidency to JFK. The NWO's intent is/was to make the USA the world's dictator. That is why the unconstitutional two parties of Congress continues to bicker, to allow the development of the NWO that 9/11 was supposed to allow to be implemented.

The gridlock was not being loyal to party voters but to the 1% who pay them handsomely under the table. Why else do you think of the 535 congressman there's less that 35 none millionaires?

Brad on May 21, 2019:

"The Democrats opposed the war in Vietnam vigorously."

It was the democrat LBJ that made it a war. He took the 15,000 American observers, and increased it up to 550,000 combat military.

He and the congress lost the War totally.

imo, it was because Vietnam was backed by China and the Russia and the congress wouldn't let the Military do their job. The same problem existed in the Korean War, but at least we were able to save South Korea.

The US congress doesn't work, and most people like their religion are born into it with their parents giving them a head start.

The Democrats and the Republicans together caused the decline of the US from the 70s until now. They can't compromise on anything, especially today because their goals are diametrically opposite.

That is why the congress finds itself going back into gridlock. The root cause of this gridlock is the loyal party voter. These voters are played by their party, but the voters don't seem to understand it.

To get the congress to work for the country, they loyal party voters needs to become the independent voter. That won't happen because the loyal voters believe their party is right, no matter how many times they fail the voter, the country and the people.

Elijah A Alexander Jr from Washington DC on May 21, 2019:

Tanks for your presentation, sister Treathyl, your presentation gets an "A+" from me to which I want to add my reason for the USA's having only two parties.

Many of my posts are about the USA even though many are Bible based. As I studied the Bible during my almost three years of gestating after my spiritual conception, between September and October '73 until my August 6, 1976 New Birth, a great many prophecies pointed to the USA. One was the story of Samson ( where he destroyed the temple (United States) by destroying the two pillars pillars it stood on. So it was the destiny of this nation to only have the two parties.

Treathyl FOX (author) from Austin, Texas on April 21, 2016:

@nell-rose ~ LOL. Know what you mean about forgetting. My kids have to have patience waiting for me to finish a statement or ask a question because right in the middle of what I'm saying, my mind will blank. (O.o) Thanks for visiting.

Nell Rose from England on April 20, 2016:

Reading your hub and the comments I forgot to say what I was going too! lol! too darn interesting thats the problem! lol! being English we have a different set of MPs different ideas and so on, but in a nutshell people who are racist, nasty, have to be leaders to tell people what to do and so on, well I don't understand any of them, live and let live, and rule the darn country because you want too!

Treathyl FOX (author) from Austin, Texas on March 12, 2016:

@larryrankin - Could have made it even more interesting. But I didn't want to get banished from the community. :)

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on March 12, 2016:

Interesting perspective.

Treathyl FOX (author) from Austin, Texas on February 23, 2016:

@aviannovice - There is so much to our American history that many of US don't know. But thankfully we have access to libraries, bookstores, the Internet, National Archives, etc. The learning is available. People can attend schools or self-educate. God bless America.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on February 23, 2016:

Thanks for providing this background, which I never knew about. It makes a lot more sense to me now.

Treathyl FOX (author) from Austin, Texas on February 15, 2016:

@bradmasterOCcal - Racism has to be taught or instilled in the human psyche. Yes you're right, people do seem to apply it to almost anything and everything which is why you can use it for “comedy material”. It's so stupid it's funny. It's not a question of labeling. But if you're talking about an issue you need have some common word to attach to it so people know what you're talking about. However, to tell the truth, when I was growing up I thought the word “prejudice” meant that you didn't like colored people. Wasn't until I got older that I learned its definition. But I had only heard the term “prejudice”, used in the context of hating Negroes, so as a child it didn't occur to me the word meant something other than that.

People started using African-American, Asian-American, etc. in an attempt to be politically correct and as a means of acknowledging or taking pride in one's heritage while still also saying that they are patriots and just as much American as any other American. I get that. I wouldn't quibble about it. American is a melting pot. You can not and should not deny your ancestry or heritage, nor should you be ashamed of the country of your birth and/or the country you decided to pledge your allegiance to.

There are all kinds of “forms of slavery”. Amen! Enough said.

Religion does remain separate from government. Actually it is more accurate to say, religion always trumps government. The government can't legislate the heart. But a person's religious beliefs control their heart or their conscience, provides the foundation for many of their life decisions and activities, etc. That's a fact. Even people in non-democratic countries or countries where freedom of religion is oppressed will accept imprisonment or even death for their faith. Religion is personal.

Make no mistake about this. When a religion or faith is deemed a “threat” and that threat is a genuine proven clear and present danger to everyone, that's not a religion. That's a political power move disguised as or justified as "religion". Defend yourself against it.

But if your belief system or mine teaches you or me ... AND YOU LIVE BY THE PRINCIPLES, LAWS, RULES, DOCTRINE, TEACHINGS ... to love and reverence our Creator who gave us life, love one another AND love our enemy; render charity as a good Samaritan to whoever is in need, do not steal, do not commit murder, do not covet, etc., how is anybody threatened or endangered by that?

Brad on February 13, 2016:

I don't understand Racism

People apply it to anything and everything, but I don't see it as a universal solvent for anything that groups don't like.

I also don't believe in labels, Racist, Racism are labels. Like Pornography everything has a different idea of it. So instead of using labels, spell out the problem.

The country is not racist, as more than half the voters put a black into the presidency TWICE. There was a black attorney general, and we even had a black Sec of State.

Blacks are a minority based on Numbers, not position. Blacks have been in this country for over four hundred years, and yet they haven't established themselves. Putting African in front of American doesn't sound like they are just Americans. The Chinese were used to build the railroads, and they were really just slaves, but they resolved that position, and today they don't need to call anyone racist because they are not doing well.

People coming from Asia go to school, college, get good jobs and work hard. The immigrants from Europe in the late 1800s and 1900s weren't given anything from the US. They wound up in ghettos and worked like slaves, and were treated as second class people. They resolved this in several decades. Even the Jews, and non protestants were able to overcome their pecking order. They did it with a Civil Rights Act or any special laws.

So the racism today is really manipulation by groups to get more than what they are willing to work for. Since Obama has been in office, there has been a high presence of blacks in TV commercials, TV shows, Movies, and Printed advertisements. All way beyond their numbers as a minority.

They even made Jimmy Olsen, from Superman Black.

Blacks dominate in Most Sports, and Music, but they are not high on education. They are high on welfare.

The latest by the black actors that they Demand to be chosen in greater numbers for the Oscar is ridiculous. Many white actors don't get chosen, and because white is a majority color, of course there will be more white.

My point is that the Racism label is a well orchestrated play on the sympathy for the underdog, and underdog that doesn't do the work.

Obama did his work, and he was rewarded. They should learn from him, and not try to get the SC to wedge their way into success.

Everyone in this country is discriminated against by someone, some group, even within their own family.

Religion should remain separate from the government. That is the government can't pick favorites, but if there is a threat to the country then it is not the religion but the acts committed that bring in the government.

Treathyl FOX (author) from Austin, Texas on February 13, 2016:

@bradmasterOCcal – Thanks for your feedback.

My husband is a naturalized citizen and keeps asking me why there isn't a party that represents everyone.

Fact is: “You can please some of the people some of the time. But you can't please all the people all of the time.” That's why!

There will never be a “Purple” party. But it would be nice if the parties could pick and choose from the “best options” that their ideologies offer and use it for the whole country.

RE: Social Issues: 'Tis true. The government can not legislate our hearts.

I don't know who the “minority groups” are any more. (O.o)

I don't vote. But I do my best not to make a hard job even more difficult for whoever ends up in the Oval Office.

Racism: Shouldn't exist at all and then it would haven't to be dealt with. Fact is: It's actually a problem all of US can solve. Just don't be that way!

Religion: I find that my faith has simplified my life tremendously. Can't speak for others.

Patriotism: I agree the ideal of patriotism has changed from when I was growing up. I can see it in the attitudes of my children. One Christmas I bought a tie for my son which was the American flag. He got mad at me! I was totally taken aback by his reaction. He never wore the tie. And I'm still confused as to how he developed that attitude. He didn't get it from me! (O.o) I love America. I was born on American soil and I want to die on it!

And you're right. You can't be disunited and united at the same time. “A house divided can't stand.”

Brad on February 13, 2016:

Loyal party voters are the problem, it doesn't matter how many parties there are, only they we choose the best people and not the party.

The problem with the two parties is that they are Blue and Red, but we need candidates that are Purple.

As for

Racism, religion and patriotism are matters which many Americans feel very strongly about;

The problem here is that government cannot solve these Social Issues.

So what has happened is that minority groups have taken advantage of the failure of the government on these matters, and have wedged their values and ways into the main stream.

The US is not a pure democracy, it is a Democratic Republic, and we vote for the people that will carry our wishes into the government. This hasn't worked out for the good, because a single issue always has two sides, Blue or Red. And Purple is not an option with these two parties, so the issue cannot be solved. If the Red wins, then the Blue fails, and vice versa.

We need a Purple congress but all we ever get is Blue or Red in various degrees.

Racism has been exaggerated out of proportion, and it fuels its own failure.

Religion has been complicated by religious extremists advocating terrorism mandate by their God. Instead of staying clear of religion in government, now we have to keep it out of government.

Patriotism has changed as the US has declined starting in the 70s. As the country continues to decline, and the jobs go to other counties, and fighting in foreign lands continues, the people are disunited, and that is unpatriotic.

Treathyl FOX (author) from Austin, Texas on February 13, 2016:

@kenburgess - Definitely, in order for there to be “one world” EVERYBODY would have to buy into it. We surely know that's not ever going to happen. But just thinking to myself if it did, it might not be that bad. Eliminate ruthless self-seeking power-mongers (who wear many “hats” - organized crime, terrorists, official governments, etc.); and we could use our energy and brainpower to raise each other up instead holding each other down. The way things are now, we have to come under attack by aliens from another world for us to realize we all need to work together to save this world. I know I'm a very unrealistic thinker. But it was nice of you to talk to me anyway. :)

Ken Burgess from Florida on February 12, 2016:

Well Cmoney, the 'one world state' is only bad if you have a problem with the continued decline in salaries, and the continued dependency for more than half the population to need government support (Welfare state) because there is not the industry, the job opportunities, in the country to diminish those numbers.

If you look at things from a 'one world' perspective, America still has a way to decline before it is on the same level as all other nations.

But the funny thing about that, I assure you, China does not buy into the 'one world' outlook, and when they are strong enough economically and militarily (which is not that far away) to enforce their will upon the world, they will, and it will be them leading the world, and we will look a lot more like Greece does today, than anyone suspects, a second class country not in control of its own destiny.

Treathyl FOX (author) from Austin, Texas on February 12, 2016:

@kenburgess – Your clarification is understood. But is a “one world state” so bad? It used to be that way, if our records of the history of mankind are to be accepted as true. Were it not for “borders” would we even need a leader to represent US on the world stage? Maybe in the past, Republicans have had a National outlook, but these days, thanks to the interjection of the “media”, it takes a great deal of effort to wade through the “muck” and figure out who is serving who! Just heard Trump is threatening to sue Cruz for not being a natural born citizen. You know, for some reason, I'm OK with that. The requirements for citizenship in order to run for POTUS have been working so far and if something ain't broke, don't fix it. Frankly, I think Cruz is qualified to run but just in case there's confusion about his eligibility … clear it up! The plainer you make yourself, the easier it is for people to decide who is who!

Ken Burgess from Florida on February 12, 2016:

@cmoney - reply to your reply

That was not my intent in the 'wrap up'... there is a powerful international movement to move away from 'nation states' to a one world state, and that movement has found a home in the Dem Party, whether voters recognize this or not, and no President has done more to 'give away' America's national rights over to world parties like the U.N. more than Obama in the last 7 years.

Republicans in the past, have always had a more National outlook... what is best for the country is what matters most, even if other Nations suffer for it.

It is a distinction that should be noted, because if you are concerned with the growth of jobs in America, and the growth of Income, and the rights of the individual protected under the constitution, one party does indeed serve those interests more than the other.

Treathyl FOX (author) from Austin, Texas on February 12, 2016:

@nicomp  - So? If you're gravitating toward like-minded people, but you unite and declare yourself as a member of the Independent political party, you're not exactly being independent. When I ask “Who cares?”, I'm saying: No matter who gets elected, once in office, party loyalty should never trump being a loyal patriot. You follow my confused thoughts on this?

* * *

@kenburgess – What you say about the “money bags” is a clear political fact, which nobody can deny. Would not really call Sanders an “outsider”. He's a political dawg. He just not running with the PAC. (Excuse the pun.) Trump for sure is an outsider and so far has not convinced me that he's bringing any value-add to the table. Insider or Outsider: “Every little boy (or girl) can be President. Why not me?” Americans are raised to believe that. Any surprise that Trump is an American with that ambition? Many entertainment celebrities moved into the political arena. So he's a real estate celebrity. Whatever! The “transition” into the world of politics from outsider to insider is not insurmountable goal. Getting inside is one thing. Staying true to your heart and true to your promises of doing what's for the good of all the people is another. That's the real test. For me, it's 4 years of whoever and I'll survive him or her. Besides, if a POTUS screws up, there is always impeachment!

Not too sure I agree with your “wrap up” of the revised or morphed or evolution of the ideologies of the parties. Your summary statement provokes this interpretation for me:

* It's true that anybody would feed their family before giving their last piece of bread to a stranger. (Republican)

* When you have a force on the rise that does not recognize country borders such as ISIS, taking care of business at home has an added “layer” that can not be ignored that's impacting the whole world. So, in that respect both parties hold America dear and as their first priority. (Democrat.)

The aims of both parties are not different. You follow me?

Ken Burgess from Florida on February 12, 2016:

Nice write up, there is a lot of truth to it, the parties flowed like the did for the reasons you mentioned... and then some.

I would add that over time, the lobbyists, and powerful foreign nations (China, Saudi) who invested trillions into our nation one way or another have gained control over our politicians and out system... now what they spout is more rhetoric than truth, and more and more people are catching on to this as time goes on... it is why Sanders and Trump, while seemingly outrageous to some, have found so much success, they are outsiders, they are not part of the 'establishment'.

And that most of all are what voters are looking for... not the next Bush or Clinton, but the total opposite, in hopes than someone with new and fresh ideas, no matter how outlandish, can go in there and make change happen. Someone not already owned by the system/lobbyists/PACs.

One other thing I'd add, over time the Democrats have come to represent the 'New World Order', global, United Nations, foreign policy... while the Republicans are more of the National, take care of America first party.

nicomp really from Ohio, USA on February 12, 2016:

@cmoneyspinner1tf , humans congregate with like-minded humans: church, subdivisions, work, sports. We do the same when we politicize. Democrat politics is based on class envy and hatred so naturally those folks will gravitate toward each other.

Treathyl FOX (author) from Austin, Texas on February 11, 2016:

@nicomp - WOW! My first comment. I was becoming convinced that the community had decided to turn a deaf ear to my articles and ignore me. Just kidding. It's my fault. I don't sign in often and leave my paw prints at other HUBs. People probably don't even know I'm still active at this site. So thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

Of a truth, I had not heard of Bernie Sanders until someone on Facebook tried to persuade me in his direction a while back. Frankly, I don't see why there has to be a “party” at all. Our country – any country - just needs a leader who understands priorities; knows how to make decisions in times of crisis – natural disasters, etc.; knows how to respond to the genuine cries for relief from the citizens and show charity and compassion to non-citizens; who can balance business and government relationships; knows how to solve problems like ISIS (terrorism) and confront “The Enemy”, whomever or whatever that "entity" may be – domestic or foreign. That's just for starters. Republican, Democrat, Democratic-Socialist, Independent … who cares? Anybody who can step up to the plate and start swinging … vote 'em in!

nicomp really from Ohio, USA on February 11, 2016:

Bernie is nothing new. Just another coward and hypocrite. If he actually believed what he shovels he would campaign as an "Independent" rather than ask for the Democrat Party nomination.

It's interesting that all of a sudden he's a Democratic Socialist but he's described himself as an "Independent" since he's been in Congress. Perhaps he belongs to three parties?

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