The American Party System: An Introduction to the Study of Political Parties in the United States

By Charles Edward Merriam | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
THE ORGANIZATION OF THE PARTY
Party authority is vested, when conventions and primaries are not in operation, in a series of committees and committeemen.1 If conventions and primaries are looked upon as legislative and policy-determining, the Committees may be considered as executive or administrative in nature.There are several ranks in the hierarchy of committees. The most important of these are the following:
National Committee.
Congressional Committee.
State Central or Executive Committee.
County Committee.
Ward, Township, or Town Committee.
Precinct Committee.

In addition there are a number of other committees covering various types of districts to which they correspond.

The National Committee is composed of one member from each state and territory in the Republican party, and one man and one woman from each state and territory in the Democratic Party.2 These members are chosen for a term of four years, usually by the delegates from a given

____________________
1
A good discussion of this subject is found in Macy Party Organization; see also Ray, An Introduction to Political Parties and Practical Politics, Ch. 9; Bryce, American Commonwealth, Ch. 59; Ostrogorski, Democracy, passim. Luetscher, Early Political Machinery, discusses the beginnings of party structure, but a complete treatment of this subject is not available. Many useful articles on special topics are found in McLaughlin and Hart Cyclopedia of American Government.
2
See Kleeberg G. S. P., Formation of the Republican Party. The chairman of this Committee is suggested by the presidential candidate, and the position is one of prestige in the party, especially in the case of success.

-60-

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