Third Parties in American Politics

Third Parties in American Politics

Third Parties in American Politics

Third Parties in American Politics


Although there are many books dealing with individual third parties relatively little has been written about the manner in which these movements have succeeded and interacted with one another; the primary purpose of this work is to provide a general, but reasonably comprehensive, history of America's third parties.

While doing research in an entirely different field of history some years ago I happened to learn of the part played by some long forgotten statewide third parties in establishing the free public school system. This incidentally acquired knowledge greatly roused my curiosity about third party movements and led to the research on which this book is based.

It behooves anyone writing in the field of politics to describe his own political background. Never active in politics, I have always been an independent voter. However, since I have voted oftener in Massachusetts than anywhere else I have, the local situation being what it is, voted for more Republicans than Democrats; I have also cast protest votes for third party candidates on occasions when I thought that neither of the major parties' candidates deserved support.

For reasons which will become apparent on reading the first chapter of this work it seems proper for me to say that I am a member of the Masonic fraternity and that I am a native American with a line of American ancestors, on both sides, running back to colonial days.

Since sectionalism has been an important factor in connection with some third parties it may also be of interest that I have lived in the East (New York City and a number of New England towns), the rural South (Virginia), the Midwest (Chicago), and have traveled in every state east of the Missouri River.

No one preparing a book such as this can help but be deeply indebted to the extensive literature on the subject, especially to those specialized works which are indispensable sources of information about third parties of the nineteenth century. For obvious reasons I cannot cite the hundreds of books, mono graphs . . .

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