During the several years that I have taught courses in political parties and politics, I have been impressed with the need for a book of readings composed largely of timely, significant, and interesting articles written by active political participants, experienced political observers, and prominent scholars. It has been my belief that such a book would provide a highly realistic portrayal of this vital and dynamic field, would perhaps give the reader a vicarious experience in politics, and would stimulate greater interest and participation in politics. This volume is designed to meet that need. It may be used either as a supplement to any of the standard texts on political parties or as the principal text. The book should also prove of value and interest to the general reader who wishes information about the functioning of political parties and pressure groups and the role of public opinion in our representative democracy.
The selections in this book have been gathered from a variety of sources. A number of articles have been written by individuals with wide experience in various phases of politics. For example, a famous governor who has twice been his party's nominee for the presidency presents a penetrating analysis of our two-party system; a public-relations expert explains his role in electing to the United States Senate a man who was virtually unknown; a political boss of national reputation describes the way he controlled and directed his party organization; and a United States Senator sets forth the findings of a Senate committee on ethics in government. Other readings have been extracted from publications of our two major political parties and from government documents --including reports of congressional committees. Officials of the leading farm, business, and labor organizations have generously prepared for this volume articles describing their organizations or explaining their interest in politics. A large number of the selections have been written by leading scholars or journalists who, through education or experience or both, have become specialists in some phase of politics.
An attempt has been made to provide a balanced treatment of the topics usually included in courses in political parties. The book is divided into four parts: a one-chapter introduction, followed by sections devoted to public opinion, pressure groups, and political parties and the electoral process. Each chapter is considered as an integrated unit; consequently all introductory remarks are placed at the beginning of the chapters rather than immediately preceding the individual selections. Within space limitations an effort has been made to present opposing views on controversial issues. Many of the footnotes which appeared with the articles originally have been omitted.
I wish to acknowledge the assistance and cooperation I have received in . . .