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 XIV
INTERPRETATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS
(Continued)
TENDENCIES TOWARD PARTY RECONSTRUCTION
Like all other institutions, the political party is in constant process of reconstruction, and must justify itself to each succeeding generation; otherwise it is likely to be destroyed or superseded by competing institutions. An appraisal of the value of the party finds many serious liabilities charged against it. Among these are:
1. The dominance of the party by a small group or oligarch ruling by the use of spoils and graft in a manner harmful to the general interest.
2. The dominance of this organization oligarchy by another industrial oligarchy, and the consequent control of the government in the interest of economic privilege.
3. As a consequence of the combination of the Boss and the Trust, the weakening of the collective confidence in the nation's capacity for achievement,--the undermining of the morale of government. This brings grave losses in efficiency, in the narrower sense of financial damage and "leaks," and in the broader sense of constructive community conservation--in the weakening of the sense of the justice and utility of the whole political order.

That the machine has exercised undue influence over the party, that the money power has exercised undue influence over the machine, that the nation has suffered from

-411-

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