Bryce's American Commonwealth Fiftieth Anniversary

By Robert C. Brooks | Go to book overview

III. AMERICAN PARTIES AND POLITICS, 1888 AND 1938

By Robert C. Brook*

"THOUGH THE BOOKS AND ARTICLES DEALING WITH THE PUBlic life of the United States may be counted by hundreds, I know of no author who has set himself to describe impartially the actual daily working of that part of the vast and intricate political machine which lies outside the Constitution."1Bryce was amazed -- as he had every reason to be-at the absence of any American literature on those "extra-legal groupings of men which we call political parties." At the time the above words were written the United States was nearing the end of the first hundred years of its history, a century replete with active party life and innumerable party battles. It seems incredible that no American had been sufficiently impressed with the importance and interest of these topics to deal with them systematically and impartially.

Writing six decades earlier, de Tocqueville may perhaps be pardoned for devoting but one rather disappointing chap-

____________________
*
Robert C. Brooks is Joseph Wharton Professor of Political Science and Chairman of the Honors Division of the Social Sciences at Swarthmore College. He is the author of Corruption in American Politics and Life, Government and Politics of Switzerland, Civic Training in Switzerland, Political Parties and Electoral Problems, and Deliver Us from Dictators!

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