Politics in the Border States: A Study of the Patterns of Political Organization, and Political Change, Common to the Border States: Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri

By John H. Fenton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
THE UNIFYING THEME

IN VERY GENERAL TERMS, the unifying theme found in the political structure of the Border States consists of four parts. First, the unique settlement pattern of the Border States and the differential reaction of elements of the population to events such as the Civil War has been primarily responsible for the evolution of a three-party political pattern. Secondly, the threeparty political pattern has produced within the dominaht or Democratic party a distinctive type of political organization which is designed to bridge the gap between the warring factions of the Democratic party and thus enable the party to win elections. Thirdly, in order to win elections both parties find it necessary to offer candidates who can capture the urban vote, because of the rigidly narrow total political division in all the Border States outside the urban sections. Fourthly, the settlement pattern, the differential reaction of elements of the population to policies of the political parties, and factionalism represent primary causative agents of the type of political change observed in the Border States.

Figure 25 demonstrates the essential similarity of the Border States in terms of both the division between the two major parties and long-run trends. As the figure indicates, all of the Border States were predominantly Democratic in presidential elections in 1872; but it also shows that the Republican party steadily gained strength in every Border State until 1932. In 1932, the Border States once again became

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