You are here


Press room

Are the Democratic and Republican parties really necessary? Find out in: Guide to U.S. Political Parties

May 9, 2014

Washington, DC - Throughout most of history, societies have been governed by powerful rulers, and the “common people” have seldom had any voice in their own governance. America’s democratic style of government is different. We vote for representatives (presidents, governors, congress members, and others) who make the laws, and most of those representatives belong to either the Democratic or Republican party. How did the party system develop? Is it good or bad? Will the system survive, given the current government gridlock? The new Guide to U.S. Political Parties, published by CQ Press, answers these questions.

Using the major conceptual approaches to the study of U.S. political parties and the national party system, this one-volume reference describes the organization and behavior of the parties to help readers understand party origins, historical development, and current operations. Providing context as well as in-depth analysis of the unique system of party politics in the United States, the narrative chapters are thematic and organized into these six major parts:

  • Part I – What Are Parties For?
  • Part II – Historical Development of the Parties
  • Part III – Party Organizations
  • Part IV – Parties in the Electorate
  • Part V – Parties in Government
  • Part VI – Parties in Their Environment

Guide to U.S. Political Parties is available in both electronic and print formats and is jam-packed with analyses about how and why the U.S. parties have changed over time, from the traditional concept of formal party organizations to the current candidate-centered model, and how those changes were fueled in part by changes in campaign finance, the rise of new communication technologies, and fragmentation of the electorate. Because no other volume so clearly and concisely explains every key aspect of the American political party system, this book belongs on the shelves of all public, academic, and high school libraries.

Marjorie Randon Hershey is a professor of political science at Indiana University–Bloomington and is affiliated with the Indiana University School of Philanthropic Studies.


CQ Press, an imprint of SAGE, is a leading publisher of books, reference content, periodicals, and digital products on American government, public policy, and international affairs. Known for its objectivity and breadth and depth of coverage, CQ Press consistently ranks among the top academic and professional publishers for its high-quality content and scholarship. CQ Press was founded with the mission of promoting democracy through education and joined the SAGE family in 2008.

Guide to U.S. Political Parties
June 2014                               456 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-4522-6780-7         Cloth $150.00
eISBN: 978-1-4833-4646-5

Contact (media inquiries only)

Yearly archive
2020 (19)
2019 (45)
2018 (83)
2017 (97)
2016 (133)
2015 (150)
2014 (145)