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This essay is going to give a general introduction of party systems first, then address the US and UK party systems from several aspects respectively, finally compare

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The main purpose of this essay is to talk about party systems in the United States and the United Kingdom. This essay is going to give a general introduction of party systems first, then address the US and UK party systems from several aspects respectively, finally compare and contrast these two party systems. Therefore, a conclusion can be drawn which is that the system in UK is a strictly disciplined multi-party system while the one in US is less disciplined and a distinct two-party system. Party system is the interaction between different parties. Parties operate within party systems and are affected by different party systems.1 There are three types of party systems, the first one is the dominant party system, where there is only a single party in a country and it always operates in government, such as Japan. A two-party system is the one where two parties always compete against each other for power and the US is a good example of this system type. The last type is the multi-party system, which is very popular in the Europe, with competition from more than two parties.2 As mentioned in the paragraph above, US has a two-party system. Republican and Democratic parties are the two main parties, which have been competing with each other since the middle of the nineteenth century for the divarication on ideologies. The Republican Party is relatively more conservative, both economically and socially. Republicans are anti-welfare, anti-government intervention, and also on social side, anti-gun control anti-abortion. ...read more.


For example, Reagan and Bush had put out policies on tax break for big businesses; on the Democrats side, they have put more effort on making social programmes legal.6 Therefore, over time, the two parties have gone closer rather than apart. Though British government is famous for the competition between the Conservative and Labor party, there is actually a multi-party system there. The biggest challenger of those two main parties is the Liberal Democrats. Moreover, the Scottish Nationalist Party and Wales Plaid Cymru are also competitors of the two main parties in specific areas.7 Two party dominance is not so compete in UK, as both the two major parties are attracting smaller percentages of voters. Moreover, in many places in southeast and southwest, the primary choice is between Conservative and the Liberal Democratic, while in some places in the North, competition are mainly on Labor and Liberal Democratic.8 The competitions among the three major parties are based on three aspects: ideologies, policy programmes and power sharing. The conservatives are associated with business community and "middle class", while the Labor Party is associated with trade unions and the mainly "working class". The fundamental principles of the Conservative Party are concluded by Anthony Quinton as several nouns: traditionalism, organicism, skepticism and defense of property rights.9 The ideology of labor party, on the other hand, is described by Robert Owen as ethical and scientific socialism.10 In the middle ground, the Liberals believe in a society where individuals can participate in decision making which shaped ...read more.


Firstly, there are both two major parties in the party systems, however, the US system is a distinct two-party system, where voters mainly choose between the Republican and Democratic Party; the UK system is more towards a multi-party system, with a middle party of Liberal Democratic in spite of the Conservative and Labor Party. Secondly, the ideology differences are both on conservative (Republican and Conservative) and liberal (Democratic and Labor), nevertheless, in the US system, the difference is clearly focused on economic and social areas though the distance between two parties is becoming less; in the UK system, there is no clear areas where ideologies lie in, but the differences are never going to be weakened, on the contrary the distance between two ideologies even create space for the Liberal Democratic Party. Finally, the UK system is much stronger disciplined and power centralized than the US one, with larger membership, more complete control on candidates selection and more efficiently election conduct. In conclusion, the US party system is a typical example of two-party system with some characteristics like a lack of mass membership and decentralized power, which both result from and strengthen its loose organization. The UK party system represents the type of multi-party system with three main competing parties, however it is very strictly disciplined with centralized and strong power, based on a mass membership. The two party systems are shaped by different historical background, and both of them are keeping changing to fit different time as well. ...read more.

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