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A political party can be defined as “an organisation that sponsors candidates for political office under the organisations name”.

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  • Essay length: 2293 words
  • Submitted: 19/06/2006
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University Degree UK Government & Parliamentary Studies

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A political party can be defined as "an organisation that sponsors candidates for political office under the organisations name"i, or as Edmund Burke said " a body of men united by promoting their joint endeavours the national interest, upon some particular principle in which they are all agreed"ii. Despite the fact that anti-partyism has been an underlying feature of American political culture since the suspicion of factions voiced by the founding fathers and embodied in the constitution, political parties fulfil many essential roles in the present political system. Indeed most Americans believe that parties are necessary for democratic government and condemn countries without elections contested by political parties as undemocratic. The crucial role played by parties in modern democratic states is noted by Schattschneider who argues that, "Political parties created democracy ....... And modern democracy is unthinkable save in terms of parties"iii. This "love-hate" relationship has had fundamental implications for the development of political parties in the U.S. and their place in the political system. My aim is to see if they are indeed under-developed and ineffective.

American political parties differ from their European counterparts in a number of ways. Generally, they have been and continue to be

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