Bibliography on Party Politics in the UNITED STATES, 1950-1962

Kenneth Janda

An enormous amount of scholarly material has been written on American political parties and published in the form of books and articles. This essay is not intended to classify or eva1uate the vast bulk of that material. Its major purpose is instead to reveal the sources which were consulted in the course of coding the American parties on the variables in the ICPP conceptual framework. Its secondary purpose is to suggest some additional sources that may be useful to students who are at the beginning stages of their investigation into the topic of American party politics.

Most of the citations in the bibliography proper which follow this essay are to books rather than journals. It is the journal literature, however, which contains some of the best research on parties-- American and foreign. One can enter this stream of literature for the more recent years by referring to ABC POL SCI, an indexed guide to journal titles published since 1969. Some of the basic journals on American politics have published cumulative indexes to their contents which provide a way for retrieving earlier material. Footnote references and bibliographies included in most of the books cited in the bibliography will also be useful in directing the interested reader to important references.

Works Organized by Concepts

This essay will discuss the parties literature according to the major concepts in the ICPP conceptual framework. For a more comprehensive review of the parties literature with an alternative conceptualization, see Crotty's "Political Parties"(cited in full in the bibliography along with all other references in the text of this essay). An earlier assessment of The Study of Political Parties was done by McDonald but is still useful. Those who want a historical account of party politics in the United States after 1950 will value the article by Huebner on the Republican Party and those by Ross and Wade on the Democratic Party, all of which are contained in the four volume History of U.S. Political Parties, edited by Schlesinger.


The concept of "institutionalization" in the ICPP conceptual framework is tapped by several basic variables pertaining to the age of a party and its changes over time. Predecessors of the present Democratic and Republican parties are treated in books about the 1780-1820 era by Chambers (Political Parties in a New Nation) and Charles (The Origin of the American Party System), who focus on the Federalists, Anti-Federalists, and Jefferson Republicans. The more general histories by Binkley (American Political Parties: Their Natural History) and Nichols (The Invention of the American Political Parties) extend coverage through the founding of the Democratic Party (out of the old Jefferson Republicans) and to the modern Republican Party. The origin of the Democratic Party is explained more specifically in Holt's "The Democratic Party: 1828-1860" and Kent's The Democratic Party. Jones' The Republican Party,

Sunquist's The Dynamics of the Party System, and Trefousse's "The Republican Party, 1854-1864" are especially helpful in establishing the creation of the Republicans. The leadership changes and fluctuations in electoral fortunes in our time period are described in articles previously cited by Heubner, Ross, and Wade.

Governmental Status

The "governmental status" of political parties pertains to their position within the political system. Ranney and Kendall discuss the legal status of American parties during our time period in Democracy and the American Party System, as does Gaitkskell's State Regulation of Political Parties. Party success in obtaining the presidency and representation in Congress is reported in virtually all of the major texts. The limited influence of the party organization upon its victorious presidential candidate is apparent as well in all the major works. The limitations of party within the president's cabinet is discussed explicitly by Fenno in The President's Cabinet.

Attraction, Concentration, and Reflection of Social Support

The concepts of social "attraction," "concentration," and "reflection" are advanced in the American parties literature, but they do not tend to be referenced by those terms nor are the concepts applied very rigorously. The basic data that figure in such analyses come from the Survey Research Center at the University of Michigan. The classic study of SRC voting data is The American Voter, by Campbell, Converse, Miller, and Stokes--which applies to the two Eisenhower-Stevenson elections in the middle of our time period. Although most of the parties texts utilize their data in discussions of party support and election campaigns, the literature does not provide precisely the information required for coding the parties on these concepts as developed in the ICPP Project. Therefore, we have relied upon our own tabulations of the original SRC data obtained from the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research.

Issue Orientation

The "issue orientations" of American political parties are treated extensively in the parties literature and at different levels of abstraction. Books like Bailey's Democrats vs. Republicans paint with very broad strokes on a wide variety of issues. Sundquist's Politics and Policy is also broad but contains solid research and good information. Harris' The Economics of the Political Parties, while not completely impartial, summarizes the essential differences on economic issues. Precise information on more specific issues, however, can be found in volumes of the Congressional Quarterly Almanac which cover our period. Of course, the party platforms, which have been collected for easy reference by Porter and Johnson, constitute official statements of party policy, and they were regularly consulted in coding--as were occasional party statements of principles such as the Republican Committee on Program and Progress' Decision for a Better America. Actual party behavior In voting on issues before Congress was assessed in Turner and Schneier, Party and Constituency: Pressures on Congress, and was used to validate policy statements. Finally, these basic materials on parties still left unanswered some questions about party positions on certain narrow issues, and specific works on the topics had to be consulted, such as the Congressional Quarterly's Revolution in Civil Rights, Gil's Latin-American-United States Relations, and Van Alstyne's "Constitutional Separation of Church and State: the Quest for a Coherent Position."

Goal Orientation

The "goal orientation" of American Political Parties is commonly recognized within the literature as winning elections. A major part of every text on American Parties is concerned with the nomination of candidates and election campaigns. Thus the books by Bone, Sorauf, Lawson, Keefe, and Key--to mention a few--follow this pattern. There is ample discussion of party activities in advertising candidates and getting out the vote, although the discussion is often not supported with empirical research on party behavior in the campaigns. (Some movement in the direction of research on campaigns per se is underway, though; see Agranoff's The New Style in Election Campaigns.)


Indicators of party "autonomy" in the American setting have to deal with its sources of funds and leaders. A number of studies have been done on sources of party funds. Most important to our coding were Heard's The Costs of Democracy, Alexander's Financing The 1960 Election, and McKeough's Financing Campaigns for Congress: Contribution Patterns of National-Level and Non-Party Committees. Information on party leaders was taken largely from the Congressional Quarterly Reports of occupations for Democratic and Republican members of the House of Representatives. This strata of party leaders was chosen for purposes of comparability with other countries, although delegates to the Republican and Democratic national conventions may constitute a better choice for party leaders in the United States. Occupational data on convention delegates are reported in David, Goldman, and Bain, The Politics of National Party Conventions, and McKeough and Bibby, The Costs of Participation: A Study of National Convention Delegates.

Party Organization

Discussions of Party "organization" are included in every American parties textbook, with most providing enough detail to evaluate the parties roughly on most of our indicators of the "degree of organization." There is, however, a deficiency of empirical research on local party organizations, which are often covered more thoroughly in the literature on other Western democracies. For example, there are no comprehensive studies for either party of the character or scope of local party organizations, their coverage across the country, and their frequency of meetings. Most discussions of party organization instead are limited to structural arrangements at the national level and relationships, or lack of them, between the national and state party organs. Especially helpful in this regard are Bone, Party Committees and National Politics, and Cotter and Hennessy, Political Without Power: The National Party Committees.

Most works on American parties do not draw clear distinctions between the degree of organization and "centralization of power," a separate concept in the ICPP project. Consequently, much of the literature which discusses party structure also provides useful information for evaluating the parties on indicators dealing with the locus of power. The books by Bone and Cotter and Hennessy are good examples. But some specific issues in the distribution of power require illumination from more focused studies. Problems of the national organization in holding deviant state organizations in line, for instance, are discussed by Holtzman's account of the Loyalty Pledge Controversy in the Democratic Party. The diffusion of responsibility in the collection and allocation of funds is explored most thoroughly in the literature on party finances previously cited. The role of the short-lived Democratic Advisory Council in the making of public policy is carefully examined in Sundquist's Politics and Policy.


The absence of "coherence" within both parties is another common theme in the American parties literature. Cohesion in congressional voting behavior is reviewed in Mayhew's Party Loyalty among Congressmen and in Turner and Schneier, Party Constituency: Pressures on Congress. The division of both parties into factions on the basis of issues, ideology, and leadership is treated in most texts. A major work on the pervasiveness of factionalism within American party politics is Burn's Deadlock of Democracy. Leadership factionalism, a continual trait of the Republican Party, is sketched by Jones for the Eisenhower-Taft contest on the floor of the 1952 convention and told with more juicy asides by White in his account of the Nixon-Rockefeller bargain in The Making of the President: 1960.


Empirical studies of the "involvement of members" in party life are just beginning in the United States, as in most other countries. Wilson's The Amateur Democrat explores motivations for party activity using the framework that he and Peter Clark had formulated earlier. More systematic research into the prevalence of the Clark and Wilson incentive systems has been conducted by Conway and Feigert ("Motivation, Incentive Systems, and the Political Party Organization") and Gluck ("Incentive Systems and Urban Party Organization"), while Eldersveld provides additional data for the Detroit area in Political Parties: A Behavioral Analysis.


In sum, the literature on American political parties yielded information necessary for coding most of the variables within the ICPP conceptual framework, given some notable exceptions. The concepts of aggregation and articulation, treated often cavalierly in characterizing' American parties as "highly" aggregative but not "articulative," need more rigorous conceptualization and measurement. Comprehensive studies of local party organizations are still lacking and sorely needed. Finally, to complete a list of priority needs in party research, more comparative empirical research on the motivations of party activists is required to link the study of parties with organizational theory more generally. Of course, there is always room for improvements in research on every front, but overall, the literature on American parties accounts itself well in the comparative study of political parties.