Socialist Alternative (United States)
Socialist Alternative is a Trotskyist political party in the United States. It describes itself as "a national organization fighting in our workplaces and campuses against the exploitation and injustices people face every day" and "a community of activists fighting against budget cuts in public services. Socialist Alternative's highest profile public representative is Seattle City Councillor Kshama Sawant, elected in November 2013, it is active in over 50 cities in the United States. In September 2013, it began publishing a monthly newspaper called Socialist Alternative along with various local newsletters and media outlets, including a radio show in the Boston area, it is a member of Committee for a Workers' International, an international organization of Trotskyist parties. Socialist Alternative was formed as Labor Militant in 1986 by members of the Committee for a Workers' International who had moved to the United States and formed the Labor and Trade Union Group in the early 1980s. Labor Militant was a small group with its membership numbering of trade union members.
By the mid-1990s, Labor Militant became part of a campaign to form the Labor Party where it was in the leadership of the New York Metro Chapter. The New York Metro Chapter, the largest in the country, saw Labor Militant and its allies run again for the leadership of the chapter under the United Action slate only to be defeated in an Executive Committee election. Labor Militant members and the United Action slate had argued that the Labor Party should vigorously run candidates against the Democrats, whereas the national leadership of the Labor Party refused to take such an approach. After the election, the New York Labor Party State Executive upheld the election results while suspending the New York Metro Chapter and several of its officers shutting down the chapter. In the late 1990s, Labor Militant changed its name to Socialist Alternative to reflect what was classified as a change in the political period. From 1998 to 2002, the Socialist Alternative party was active in the anti-globalization movement.
It was present at many of the major protests during this time, including the N30 Protests in Seattle. At these protests, it argued that the movement should take up the key demands of "abolish the IMF, World Bank and the WTO", "cancel the international debt", "papers for all undocumented immigrants" and "take the banks and financial institutions into public ownership". In 2004, Socialist Alternative party members initiated Youth Against War and Racism as a sustained campaign against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. YAWR worked in high schools in counter-recruitment activism in several cities. In 2005, several hundred Seattle's high school students walked out of class in order to march in protest of the war in Iraq causing conflict with parents and school officials who contended that the students should focus on school during the day. Following protests by members of YAWR and Socialist Alternative against military recruitment in schools, the Seattle School Board enacted some restrictions on military recruiters at Seattle high schools.
The changes included limiting military recruiters to visiting twice a year to each school despite the demands by the YAWR protesters for a total ban on military recruitment at schools. The Socialist Alternative party supported the candidacy of Ralph Nader during the 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008 presidential elections. In the time leading up to the 2008 presidential election, the Socialist Alternative party criticized Barack Obama, pointing to his pro-free market stance on job creation, his record in congress of voting in favor of bills such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, his stance on healthcare reform and on other issues. In 2012, they supported Green Party candidate Jill Stein in her run. Despite criticism from other socialist groups about supporting "bourgeois candidates", Socialist Alternative argued that Stein supported a green New Deal jobs program, ending wars, canceling student debt, a single-payer health care system and other reforms supported by the party. In 2013, the Socialist Alternative party garnered attention when it elected a member to the Seattle City Council—Sawant is one of the few elected socialists in the United States.
In February 2017, Socialist Alternative reported that membership in the party had grown by more than 30% since the presidential election of Donald Trump. In November 2008, following Barack Obama's victory in the presidential election, Socialist Alternative called for "a mass workers' party" that would draw together workers, young people and activists from workplace, civil rights and antiwar campaigns in order to provide a fighting, political alternative to what they called the pro-big business parties, it paid specific attention to the role of unions in this push because according to them and other social movement organizations needed to stop funding and supporting the Democratic and Republican Parties and instead organize independent left-wing, anti-corporate candidates and coalitions as a first step toward building a "workers' party". In 2012, Socialist Alternative proposed that the Occupy movement should run its own candidates as part of a challenge to what it called the "two-party corporate duopoly" in politics.
The following year, the party would run its own candidates in Boston and Seattle, resulting in the election of Kshama Sawant in Seattle and the defeat of Ty Moore in Minneapolis. Socialist Alternative advocates socialist democracy as an alternative
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party referred to as the GOP, is one of the two major political parties in the United States. The GOP was founded in 1854 by opponents of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which had expanded slavery into U. S. territories. The party subscribed to classical liberalism and took ideological stands that were anti-slavery and pro-economic reform. Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican president in the history of the United States; the Party was dominant over the Democrats during the Third Party System and Fourth Party System. In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt formed the Progressive Party after being rejected by the GOP and ran unsuccessfully as a third-party presidential candidate calling for social reforms. After the 1912 election, many Roosevelt supporters left the Party, the Party underwent an ideological shift to the right; the liberal Republican element in the GOP was overwhelmed by a conservative surge begun by Barry Goldwater in 1964 that continued during the Reagan Era in the 1980s. After the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the party's core base shifted, with the Southern states becoming more reliably Republican in presidential politics and the Northeastern states becoming more reliably Democratic.
White voters identified with the Republican Party after the 1960s. Following the Supreme Court's 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, the Republican Party made opposition to abortion a key plank of its national party platform and grew its support among evangelicals. By 2000, the Republican Party was aligned with Christian conservatism; the Party's core support since the 1990s comes chiefly from the South, the Great Plains, the Mountain States and rural areas in the North. The 21st century Republican Party ideology is American conservatism, which contrasts with the Democrats' liberal platform and progressive wing; the GOP supports lower taxes, free market capitalism, a strong national defense, gun rights and restrictions on labor unions. The GOP was committed to protectionism and tariffs from its founding until the 1930s when it was based in the industrial Northeast and Midwest, but has grown more supportive of free trade since 1952. In addition to advocating for conservative economic policies, the Republican Party is conservative.
Founded in the Northern states in 1854 by abolitionists, modernizers, ex-Whigs and ex-Free Soilers, the Republican Party became the principal opposition to the dominant Democratic Party and the popular Know Nothing Party. The party grew out of opposition to the Kansas–Nebraska Act, which repealed the Missouri Compromise and opened Kansas Territory and Nebraska Territory to slavery and future admission as slave states; the Northern Republicans saw the expansion of slavery as a great evil. The first public meeting of the general anti-Nebraska movement, at which the name Republican was suggested for a new anti-slavery party, was held on March 20, 1854 in a schoolhouse in Ripon, Wisconsin; the name was chosen to pay homage to Thomas Jefferson's Republican Party. The first official party convention was held on July 1854 in Jackson, Michigan. At the 1856 Republican National Convention, the party adopted a national platform emphasizing opposition to the expansion of slavery into U. S. territories. While Republican candidate John C.
Frémont lost the 1856 United States presidential election to James Buchanan, he did win 11 of the 16 northern states. The Republican Party first came to power in the elections of 1860 when it won control of both houses of Congress and its candidate, former congressman Abraham Lincoln, was elected President. In the election of 1864, it united with War Democrats to nominate Lincoln on the National Union Party ticket. Under Republican congressional leadership, the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution—which banned slavery in the United States—passed the Senate in 1864 and the House in 1865; the party's success created factionalism within the party in the 1870s. Those who felt that Reconstruction had been accomplished, was continued to promote the large-scale corruption tolerated by President Ulysses S. Grant, ran Horace Greeley for the presidency; the Stalwart faction defended Grant and the spoils system, whereas the Half-Breeds pushed for reform of the civil service. The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act was passed in 1883.
The Republican Party supported hard money, high tariffs to promote economic growth, high wages and high profits, generous pensions for Union veterans, the annexation of Hawaii. The Republicans had strong support from pietistic Protestants, but they resisted demands for Prohibition; as the Northern postwar economy boomed with heavy and light industry, mines, fast-growing cities, prosperous agriculture, the Republicans took credit and promoted policies to sustain the fast growth. The GOP was dominant over the Democrats during the Third Party System. However, by 1890 the Republicans had agreed to the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Interstate Commerce Commission in response to complaints from owners of small businesses and farmers; the high McKinley Tariff of 1890 hurt the party and the Democrats swept to a landslide in the off-year elections defeating McKinley himself. The Democrats elected Grover Cleveland in 1884 and 1892; the election of William McKinley in 1896 was marked by a resurgence of Republican dominance that lasted until 1932.
McKinley promised that high tariffs would end the severe hardship caused by the Pa
Freedom Socialist Party
The Freedom Socialist Party is a far-left socialist political party with a revolutionary feminist philosophy that emerged from a split in the United States Socialist Workers Party in 1966. The party views the struggles of minorities as part of the struggle of the working class; the party's Seattle branch, with support from individuals in other cities, split off from the SWP over what it described as the SWP's entrenched opportunism and undemocratic methods. The current National Secretary of the FSP is Doug Barnes; the immediate forerunner of the FSP was the Kirk-Kaye tendency within the SWP, led by Dick Fraser and Clara Fraser who were at the time husband and wife. At the time Richard Fraser was seen as the central leader of the tendency due to his development of the theory of revolutionary integrationism. In addition to their distinctive position on civil rights, derived from the theory of revolutionary integrationism, the tendency took a position, more sympathetic to China than was the norm in the SWP, in part this being due to the alliance between the Kirk-Kaye tendency and the looser tendency of Arne Swabeck and Frank Glass.
Political differences, as articulated by the soon-to-become FSP, included what was characterized as the SWP's uncritical support of the black nationalist views of Malcolm X, SWP's orientation toward the labor aristocracy, its opportunism in the anti-Vietnam War movement, its dismissive attitude toward the emerging feminist movement. The nascent FSP advocated the class solidarity of black and white workers, called for a expanded understanding of and attention to women's emancipation, urged the anti-war movement to support the socialist, anti-colonial aims of the Vietnamese Revolution; the FSP became a pole of attraction for Seattle leftists opposed to the SWP's internal politics and established a home at Freeway Hall. The party formed Radical Women with the dual goal of building a revolutionary socialist feminist organization and teaching women the organizational and leadership skills they were denied in male-dominated organizations; the FSP is politically Trotskyist. FSP leaders Clara Fraser and Gloria Martin built on the socialist analysis of women's oppression to create a Leninist party, "socialist-feminist" in ideology and practice.
The party views the liberation struggles of women, people of color and sexual minorities as intrinsic to working class revolt, it looks to these specially-oppressed sectors of society to provide revolutionary leadership. Women comprise a predominant part of the party leadership. Overall, membership is diverse and is composed of all genders and races; the party characterizes its National Comrades of Color Caucus as offering the party's diverse ranks of people of color an opportunity to work together as a team to grow as leaders and provide direction for the party's work in people of color movements. The party has supported united front efforts on a number of issues and helps other socialist groups get on the ballot, while running its own candidates for office; the United Front Against Fascism —founded by the FSP, but including a broad coalition of the Left, the LGBT community, labor unionists, people of color and civil libertarians—took the lead in mobilizing against neo-Nazis in the Pacific Northwest in the 1980s and 90s.
The party has branches in a number of U. S. cities, as well as one in Melbourne, Australia. The Freedom Socialist newspaper is produced six times a year. Red Letter Press publishes pamphlets for the party; the FSP is affiliated with Radical Women, an autonomous socialist feminist organization. In 2003, Red Letter Press and its managing editor, Helen Gilbert, were the target of a complaint to the Federal Election Commission by the campaign committee of perennial presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche. LaRouche alleged that Gilbert and the FSP publishing house, which had issued a pamphlet by Gilbert critical of LaRouche's ideology and political history, were in violation of campaign finance laws; the FEC dismissed it. In 2004, Jordana Sardo, party organizer in Portland, ran for the Oregon House of Representatives in Oregon's 45th House district, earning 8.74% of the vote. Other FSP campaigns have been run in New York, Washington state, California. In 2012, the party ran a write-in presidential campaign with candidates Stephen Durham for U.
S. president and Christina López for vice-president. The ticket received 117 votes nationwide. Eight states do not permit write-in candidates, 32 require prior registration to be an official write-in, many do not report write-ins. In the 2016 election, FSP critically endorsed Jeff Mackler of Socialist Action for president. In 2018, the party announced that member Steve Hoffman would seek to petition onto the ballot for United States Senate against incumbent Democrat Maria Cantwell. Hoffman did not advance to the general election. Socialism and Liberty Party Party for Socialism and Liberation Freedom Socialist Party Red Letter Press Radical Women Freedom Socialist Party Seattle Branch Records. 1984-1992. 3.14 cubic feet. Melba Windoffer Papers. 1933-1990. 7.42 cubic feet. Contains records from Windoffer's service with the Freedom Socialist Party
Elections in the United States
Elections in the United States are held for government officials at the federal and local levels. At the federal level, the nation's head of state, the President, is elected indirectly by the people of each state, through an Electoral College. Today, these electors always vote with the popular vote of their state. All members of the federal legislature, the Congress, are directly elected by the people of each state. There are many elected offices at state level, each state having at least an elective Governor and legislature. There are elected offices at the local level, in counties, towns, townships and villages. According to a study by political scientist Jennifer Lawless, there were 519,682 elected officials in the United States as of 2012. While the United States Constitution does set parameters for the election of federal officials, state law, not federal, regulates most aspects of elections in the U. S. including primaries, the eligibility of voters, the running of each state's electoral college, as well as the running of state and local elections.
All elections—federal and local—are administered by the individual states. The restriction and extension of voting rights to different groups has been a contested process throughout United States history; the federal government has been involved in attempts to increase voter turnout, by measures such as the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. The financing of elections has long been controversial, because private sources make up substantial amounts of campaign contributions in federal elections. Voluntary public funding for candidates willing to accept spending limits was introduced in 1974 for presidential primaries and elections; the Federal Elections Commission, created in 1975 by an amendment to the Federal Election Campaign Act, has the responsibility to disclose campaign finance information, to enforce the provisions of the law such as the limits and prohibitions on contributions, to oversee the public funding of U. S. presidential elections. The most common method used in U. S. elections is the first-past-the-post system, where the highest polling candidate wins the election.
Some may use a two-round system, where if no candidate receives a required number of votes there is a runoff between the two candidates with the most votes. Since 2002, several cities have adopted instant-runoff voting in their elections. Voters rank the candidates in order of preference rather than voting for a single candidate. If a candidate secures more than half of votes cast, that candidate wins. Otherwise, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. Ballots assigned to the eliminated candidate are recounted and assigned to those of the remaining candidates who rank next in order of preference on each ballot; this process continues. In 2016, Maine became the first state to adopt instant-runoff voting statewide for its elections, although due to state constitutional provisions, the system is only used for federal elections and state primaries; the eligibility of an individual for voting is set out in the constitution and regulated at state level. The constitution states that suffrage cannot be denied on grounds of race or color, sex, or age for citizens eighteen years or older.
Beyond these basic qualifications, it is the responsibility of state legislatures to regulate voter eligibility. Some states ban convicted criminals felons, from voting for a fixed period of time or indefinitely; the number of American adults who are or permanently ineligible to vote due to felony convictions is estimated to be 5.3 million. Some states have legacy constitutional statements barring declared incompetent from voting. While the federal government has jurisdiction over federal elections, most election laws are decided at the state level. All U. S. states. Traditionally, voters had to register at state offices to vote, but in the mid-1990s efforts were made by the federal government to make registering easier, in an attempt to increase turnout; the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 required state governments that receive certain types of federal funding to make the voter registration process easier by providing uniform registration services through drivers' license registration centers, disability centers, schools and mail-in registration.
Other states allow citizens same-day registration on Election Day. In many states, citizens registering to vote may declare an affiliation with a political party; this declaration of affiliation does not cost money, does not make the citizen a dues-paying member of a party. A party cannot prevent a voter from declaring his or her affiliation with them, but it can refuse requests for full membership. In some states, only voters affiliated with a party may vote in that party's primary elections. Declaring a party affiliation is never required; some states, including Georgia, Minnesota, Virginia and Washington, practice non-partisan registration. Voters unable or unwilling to vote at polling stations on Election Day can vote via absentee ballots. Absentee ballots are most sent and received via the United States Postal Service. Despite their name, absentee ballots are requested and submitted in person. About half of all states and U. S. territories allow "no excuse absentee," where no reason is required to request an absentee ballot.
Others require a valid reason, such as infirmity or tra
Constitution Party (United States)
The Constitution Party known as the U. S. Taxpayers' Party, is a national political party in the United States; the idea that the principles and intents of the U. S. Constitution remain. Founding members included 2016 presidential candidate Darrell Castle and former acting Office of Economic Opportunity Director Howard Phillips; the party platform is based on originalist interpretations of the Constitution and shaped by principles it finds set forth in the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and the Bible. There are "7 Guiding Principles" for Constitution Party platforms. Throughout these principles and accompanying platform items are direct quotes from early U. S. founders and political figures, the U. S. Constitution, the Federalist Papers, the U. S. Declaration of Independence, among others; the party applies these quotes as evidence of their views of the Constitution and how the U. S. is founded on Christian principles while maintaining their support of the No Religious Test Clause. As of March 2018, the Constitution Party has 25 members elected to city council seats and other municipal offices across the United States.
In terms of registered members, the party ranks fifth among national parties in the United States. The party was founded as the U. S. Taxpayers' Party by Howard Phillips in 1991. Phillips was the party's candidate in the 1992, 1996 and 2000 presidential elections; the party's name was changed to the Constitution Party in 1999, but some state affiliate parties are known under different names. The party absorbed the American Independent Party, founded for George Wallace's 1968 presidential campaign; the Constitution Party claims to be the "philosophical home" of the Tea Party. The Constitution Party candidate, former congressman Tom Tancredo, came in second place with 617,030 votes in the 2010 Colorado gubernatorial election with 36.4% of the vote, ahead of Republican Dan Maes with 11.1%. In 2006, Rick Jore, of the recently disaffiliated Constitution Party of Montana, was elected to the Montana House of Representatives with 56.2% of the vote, defeating Democrat Jeanne Windham. The following table displays select Constitution Party state affiliate parties and organizations.
All affiliates state in their platforms support for strict adherence to the Declaration of Independence and the U. S. Constitution. Many specifically add their home state constitutions to the mix. In January 2013, Oregon re-affiliated with the national party; the Constitution Party of Montana re-affiliated with the national party in 2011. According to the party website, since November 2012, the Alaskan Independence Party has not been an affiliate; the Nebraska state affiliate of the Constitution Party is called the Nebraska Party. The party had candidates for statewide offices placed on ballots from 2002 to 2008; the stated mission of the Nebraska Party is "to restore economic prosperity to all Nebraskans, to restore the Christian Principles of our Forefathers, to get the Government back in the hands of the people. The Nebraska Party is founded on the principles of the Democrat-Republican Party, established in the early 1800s by Thomas Jefferson; the Democrat-Republican Party, now the Nebraska Party, represents the people, the working people, family farmers, small business and, of course, our senior citizens".
The Constitution Party branches in North Carolina and several other states adhere to what they proclaim as the "Seven Essential Core Values". These core values are defined as "the Sanctity of Life, Religious Freedom, Traditional Family, Private Property Rights, Pro-Second Amendment, National Sovereignty, Anti-Socialism"; the party claims to be the state's only 100% Pro-Life political party. The origins of the state party can be traced to October 2000, when founding member Brenda Donnellan and activists from Wood County served as plaintiffs in Phillips v Hechler, civ 6:00-894; this litigation resulted in a November 3, 2000, ruling against Secretary of State Ken Hechler, forcing him to allow Constitution Party presidential nominee, Howard Phillips, to run as a declared write-in candidate without paying a filing fee. The 1964 Constitution Party presidential nominee, Joseph B. Lightburn, was a neighbor of Donnellan's in Jane Lew. Lightburn served as National Committeeman for the Constitution Party of West Virginia, but the original party had long been defunct.
There was no connection between the two. Because the Constitution Party is not a major party in the state, its voters are permitted to vote in the primary but must take the initiative to ask for either a Republican or Democratic party ballot in lieu of the standard non-partisan ballot; because in many states the party has not yet attained ballot qualification status, voters in those states registering with it must check an "Other Party" or "Other" box on the voter registration form and write the word "Constitution" on the line. Voter registration status can be checked on at the Secretary of State's website. In early 2006, Christopher H. Hansen, the gubernatorial candidate of Independent American Party of Nevada, candidates in Colorado and Idaho, publicly expressed support for allowing abortions in the cases of rape and for those performed to save the life of the mother, a contrary view to the official Nevada platform. At the party's April 2008 national convention in Tampa, the assembly voted not to disaffiliate Nevada, citing that affiliate's official position on the issue and the national party's policy against dictating the internal affairs of any affiliate.
They made it more difficult to introduce a disaffiliatio
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. Tracing its heritage back to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's Democratic-Republican Party, the modern-day Democratic Party was founded around 1828 by supporters of Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party; the Democrats' dominant worldview was once social conservatism and economic liberalism, while populism was its leading characteristic in the rural South. In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt ran as a third-party candidate in the Progressive Party, beginning a switch of political platforms between the Democratic and Republican Party over the coming decades, leading to Woodrow Wilson being elected as the first fiscally progressive Democrat. Since Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal coalition in the 1930s, the Democratic Party has promoted a social liberal platform, supporting social justice. Well into the 20th century, the party had conservative pro-business and Southern conservative-populist anti-business wings.
The New Deal Coalition of 1932–1964 attracted strong support from voters of recent European extraction—many of whom were Catholics based in the cities. After Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal of the 1930s, the pro-business wing withered outside the South. After the racial turmoil of the 1960s, most Southern whites and many Northern Catholics moved into the Republican Party at the presidential level; the once-powerful labor union element became less supportive after the 1970s. White Evangelicals and Southerners became Republican at the state and local level since the 1990s. People living in metropolitan areas, women and gender minorities, college graduates, racial and ethnic minorities in the United States, such as Jewish Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, Arab Americans and African Americans, tend to support the Democratic Party much more than they support the rival Republican Party; the Democratic Party's philosophy of modern liberalism advocates social and economic equality, along with the welfare state.
It seeks to provide government regulation in the economy. These interventions, such as the introduction of social programs, support for labor unions, affordable college tuitions, moves toward universal health care and equal opportunity, consumer protection and environmental protection form the core of the party's economic policy. Fifteen Democrats have served as President of the United States; the first was President Andrew Jackson, the seventh president and served from 1829 to 1837. The most recent was President Barack Obama, the 44th president and held office from 2009 to 2017. Following the 2018 midterm elections, the Democrats held a majority in the House of Representatives, "trifectas" in 14 states, the mayoralty of numerous major American cities, such as Boston, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Portland and Washington, D. C. Twenty-three state governors were Democrats, the Party was the minority party in the Senate and in most state legislatures; as of March 2019, four of the nine Justices of the Supreme Court had been appointed by Democratic presidents.
Democratic Party officials trace its origins to the inspiration of the Democratic-Republican Party, founded by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and other influential opponents of the Federalists in 1792. That party inspired the Whigs and modern Republicans. Organizationally, the modern Democratic Party arose in the 1830s with the election of Andrew Jackson. Since the nomination of William Jennings Bryan in 1896, the party has positioned itself to the left of the Republican Party on economic issues, they have been more liberal on civil rights issues since 1948. On foreign policy, both parties have changed position several times; the Democratic Party evolved from the Jeffersonian Republican or Democratic-Republican Party organized by Jefferson and Madison in opposition to the Federalist Party of Alexander Hamilton and John Adams. The party favored republicanism; the Democratic-Republican Party came to power in the election of 1800. After the War of 1812, the Federalists disappeared and the only national political party left was the Democratic-Republicans.
The era of one-party rule in the United States, known as the Era of Good Feelings, lasted from 1816 until the early 1830s, when the Whig Party became a national political group to rival the Democratic-Republicans. However, the Democratic-Republican Party still had its own internal factions, they split over the choice of a successor to President James Monroe and the party faction that supported many of the old Jeffersonian principles, led by Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren, became the modern Democratic Party. As Norton explains the transformation in 1828: Jacksonians believed the people's will had prevailed. Through a lavishly financed coalition of state parties, political leaders, newspaper editors, a popular movement had elected the president; the Democrats became the nation's first well-organized national party and tight party organization became the hallmark of nineteenth-century American politics. Opposing factions led by Henry Clay helped form the Whig Party; the Democratic Party had a small yet decisive advantage over the Whigs until the 1850s, when the Whigs fell apart over the issue of slavery.
In 1854, angry with the Kansas–Nebraska Act, anti-slavery Dem
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress, which along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—comprises the legislature of the United States. The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol, in Washington, D. C; the composition and powers of the Senate are established by Article One of the United States Constitution. The Senate is composed of senators; each state, regardless of its population size, is represented by two senators who serve staggered terms of six years. There being at present 50 states in the Union, there are presently 100 senators. From 1789 until 1913, senators were appointed by legislatures of the states; as the upper chamber of Congress, the Senate has several powers of advice and consent which are unique to it. These include the approval of treaties, the confirmation of Cabinet secretaries, Supreme Court justices, federal judges, flag officers, regulatory officials, other federal executive officials and other federal uniformed officers.
In addition to these, in cases wherein no candidate receives a majority of electors for Vice President, the duty falls to the Senate to elect one of the top two recipients of electors for that office. Furthermore, the Senate has the responsibility of conducting the trials of those impeached by the House; the Senate is considered both a more deliberative and more prestigious body than the House of Representatives due to its longer terms, smaller size, statewide constituencies, which led to a more collegial and less partisan atmosphere. The presiding officer of the Senate is the Vice President of the United States, President of the Senate. In the Vice President's absence, the President Pro Tempore, customarily the senior member of the party holding a majority of seats, presides over the Senate. In the early 20th century, the practice of majority and minority parties electing their floor leaders began, although they are not constitutional officers; the drafters of the Constitution created a bicameral Congress as a compromise between those who felt that each state, since it was sovereign, should be represented, those who felt the legislature must directly represent the people, as the House of Commons did in Great Britain.
This idea of having one chamber represent people while the other gives equal representation to states regardless of population, was known as the Connecticut Compromise. There was a desire to have two Houses that could act as an internal check on each other. One was intended to be a "People's House" directly elected by the people, with short terms obliging the representatives to remain close to their constituents; the other was intended to represent the states to such extent as they retained their sovereignty except for the powers expressly delegated to the national government. The Senate was thus not designed to serve the people of the United States equally; the Constitution provides that the approval of both chambers is necessary for the passage of legislation. First convened in 1789, the Senate of the United States was formed on the example of the ancient Roman Senate; the name is derived from Latin for council of elders. James Madison made the following comment about the Senate: In England, at this day, if elections were open to all classes of people, the property of landed proprietors would be insecure.
An agrarian law would soon take place. If these observations be just, our government ought to secure the permanent interests of the country against innovation. Landholders ought to have a share in the government, to support these invaluable interests, to balance and check the other, they ought to be so constituted. The Senate, ought to be this body. Article Five of the Constitution stipulates that no constitutional amendment may be created to deprive a state of its equal suffrage in the Senate without that state's consent; the District of Columbia and all other territories are not entitled to representation allowed to vote in either House of the Congress. The District of Columbia elects two "shadow U. S. Senators", but they are officials of the D. C. City Government and not members of the U. S. Senate; the United States has had 50 states since 1959, thus the Senate has had 100 senators since 1959. The disparity between the most and least populous states has grown since the Connecticut Compromise, which granted each state two members of the Senate and at least one member of the House of Representatives, for a total minimum of three presidential electors, regardless of population.
In 1787, Virginia had ten times the population of Rhode Island, whereas today California has 70 times the population of Wyoming, based on the 1790 and 2000 censuses. This means some citizens are two orders of magnitude better represented in the Senate than those in other states. Seats in the House of Representatives are proportionate to the population of each state, reducing the disparity of representation. Before the adoption of the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913, senators were elected by the individual state legislatures. Problems with repeated vacant seats due to the inability of a legislature to elect senators, intrastate political struggles, bribery and intimidation had led to a growing movement to amend the Constitution to allow for the direct election of senators; the party composition of the Senate during the 116th Congress: Art