Samuel DeCanio and Corwin D.
Smidt, "Prelude to populism: Mass electoral support for the
Grange and Greenback parties," Party Politics, 19
(September 2013), 798-820. [Available at
American third parties are somewhat of an enigma. With the
exception of the Republican Party, third parties have simply
failed as political organizations (Gillespie, 1993;
Rosenstone et al., 1984; Sundquist, 1973). While they have
been generally unsuccessful as political organizations,
third parties have contributed critical ideas to American
politics. As Richard Hofstadter (1955: 97) noted, third
parties are like bees, once they have 'stung' the political
system by advancing a new policy or idea, they 'die' as
their ideas are appropriated by the dominant
- Figures and
- Table 1. Party composition in Indiana (1874).
- Table 2. Party composition in Illinois
- Table 3. Economic characteristics by party and
occupation (Illinois, 1876-77).
- Table 4. Party affiliation in Indiana (1874).
- Table 5. Party affiliation in Illinois
- Table 6. Influence of independent variables on party
affiliation (Indiana 1874).
- Table 7. Influence of independent variables on party
affiliation (Illinois 1876-77).
This particular issue configuration may have made Democrats
sceptical of the Greenbackers' support for paper inflation,
yet led affluent voters who had supported the Whigs more
likely to endorse the Greenbackers' policy positions. By
structuring voters' conceptions of their economic and
political interests, these partisan considerations may have
directly influenced their political behaviour. If correct,
this may indicate that antebellum issue cleavages continued
to influence the American party system well after the Civil
War. Indeed, this finding may be testament to the enduring
influence of partisan considerations long after the original
associations between parties and specific issues were