Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Journal of Politics

Publisher

Cambridge University Press

Publication Date

7-2010

Abstract

Realignment theory has long offered the primary framework for understanding American political history, particularly as it relates to the party system. The ‘‘System of 1896’’ is central to the theory and holds that William McKinley’s victory in that year ushered in a Republican-dominated era lasting until Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt’s election in 1932. The 10 years of partial—and six years of total—Democratic control of Congress and the White House (1910–20) during this 36-year stretch (1896–1932) remains an anomaly among realignment theorists. I conduct content analyses of Democratic and Republican party documents and media commentary and find that World War I played a crucial role in the GOP’s resurgence in 1920. This conclusion highlights realignment theory’s failure to account for the important role of international events and contingency in general.

DOI

10.1017/S0022381610000198

Comments

© 2010, Cambridge University Press. View original published article at 10.1017/S0022381610000198.

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