World war i and the system of 1896

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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 McKinleys victory in that year ushered in a Republican-dominated era lasting until Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelts election in 1932. The 10 years of partialand six years of totalDemocratic 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 GOPs resurgence in 1920. This conclusion highlights realignment theorys failure to account for the important role of international events and contingency in general.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)825-836
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Politics
Volume72
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2010

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