Wednesday 4 April 2018 8.30 - 10.30N-1 - POL21 : A Fresh Look at Political Parties in the 19th and 20th Centuries
PFC/02/018 Sir Peter Froggatt Centre
Political parties play an important role in modern democracies. But only few empirical studies have analyzed them as a general phenomenon, explaining the emergence of their organizational model in nineteenth-century Europe. While historians have focused on single case studies, social scientists have emphasized structural factors such as socio-economic change and ... (Show more)
Political parties play an important role in modern democracies. But only few empirical studies have analyzed them as a general phenomenon, explaining the emergence of their organizational model in nineteenth-century Europe. While historians have focused on single case studies, social scientists have emphasized structural factors such as socio-economic change and the transformation of political systems. This paper takes another perspective on these structural explanations by analyzing the role of agency in these general processes. Instead of interpreting the behavior of party founders as a consequence of their environment, I show how individuals were able to create the first party organizations in very different structural circumstances.
For this purpose, I compare the foundation process of three party organizations: German Social Democratic Workers’ Party, British National Liberal Federation and the Dutch Anti-Revolutionary Party. Focusing on common processes of reinterpretation, I first analyze the role of ideas and political transfer. An important example for this is the British Anti-Corn Law League, which provided a successful model of mass organization to all three cases. Party founders used this previous model to create their own narrative of political representation, arguing that current elites had failed to solve social misery. Combining this injustice frame to political organization, they could mobilize enough followers for their new political organizations. In the eyes of the first party members, their leaders soon became the only representative of the people.
In the second part of the paper, I provide an account of the nineteenth-century criticism to these new organizations, showing the contested nature of early mass politics. Not only in the emerging mass media, but also in the first scholarly publications, the evaluation of the mass party was predominantly negative. Authors like Robert Michels or Mosei Ostrogorski questioned the democratic ability of the new organizations. They believed that inside party structure, ordinary members had only limited political influence. Contemporaries also feared the negative consequences of mass mobilization in an age of violent revolution.
Bringing these different historical interpretations together, I contribute to recent debates in the political science literature. While most political scientists argue that declining party members are a threat to democratic legitimacy, I show why and how the concept of the democratic mass party was created in the first place. In this historical perspective, the relationship between democracy and the mass party was not only a narrative with a specific organizational function, but also highly contested. Once the historical discussions behind these different interpretations are acknowledged, I conclude by arguing for a more nuanced scholarly perspective on the current decline of the mass party. (Show less)
Sarah John , Don DeBats : Celebrating the Fifteenth Amendment? A Study of Individual Black and White Political Engagement in the Post-Civil War South
In March 1870, the 15th Amendment to the US Constitution enfranchised African-American men and became the law of the land. It promised a revolution in the disposition of political power in the post-war South and was heralded as “the crowning act” of Emancipation from slavery: it was “the greatest prize ... (Show more)
In March 1870, the 15th Amendment to the US Constitution enfranchised African-American men and became the law of the land. It promised a revolution in the disposition of political power in the post-war South and was heralded as “the crowning act” of Emancipation from slavery: it was “the greatest prize of the Civil War.”
That ennobling rhetoric is often read today as but another false promise, ignored by the Republican Party and violated by the Democratic Party, leaving a “New South” based on black disenfranchisement.
This paper brings new data and new tools to test the efficacy of the 15th Amendment and the validity of this conventional wisdom. It shows that in some contexts, but not others, coalitions of African Americans and white Republicans could combine to win elections: high levels of segregated partisanship in presidential politics gave way to bi-racial coalitions in contests for judicial and law enforcement offices, often with higher turnout than for offices at the top of the ticket.
It traces Kentucky voters and potential voters using individual voting records preserved in the poll books -- the official election records created by local election officials as required in all oral or viva voce elections. Kentucky, a Union state but also a major slave state, was exempt from Reconstruction: it became the only former slave state to persist with oral voting. It is thus the only state that generated the individual-level voting data that we use to test the efficacy of the 15th Amendment.
Over time, most Kentucky poll books for the post-Civil War years have been discarded or destroyed, but good runs survive for Todd County and Garrard County, both deeply committed to slavery but with divergent political economies. Todd, on the Tennessee line, was very much part of Kentucky’s “Black Patch” tobacco world while Garrard, near Lexington, was a “Blue Grass” county. Slavery had been concentrated in the south of Todd but spread evenly across Garrard.
In 1870, Todd and Garrard counties were made up of similar proportions of African Americans (39% and 33%), which closely approximated their 1860 slave populations, and who largely voted Republican in presidential elections. In Garrard County, here was a substantial and widespread white Republican vote after the Civil War. The county became a Republican county. By contrast, white Republicans in Todd were quickly confined to a single precinct and the Democrats remained in easy control of the county. In both case studies however, cross-racial voting was a commonplace, especially for elections that determined law enforcement and the dispensing of justice.
The paper reminds us that black voting rights were eliminated only gradually and more as a result of legislation than threats of violence and intimidation (Kousser, 1974; Keyssar, 2000). With its new data and methodologies, the paper explains why black voting continued for many years in some situations prior to the imposition of legal disenfranchisement while it disappeared quickly in other contexts (Hogan, 2011; O’Donovan, 2007) (Show less)
Nathaniël Kunkeler : The Organisation of Fascist Myth-making in Sweden and the Netherlands, 1933-40
Throughout the interwar years, minor fascist parties mushroomed across Europe, struggling to assert and define themselves to the public. While national media were typically focused on the rise of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, indigenous fascist parties inspired by their foreign counterparts, faced an uphill struggle to differentiate themselves through ... (Show more)
Throughout the interwar years, minor fascist parties mushroomed across Europe, struggling to assert and define themselves to the public. While national media were typically focused on the rise of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, indigenous fascist parties inspired by their foreign counterparts, faced an uphill struggle to differentiate themselves through an arduous exercise in fascist myth-making never faced by the Germans or Italians. This is a comparative case study of two examples: The National Socialist Workers’ Party (NSAP) led by Sven Olov Lindholm, and the National Socialist Movement (NSB) of Anton Mussert, two ‘failed’ fascist parties of the 1930s in stable democratic regimes.
This paper will look at how the Dutch NSB and the Swedish NSAP used their organisational apparatus, based on that of the German Nazi party, and modified it to suit their national contexts. While many historians have dismissed these parties as ‘copycats’, their engagement with Nazi organisation and propaganda strategy was far more complex than the derogatory term suggests. Comparing the two party organisations, the relationships between organisation, finances, propaganda, and ultimately electoral success and failure will be highlighted, showing how these were tied to their countries’ particular infrastructures, and socio-political scenes. While the comparatively diminutive size of these ‘failed’ parties has caused many historians to dismiss them the Swedish and Dutch fascist parties possessed a disproportionate mobilising capacity; the propaganda apparatus relied on a relatively small group of fanatic and hard-working cadres which could out-produce and out-perform its rivals even with little financial resources. Using internal party documents and publications, the paper will focus particularly on propaganda events such as party congresses, marches, and rallies to mobilise and propagate specific myths of national fascism.
These parties relied on mobilising myths to motivate their members, and for over a decade sustained a continuous propaganda drive in spite of repeated electoral failure. Combining insights into the operations of party apparatuses with a social-cultural theory of the fascist myth-making which drove propaganda activity, internally and outwardly, propaganda can be understood as performances, dissecting the processes and organisation underlying fascist political theatre, allowing us to draw conclusions about how mythic understandings of fascism were inculcated and disseminated to the public, sometimes successfully, often not. Foregrounding the practical and material requirements of, and limits to, fascist myth-making by these comparatively minor parties will offer a new perspective on the challenges Italy’s and Germany’s fascist regimes gave to their smaller counterparts elsewhere, as they attempted to reconcile their national cultures with the international image of fascism. (Show less)
Patrícia Lucas : Conservatives, or not so much? An Analysis of the Ideology of a Portuguese Monarchic Party
The Portuguese political landscape of the second half of the nineteenth century has commonly been divided by historiography in terms of liberals vs. conservatives or, from a somewhat anachronistic perspective, left vs. right. Therefore, the liberal parties were, initially, the «Partido Histórico» and «Partido Reformista» and, secondly, the «Partido Progressista». ... (Show more)
The Portuguese political landscape of the second half of the nineteenth century has commonly been divided by historiography in terms of liberals vs. conservatives or, from a somewhat anachronistic perspective, left vs. right. Therefore, the liberal parties were, initially, the «Partido Histórico» and «Partido Reformista» and, secondly, the «Partido Progressista». As for the conservatives, the organization usually associated with this political position is the «Partido Regenerador».
However, a closer analysis creates different hypothesis. The «Partido Regenerador» existed between the 1850’s and the beginning of the Republic in 1910, and was the party organization that held government for a longer time in the Portuguese Constitutional Monarchy. During its time in office, the «Regeneradores» produced and put into practice some of the most modernizing and democratizing laws, especially concerning the suffrage and the liberty of press. The fact that – contrary to their adversaries, the «Progressistas» – the «Regeneradores» did not have a political program until 1910, contributes to maintain the doubts about its ideological position.
What we intend through this study is to, using a variety of sources available, namely parliament speeches and press articles, analyze the considerations made regarding the ideology of the party, and to understand what was the ideology, or ideologies, truly advocated by the «Partido Regenerador». (Show less)