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Government & Politics   >   The US Party System

The Emergence of Political Parties in the US

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The US Party System

This course explores the US Party System, oriented around the US Politics section of the Government and Politics A-Level specifications. Throughout, we analyse voter statistics from the 2020 election, and refer to several useful examples from the administrations of Donald Trump and Joe Biden. We begin in the first lecture by outlining the US Party System, before moving on in the second lecture to discuss the key policies and history of the Democratic Party. In the third lecture we do the same for the Republican Party, before moving on in the fourth lecture to outline the absolute centrality of race and gender to voter behaviour in the US. In the fifth lecture we then consider the importance of age, education, religion and geography to voter behaviour. Then, in the sixth and final lecture, we highlight the importance of Congress in US politics, which is often underemphasised by comparison with the personality and policies of the incumbent President.

The Emergence of Political Parties in the US

In this module, we outline the US Party System, focusing in particular on: (i) the formation of the party system; (ii) present-day party polarisation as exemplified by the January 6th Capitol Riot; (iii) the distinguishing features of the two main parties and how this shapes voting behaviour; (iv) how party polarisation affects the health of American democracy, before rounding up with (v) an outline of the course.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

McLay, M. (2022, February 23). The US Party System - The Emergence of Political Parties in the US [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McLay, M. "The US Party System – The Emergence of Political Parties in the US." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 23 Feb 2022,


Dr Mark McLay

Dr Mark McLay

Glasgow University