History of the Third Party in America

The overwhelming majority of people in the United States would report to you that America is very much a two-party political system, run by the Republicans and the Democrats. And while it’s pretty easy to fall into believing that, the truth of the matter is America has always been a multiple party political system – even if (in the grand scheme of things) the Republicans and the Democrats seem to be dominating. Recently though, there has been a major groundswell in support for those that are outside of these two dominant political parties. With more and more of the youth engaging in the world of politics, and feeling as though they aren’t well represented by either of these two more established parties, things are really starting to change as far as the American political landscape is concerned.

You’re interested in learning a little bit more about the history of the Third Party in the US, as well as where things stand today, hopefully you’ll find the information contained in this quick guide to be useful.


Breaking down the history of the Third Party in the United States

As mentioned above, the overwhelming majority of American history has been very much dominated by the Republicans and the Democrats, but America has never really been a two-party political system. In the earliest days of America (the real founding of America) there weren’t even Republicans or Democrats – but instead were Federalists and Democratic Republicans, as well as the Whig party. The Federalist party somewhat petered out in 1816, it wasn’t long until the Whig party transformed into the Democrat party that we know today. The Republican Party as it is known now wasn’t really “born” until about 1856, and that was only because it was the party that was established to fight against slavery.

Third parties in the American political system haven’t always done terribly, either. In 1912, for example, the Republicans wouldn’t give their presidential nod to Theodore Roosevelt, so he led the Progressive Party – and received more than 4 million popular votes (almost 30% of all votes cast).

Why doesn’t the Third Party ever seem to “breakthrough”?

There are a number of different reasons as to why the Third Party never really seems to breakthrough on the national political landscape, but a lot of it has to do with the fact that people are simply conditioned – through a variety of different approaches, some of them cultural, some of them historical, and some of them through the mass media – to fall in line with one of the two major parties. Most people are now starting to realize that this has been nothing but a game of hot potato between these two parties, with both of them much more closely aligned and they would have us believe. This is helped to lead the wellspring of support behind new third parties – such as the Libertarian party – and just might change the face of the American political landscape once again.

Current Third Parties in the United States

There are a number of other parties involved on the national political landscape in America today, and all of them could qualify as Third Parties. You have the Libertarian party, the Green Party, the Constitution Party, the Tea Party, the Communist Party, the Socialist party…and that’s only the tip of the iceberg! All of them have quite a bit of support, but all of them are a lot more fractured than the major Democrat and Republican parties are currently. The Internet, social media, and new forms of communication that make it effortless to reach the masses are changing this stranglehold, however, and going to be very interesting to see how the future of American politics transforms in the next two or three decades.

The future of the American political landscape

At the end of the day, it is unlikely that any Third Party is going to be able to break into the “mainstream” of American politics just yet. However, the support for Third Party candidates is definitely blossoming, so much so that these third-party candidates are “bleeding” into the Democrat and Republican parties in an effort to win more mainstream support. It shouldn’t be all that long until we are looking at a multiparty system as was intended in the first place!