The Sundquist's Realignment Process

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To demonstrate this realignment process within the working definition provided for the thesis, Sundquist’s conceptual model offers a hypothetical scenario concerning how major polarizing issues may, or may not, cut across party lines and lead to a partisan shift in support (Lawson, 1974). In his scenario, there is a society without previous political identification or affiliation. This society establishes the foundation for a democratic government and elect district council members. Once harvest season arrives, some settlers are interested in raising the tax rates in order to use revenues to increase their crop production through the creation of an irrigation system. “The proposal splits the community. The undifferentiated society suddenly…show more content…
In the 1850s, slavery became the first polarizing issue as it cut squarely across the two major political parties at the time, the Whigs and the Democrats, geographically splitting along the separation of free states and slave states. Following the pattern of Sundquist’s hypothetical scenario 4, a realignment occurred through the replacement of one major party. The new party comprised of the Whigs were searching for new issues with which to challenge the incumbents. Abolitionism was a promising cause. With the rising fervor of the antislavery movement, the division of the Whig party was imminent as the party bent much of their doctrines to appeal to the abolitionists. As mass meetings throughout the Northern states organized, the foundation of the new Republican party was formed with the Whigs as its vehicle. By 1860, the Republicans solidified their dominance with the election of Abraham Lincoln. Sundquist demonstrates that this party realignment and the Civil War correlates to the slavery issue through the use of quantitative support of voting data references. The crosscutting conflict of slavery was beyond the capacity of centrist politicians to resolve (89). Thus, the two-party system was re-established in American

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