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Ch 5: AP US Government and Politics: Political Parties

About This Chapter

Watch video lessons and learn how and why political parties function within American politics. Use the quizzes at the end of every lesson to evaluate your understanding of the learning materials.

Political Parties - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

Understanding how the political party system started in the U.S. and tracing its evolution through today's political culture can help put U.S. government and politics into perspective. In this series of video lessons, you'll gain an overview of how political parties are organized so that they can best achieve their goals within the electoral system.

Political parties sometimes work with advocacy and special interest groups, which has certain risks and benefits. Political parties must also concern themselves with outreach efforts to persuade new members to join; however, there are always people who feel that political party membership isn't for them. In these lessons, you'll learn things like:

  • How political parties are organized to carry out specific functions
  • How political parties evolved from early America to the present day
  • Characteristics of two-party and multi-party systems
  • How political parties interact with special interest groups
  • What motivates people to join a political party

Video Objective
Political Party: Definition, Function, Organization & Mobilization Define what a political party is, and explain its structure, purpose and activities.
The National Parties: Organization & Structure Describe the parts of a political party and their purposes; include national conventions, national committees, congressional campaign committees and national chairs.
History of Political Parties in the United States (Pre-Civil War) Outline the history of the two-party system from America's earliest days up to the Civil War era.
History of Political Parties in the United States (Post-Civil War) Outline the history of the two-party system in America from the Civil War era to the modern era.
Two-Party & Multi-Party Systems: Similarities & Differences Compare and contrast two- and multiple-party systems.
Minor (Third) Parties: Definition, Role & Examples Explain what role minor and third parties play in American politics; provide examples.
The Relationship Between Political Parties & Interest Groups Discuss the differences between special interest and advocacy groups and political parties; describe the relationships between the two types of groups.
The Current State of Contemporary United States Political Parties Discuss political parties in America as they function today; describe realignment and dealignment.
Electoral and Party Systems: Definition & Role Define the electoral system; describe the role political parties play in the electoral system.
Party Identification and Membership Discuss political party membership; include a look at what prompts people to identify with a party, such as ideology, education, gender, etc.; discuss why some people register as independent voters instead.

10 Lessons in Chapter 5: AP US Government and Politics: Political Parties
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Political Party: Definition, Function, Organization & Mobilization

1. Political Party: Definition, Function, Organization & Mobilization

When a group of like-minded individuals come together to win an election, this is known as a political party. Understand the definition and function of a political party, and examine how a political party is organized and mobilized to work towards electing their chosen candidates.

The National Parties: Organization & Structure

2. The National Parties: Organization & Structure

The national party system in America is comprised of two major political parties; Democratic and Republican. Learn about the organization and structure of the major national parties in America.

History of Political Parties in the United States (Pre-Civil War)

3. History of Political Parties in the United States (Pre-Civil War)

The history of political parties in the United States before the Civil War was defined by continual evolution in response to how government should be run. Learn about the creation of two parties and the evolution of the two-party system in America.

History of Political Parties in the United States (Post-Civil War)

4. History of Political Parties in the United States (Post-Civil War)

Learn the history of political parties in the United States, post-Civil War race and economic issues, and how the Democratic and Republican parties emerged after the Whig party split. Explore what the two-party system looks like in the modern era.

Two-Party & Multi-Party Systems: Similarities & Differences

5. Two-Party & Multi-Party Systems: Similarities & Differences

Governments often have two-party or multi-party systems, with each group possessing distinct ideologies and legislative policies. Examine the similarities and differences in governments with two-party systems compared to those with multi-party systems.

Minor (Third) Parties: Definition, Role & Examples

6. Minor (Third) Parties: Definition, Role & Examples

A minor or third party offers a political option outside of the Democratic and Republican parties. Explore the definition of a third party, how they are formed, examples of past candidates, and the role of third parties in the political system.

The Progressive Movement & Mechanisms for Increased Political Participation

7. The Progressive Movement & Mechanisms for Increased Political Participation

The Progressive Movement was a period that saw a desire for government reform, which resulted in several mechanisms for increased political participation aimed at strengthening democracy. Learn about the Progressive Movement, the Progressives' desire to strengthen democracy, the goal of eliminating corruption, and moves taken to protect laborers.

The Current State of Contemporary United States Political Parties

8. The Current State of Contemporary United States Political Parties

When looking at the current state of contemporary United States political parties, it is helpful to understand how politics are influenced. In this lesson, dive into the different mechanisms for political change, realignment, dealignment, tipping, and more detail about the current state of U.S. political parties.

Electoral and Party Systems: Definition & Role

9. Electoral and Party Systems: Definition & Role

An electoral system is a way a country facilitates appointing leaders from political parties. Discover the dominance of the two-party system in the US, the logic behind electoral systems and how they are set up, and the laws that benefit the two major parties and place obstacles in the way of minority parties.

Political Party Identification & Membership

10. Political Party Identification & Membership

A political party's identification and membership will frame it's loyalties to a particular part of the political spectrum. Learn more about what a political party is, explore democrats, republicans and independents, and understand what factors influence party identification and voters.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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More Exams
There are even more practice exams available in AP US Government and Politics: Political Parties.

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