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A two-party system is a system where two major political parties dominate politics within a government. One of the two parties typically holds a majority in the legislature and is usually referred to as the majority party while the other is the minority party. The term has different senses. For example, in the United States, Jamaica, and Malta, the sense of two party system describes an arrangement in which all or nearly all elected officials only belong to one of the two major parties, and third parties rarely win any seats in the legislature. In such arrangements, two-party systems are thought to result from various factors like winner takes all election rules.123456 In such systems, while chances for third party candidates winning election to major national office are remote, it is possible for groups within the larger parties, or in opposition to one or both of them, to exert influence on the two major parties.789101112 In contrast, in the United Kingdom and in other parliamentary systems and elsewhere, the term two-party system is sometimes used to indicate an arrangement in which two major parties dominate elections but in which there are viable third parties which do win seats in the legislature, and in which the two major parties exert proportionately greater influence than their percentage of votes would suggest.
There is strong agreement that the United States has a two-party system; historically, there have been few instances in which third party candidates won an election. In countries such as Britain and Spain,13 two major parties emerge which have strong influence and tend to elect most of the candidates, but a multitude of lesser parties exist with varying degrees of influence, and sometimes these lesser parties are able to elect officials who participate in the legislature. A report in the Christian Science Monitor, for example, suggested that Spain was moving towards a "greater two-party system" while acknowledging that Spain has "many small parties."14 In political systems based on the Westminster system, which is a particular style of parliamentary democracy based on the British model and found in many commonwealth countries, a majority party will form the government and the minority party will form the opposition, and coalitions of lesser parties are possible; in the rare circumstance in which neither party is the majority, a hung parliament arises. Sometimes these systems are described as two-party systems but they are usually referred to as multi-party systems. There is not always a sharp boundary between a two-party system and a multi-party system.
Generally, a two-party system becomes a dichotomous division of the political spectrum with an ostensibly right-wing and left-wing party: the Nationalist Party vs. the Labour Party in Malta, Liberal vs. Labor in Australia, Republicans vs. Democrats in the United States and formerly the Conservative Party vs. the Labour Party in the United Kingdom.
Examples of countries with two-party systems include the United States, Jamaica, and Malta. Other parties in these countries may have seen candidates elected to local or subnational office, however. Historian John Hicks claims that the United States has never possessed for any considerable period of time the two party system in its pure and undefiled form.15
In some governments, certain chambers may resemble a two-party system and others a multi-party system. For example, the politics of Australia are largely two-party (if the Liberal Party and National Party are considered the same party at a national level due to their long-standing alliance) for the Australian House of Representatives, which is elected by Instant Runoff Voting, (known within Australia as preferential voting). However, third parties are more common in the Australian Senate, which uses a proportional voting system more amenable to minor parties.
India too is showing characteristics of two party system with United Progressive Alliance (UPA)16 and National Democratic Alliance (NDA)17 as the two main players. It is to be noted that both UPA and NDA are not two political parties but alliances of several smaller parties. Other smaller parties not aligned with either NDA or UPA exist,18 and overall command about 20% of the 2009 seats in the Lok Sabha.
The Politics of Malta are somewhat unusual in that while the electoral system is single transferable vote (STV), traditionally associated with proportional representation, minor parties have not earned much success. No third parties won any seats in the Parliament in Malta's most recent election, for example. The Labour Party and the Nationalist Party are the dominant parties. This is not the most common party system.
Two-party systems can be compared with:
- Multi-party systems. In these, the effective number of parties is greater than two but usually fewer than five; in a two-party system, the effective number of parties is two (according to one analysis, the actual average number of parties varies between 1.7 and 2.1.)21 The parties in a multi-party system can control government separately or as a coalition; in a two-party system, however, coalition governments rarely form. Examples of nations with multi-party systems include Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, and Taiwan.
- Single-party systems or dominant-party systems happen in nations where no more than one party is codified in law and/or officially recognized, or where alternate parties are restricted by the dominant party which wields power. Examples include rule by the Communist Party of China, United Russia, and the People's Action Party of Singapore.
There are several reasons why, in some systems, two major parties dominate the political landscape. There has been speculation that a two-party system arose in the United States from early political battling between the federalists and anti-federalists in the first few decades after the ratification of the Constitution, according to several views.122 In addition, there has been more speculation that the winner-takes-all electoral system as well as particular state and federal laws regarding voting procedures helped to cause a two-party system.1
Political scientists such as Maurice Duverger23 and William H. Riker claim that there are strong correlations between voting rules and type of party system. Jeffrey D. Sachs agreed that there was a link between voting arrangements and the effective number of parties. Sachs explained how the First Past The Post voting arrangement tended to promote a two-party system:
The main reason for America's majoritarian character is the electoral system for Congress. Members of Congress are elected in single-member districts according to the "first-past-the-post" (FPTP) principle, meaning that the candidate with the plurality of votes is the winner of the congressional seat. The losing party or parties win no representation at all. The first-past-the-post election tends to produce a small number of major parties, perhaps just two, a principle known in political science as Duverger's Law. Smaller parties are trampled in first-past-the-post elections.—Sachs, The Price of Civilization, 201124
Consider a system in which voters can vote for any candidate from any one of many parties. Suppose further that if a party gets 15% of votes, then that party will win 15% of the seats in the legislature. This is termed proportional representation or more accurately as party-proportional representation. Political scientists speculate that proportional representation leads logically to multi-party systems, since it allows new parties to build a niche in the legislature:
Because even a minor party may still obtain at least a few seats in the legislature, smaller parties have a greater incentive to organize under such electoral systems than they do in the United States.—Schmidt, Shelley, Bardes (2008), 1
In contrast, a voting system that allows only a single winner for each possible legislative seat is sometimes termed a plurality voting system or single-winner voting system and is usually described under the heading of a winner–takes–all arrangement. Each voter can cast a single vote for any candidate within any given legislative district, but the candidate with the most votes wins the seat, although variants, such as requiring a majority, are sometimes used. What happens is that in a general election, a party that consistently comes in third in every district is unlikely to win any legislative seats even if there is a significant proportion of the electorate favoring its positions. This arrangement strongly favors large and well–organized political parties that are able to appeal to voters in many districts and hence win many seats, and discourages smaller or regional parties. Politically oriented people consider their only realistic way to capture political power is to be either a Republican or Democrat.1
In the U.S., forty-eight states have a standard winner-takes-all electoral system for amassing presidential votes in the Electoral College system.25 The winner–takes–all principle applies in presidential elections, since if a presidential candidate gets the most votes in any particular state, all of the electoral votes from that state are awarded. In all but two states, Maine and Nebraska, the presidential candidate winning a plurality of votes wins all of the electoral votes, a practice called the unit rule.1
Duverger concluded that "plurality election single-ballot procedures are likely to produce two-party systems, whereas proportional representation and runoff designs encourage multipartyism."23 He suggested there were two reasons why winner–takes–all systems leads to a two-party system. First, the weaker parties are pressured to form an alliance, sometimes called a fusion, to try to become big enough to challenge a large dominant party and, in so doing, gain political clout in the legislature. Second, voters learn, over time, not to vote for candidates outside of one of the two large parties since their votes for third party candidates are usually ineffectual.1 As a result, weaker parties are eliminated by voters over time. Duverger pointed to statistics and tactics to suggest that voters tended to gravitate towards one of the two main parties, a phenomenon which he called polarization, and tend to shun third parties.5 For example, some analysts suggest that the Electoral College system in the United States, by favoring a system of winner–takes–all in presidential elections, is a structural choice favoring only two major parties.26
Gary Cox suggested that America's two-party system was highly related with economic prosperity in the country:
The bounty of the American economy, the fluidity of American society, the remarkable unity of the American people, and, most important, the success of the American experiment have all mitigated against the emergence of large dissenting groups that would seek satisfaction of their special needs through the formation of political parties.—Cox, according to George Edwards23
An effort in 2012 by centrist groups to promote ballot access by Third Party candidates called Americans Elect spent $15 million to get ballot access but failed to elect any candidates.27 The lack of choice in a two-party model in politics has often been compared to the variety of choices in the marketplace.
Politics has lagged our social and business evolution ... There are 30 brands of Pringles in our local grocery store. How is it that Americans have so much selection for potato chips and only two brands — and not very good ones — for political parties?—Scott Ehredt of the Centrist Alliance11
Third parties, meaning a party other than one of the two dominant parties, are possible in two-party systems, but they are often unlikely to exert much influence by gaining control of legislatures or by winning elections.1 While there are occasional opinions in the media expressed about the possibility of third parties emerging in the United States, for example, political insiders such as the 1980 presidential candidate John Anderson think the chances of one appearing in the early twenty-first century is remote.28 A report in The Guardian suggested that American politics has been "stuck in a two-way fight between Republicans and Democrats" since the Civil War, and that third-party runs had little meaningful success.29
Third parties in a two-party system can be:
- built around a particular ideology or interest group
- split off from one of the major parties or
- focused on a charismatic individual.28
When third parties are built around an ideology which is at odds with the majority mindset, many members belong to such a party not for the purpose of expecting electoral success but rather for personal or psychological reasons.1 In the U.S., third parties include older ones such as the Libertarian Party and the Green Party and newer ones such as the Pirate Party.130 Many believe that third parties don't affect American politics by winning elections, but they can act as "spoilers" by taking votes from one of the two major parties.1 They act like barometers of change in the political mood since they push the major parties to consider their demands.1 An analysis in New York Magazine by Ryan Lizza in 2006 suggested that third parties arose from time to time in the nineteenth century around single-issue movements such as abolition, women's suffrage, and the direct election of senators, but were less prominent in the twentieth century.31
A so-called third party in the United Kingdom are the Liberal Democrats. In the 2010 election, the Liberal Democrats received 23% of the votes but only 9% of the seats in the House of Commons. While electoral results do not necessarily translate into legislative seats, the Liberal Democrats can exert influence if there is a situation such as a hung parliament. In this instance, neither of the two main parties (at present, the Conservative Party and the Labour Party) have sufficient authority to run the government. Accordingly, the Liberal Democrats can in theory exert tremendous influence in such a situation since they can ally with one of the two main parties to form a coalition. This happened in the Coalition government of 2010. Yet in that more than 13% of the seats in the British House of Commons are held in 2011 by representatives of political parties other than the two leading political parties of that nation, contemporary Britain is considered by some to be a multi-party system, and not a two-party system.32
Some historianswho? have suggested that two-party systems promote centrism and encourages political parties to find common positions which appeal to wide swaths of the electorate. It can lead to political stability3 which leads, in turn, to economic growth. Historian Patrick Allitt of the Teaching Company suggested that it is difficult to overestimate the long term economic benefits of political stability. Sometimes two-party systems have been seen as preferable to multi-party systems because they are simpler to govern, with less fractiousness and greater harmony, since it discourages radical minor parties,3 while multi-party systems can sometimes lead to hung parliaments.33 Italy, with a multi-party system, has had years of divisive politics since 2000, although analyst Silvia Aloisi suggested in 2008 that the nation may be moving closer to a two-party arrangement.34 The two-party has been identified as simpler since there are fewer voting choices.3 One analyst suggested the two-party system, in contrast with proportional representation, prevented excessive government interference with economic policy.7
Two-party systems have been criticized for downplaying alternative views,34 being less competitive,7 encouraging voter apathy since there is a perception of fewer choices,3 and putting a damper on debate4 within a nation. In a proportional representation system, lesser parties can moderate policy since they are not usually eliminated from government.3 One analyst suggested the two-party approach may not promote inter-party compromise but may encourage partisanship.4 In The Tyranny of the Two–party system, Lisa Jane Disch criticizes two-party systems for failing to provide enough options since only two choices are permitted on the ballot. She wrote:
Herein lies the central tension of the two–party doctrine. It identifies popular sovereignty with choice, and then limits choice to one party or the other. If there is any truth to Schattschneider's analogy between elections and markets, America's faith in the two–party system begs the following question: Why do voters accept as the ultimate in political freedom a binary option they would surely protest as consumers? ... This is the tyranny of the two–party system, the construct that persuades United States citizens to accept two–party contests as a condition of electoral democracy.—Lisa Jane Disch, 200235
There have been arguments that the winner-take-all mechanism discourages independent or third-party candidates from running for office or promulgating their views.736 Ross Perot's former campaign manager wrote that the problem with having only two parties is that the nation loses "the ability for things to bubble up from the body politic and give voice to things that aren’t being voiced by the major parties."28 One analyst suggested that parliamentary systems, which typically are multi-party in nature, lead to a better "centralization of policy expertise" in government.37 Multi-party governments permit wider and more diverse viewpoints in government, and encourage dominant parties to make deals with weaker parties to form winning coalitions.38 While there is considerable debate about the relative merits of a constitutional arrangement such as that of the United States versus a parliamentary arrangement such as Britain, analysts have noted that most democracies around the world have chosen the British multi-party model.38 Analyst Chris Weigant of the Huffington Post wrote that "the parliamentary system is inherently much more open to minority parties getting much better representation than third parties do in the American system."38 After an election in which the party changes, there can be a “polar shift in policy-making” when voters react to changes.3
The two-party system, in the sense of the looser definition, where two parties dominate politics but in which third parties can elect members and gain some representation in the legislature, can be traced to the development of political parties in the United Kingdom. There was a division in English politics at the time of the Civil War and Glorious Revolution in the late 17th century.39 The Whigs supported Protestant constitutional monarchy against absolute rule and the Tories, originating in the Royalist (or "Cavalier") faction of the English Civil War, were conservative royalist supporters of a strong monarchy as a counterbalance to the republican tendencies of Parliament.40 In the following century, the Whig party's support base widened to include emerging industrial interests and wealthy merchants.
The basic matters of principle that defined the struggle between the two factions, were concerning the nature of constitutional monarchy, the desirability of a Catholic king,41page needed the extension of religious toleration to nonconformist Protestants, and other issues that had been put on the liberal agenda through the political concepts propounded by John Locke,42 Algernon Sidney and others.43
Vigorous struggle between the two factions characterised the period from the Glorious Revolution to the 1715 Hanoverian succession, over the legacy of the overthrow of the Stuart dynasty and the nature of the new constitutional state. This proto two-party system fell into relative abeyance after the accession to the throne of George I and the consequent period of Whig supremacy under Robert Walpole, during which the Tories were systematically purged from high positions in government. However, although the Tories were dismissed from office for half a century, they still retained a measure of party cohesion under William Wyndham and acted as a united, though unavailing, opposition to Whig corruption and scandals. At times they cooperated with the "Opposition Whigs", Whigs who were in opposition to the Whig government; however, the ideological gap between the Tories and the Opposition Whigs prevented them from coalescing as a single party.
The old Whig leadership dissolved in the 1760s into a decade of factional chaos with distinct "Grenvillite", "Bedfordite", "Rockinghamite", and "Chathamite" factions successively in power, and all referring to themselves as "Whigs". Out of this chaos, the first distinctive parties emerged. The first such party was the Rockingham Whigs44 under the leadership of Charles Watson-Wentworth and the intellectual guidance of the political philosopher Edmund Burke. Burke laid out a philosophy that described the basic framework of the political party as "a body of men united for promoting by their joint endeavours the national interest, upon some particular principle in which they are all agreed". As opposed to the instability of the earlier factions, which were often tied to a particular leader and could disintegrate if removed from power, the two party system was centred around a set of core principles held by both sides and that allowed the party out of power to remain as the Loyal Opposition to the governing party.45
A genuine two-party system began to emerge,46 with the accession to power of William Pitt the Younger in 1783 leading the new Tories, against a reconstituted "Whig" party led by the radical politician Charles James Fox.474849
The two party system matured in the early 19th century era of political reform, when the franchise was widened and politics entered into the basic divide between conservatism and liberalism that has fundamentally endured up to the present. The modern Conservative Party was created out of the 'Pittite' Tories by Robert Peel, who issued the Tamworth Manifesto in 1834 which set out the basic principles of Conservatism; - the necessity in specific cases of reform in order to survive, but an opposition to unnecessary change, that could lead to "a perpetual vortex of agitation". Meanwhile, the Whigs, along with free trade Tory followers of Robert Peel, and independent Radicals, formed the Liberal Party under Lord Palmerston in 1859, and transformed into a party of the growing urban middle-class, under the long leadership of William Ewart Gladstone. The two party system had come of age at the time of Gladstone and his Conservative rival Benjamin Disraeli after the 1867 Reform Act.50
Although the Founding Fathers of the United States did not originally intend for American politics to be partisan,51 early political controversies in the 1790s saw the emergence of a proto two-party political system, the Federalist Party and the Democratic-Republican Party, centred around the differing views on federal government powers of Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and James Madison.5253 However, a consensus reached on these issues ended party politics in 1816 for a decade, a period commonly known as the Era of Good Feelings.54
Partisan politics revived in 1829 with the split of the Democratic-Republican Party into the Jacksonian Democrats led by Andrew Jackson, and the Whig Party, led by Henry Clay. The former evolved into the modern Democratic Party and the latter was replaced with the Republican Party as one of the two main parties in the 1850s.
- Schmidt, Steffen W., Shelley, Mack C., Bardes, Barbara A (2008). "American Government and Politics Today 2008-2009". Wadsworth Publishing Company. Retrieved 2010-11-22.
- Wong Chin Huat, fz.com, Jul 29, 2013, When winner takes all, Accessed Aug 12, 2013, “...This "winner-takes-all" characteristic of political contestation then forces political groups to consolidate into two blocs, hence, the two-party system...”
- Regis Publishing, The US System: Winner Takes All, Accessed Aug. 12, 2013, “...Winner-take-all rules trigger a cycle that leads to and strengthens a system of few (two in the US) political parties...”
- The Two Party System, Boundless Publishing, Two-party systems are prominent in various countries, such as the U.S., and contain both advantages and disadvantages, Accessed August 12, 2013 “...There are two main reasons winner–takes–all systems lead to a two-party system...”,
- Eric Black, Minnpost, October 8, 2012, Why the same two parties dominate our two-party system, Accessed Aug. 12, 2013, “...SMDP (single-member districts, plurality) voting system. ... This forces those who might favor a minor party candidate to either vote for whichever of the two biggest parties the voter dislikes the least, or to risk the likelihood that their vote will be “wasted” or, worse, that they will end up helping the major-party candidate whom the voter dislikes the most to win. Minor parties aren’t banned, but they seldom produce a plurality winner, and their lack of success often causes the minor parties to wither and die....”
- History Learning Site, Why America is a two-party state, Accessed Aug. 12, 2013, “...The American electoral system – winner-takes-all – guarantees that any third, fourth party etc has no chance of winning....”
- Patrick Bashan, CATO Institute, June 9, 2004, Do Electoral Systems Affect Government Size?, Accessed Aug. 12, 2013, “...The current system has many disadvantages, most notably its propensity to discriminate against minor parties operating outside the increasingly uncompetitive, cozy two-party system.... America’s winner-takes-all electoral system may be the least bad option for those seeking to limit government involvement in the nation’s economic life....”
- George F. Will, October 12, 2006, Washington Post, From Schwarzenegger, a Veto for Voters' Good, Accessed Aug. 12, 2013, “...That electoral vote system (combined with the winner-take-all allocation of votes in all states but Maine and Nebraska) makes it very difficult for third-party presidential candidates to be competitive...”
- Ashley Ford, Sept. 17, 2012, Cavalier Daily, Party of three: A third political party is an important aspect of the Virginia democratic process, Accessed Aug. 12, 2013, “...The two party system forces the third party to join their group in a winner take all system...”
- Two Party System, PBS, Two-Party System, Accessed Aug. 12, 2013, “...Third-party or independent candidates face a slew of obstacles in American politics, from limited media coverage to legal barriers and Congressional leadership rules. Laws regarding third-party candidates also vary from state to state, presenting additional difficulties....”
- Chris Cillizza, July 24, 2011, The Washington Post, Voters’ renewed anger at Washington spurs formation of third-party advocate groups, Accessed Aug. 11, 2013
- Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake, May 18, 2012, The Washington Post, Americans Elect and the death of the third party movement, Accessed Aug 11, 2013
- "Sideshow in the streets: Spain’s prime minister has more to worry about than a general strike". Economist. 2010-09-30. Retrieved 2010-11-07. "Spain is a "de facto" two-party system. Other parties may influence policies if the government is in minority but, except for the Socialist and the Popular Parties, no other has, at the moment, any possibility of winning the elections. ..."
- Robert Marquand (March 11, 2008). "In Spain's elections, Socialists win with liberal appeal". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2010-11-07. "The outcome also suggests that Spain, which has many small parties, is moving toward a greater two-party system – even as basic splits between right and left are deepening and becoming more contentious."
- The Tyranny of the Two-Party System - Lisa Jane Disch - Google Books. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2012-10-29.
- "United Progressive Alliance (UPA)". electionaffairs.com.
- "National Democratic Alliance (NDA)". electionaffairs.com.
- "Political Parties in India". electionaffairs.com. Retrieved 7 August 2012.
- The New York Times, August 21, 2006, Post-Koizumi, dream of a two-party system, Accessed Oct. 18, 2013, quote: “...This is positive. A two-party system isn't here yet, but it's a kind of dream we have...”
- Jung Sang-Geun (July 10, 2013). "‘그들만의 양당제’, 유권자가 정치에 관심을 끊은 이유". Mediatoday. Retrieved 2013-10-18.
- Electoral Systems and Party Systems: A Study of Twenty-Seven Democracies ... - Arend Lijphart - Google Books. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2012-10-29.
- MICHIKO KAKUTANI (book reviewer) American Creation (book by Joseph J. Ellis) (November 27, 2007). "The Timing, Luck and Lust Behind the Forming of That More Perfect Union". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-11-07. "... the standoff between the Federalists and their opponents, which led to the modern two-party system;"
- Edwards III, George C. (2011). Why the Electoral College is Bad for America (Second edition ed.). New Haven and London: Yale University Press. pp. 176–7. ISBN 978-0-300-16649-1.
- Sachs, Jeffrey (2011). The Price of Civilization. New York: Random House. p. 107. ISBN 978-1-4000-6841-8.
- Kristina dell (Nov. 01, 2004). "The Electoral College Explained". Time Magazine. Retrieved 2010-11-07. "Forty-eight states have the standard “winner-takes-all” electoral system: whichever presidential ticket amasses the most popular votes in a state wins all the electors of that state."
- Kristina dell (Nov. 01, 2004). "The Electoral College Explained". Time Magazine. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
- Michael Crowley, May 21, 2012, Time Magazine, Indie Block: Why has a third-party presidential effort sputtered?, Accessed Aug. 11, 2013, "...and another $15 million has gone toward its most valuable asset: ballot access. Americans Elect has secured a ballot line in 26 states.."
- Ryan Lizza (Apr 16, 2006). "But Is a Third Party Possible?". New York Magazine. Retrieved 2010-12-07.
- Paul Harris (19 November 2011). "'America is better than this': paralysis at the top leaves voters desperate for change". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-01-17.
- Jack Schofield (8 June 2009). "Sweden's Pirate Party wins EU seat (updated)". The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-03-28. "The Pirate Party ... wants to legalise internet file-sharing and protect people's privacy on the net ... There *IS* a UK Pirate Party ... and there's a US ... one, and one in a few dozen others.""
- Ryan Lizza (Apr 16, 2006). "But Is a Third Party Possible?". New York Magazine. Retrieved 2010-12-07. "In the nineteenth century, third parties were single-issue creatures that grew up around great causes that the major parties were ignoring. Abolition, women’s suffrage, and the direct election of senators all started as third-party movements."
- United Kingdom general election, 2010#Results, The detailed "Results" section of the Wikipedia article "United Kingdom General Election, 2010".
- "What mean will we regress to?". The Economist. Oct 5th 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-07. "Certainly, there have been a whole lot of hung parliaments and slow-forming coalitions around the world lately. (Canada, Australia, Britain, the Netherlands, Iraq...)"
- Silvia Aloisi (Apr 15, 2008). "Election pushes Italy towards two-party system". Reuters. Retrieved 2010-11-07. "Italy's next parliament will have far fewer parties than the previous assembly, pushing the country closer to the two-party system that many commentators say is the only way to end years of political instability. ..."
- Lisa Jane Disch (2002). "The tyranny of the two-party system". Columbia University Press. Retrieved 2010-10-22.
- Kristina dell (Nov. 01, 2004). "The Electoral College Explained". Time Magazine. Retrieved 2010-11-07. "Some argue that the winner-take-all mechanism in 48 states discourages independent or third party candidates from running because it would be difficult for them to get many electoral votes."
- "The advantages of parliamentarianism". The Economist. Jan 21, 2010,. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
- Chris Weigant (April 7, 2010). "Exceptional Democracy". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2010-11-07. "And, as a result, more parties are represented in their parliament after the elections. The Italian Parliament, for instance, recently had more than 70 parties represented. ... These deals are cut with the smaller parties by offering them the chance to fill high government offices..."
- J. R. Jones, The First Whigs. The Politics of the Exclusion Crisis. 1678–1683 (Oxford University Press, 1961), p. 4.
- Harris, Tim Restoration:Charles II and His Kingdoms 1660–1685 Allen Lane (2005) p241
- Hamowy, Ronald, ed. (2008). The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Cato Institute. ISBN 978-1-4129-6580-4. LCCN 2008009151. OCLC 750831024.
- Richard Ashcraft and M. M. Goldsmith, "Locke, Revolution Principles, and the Formation of Whig Ideology," Historical Journal, Dec 1983, Vol. 26 Issue 4, p 773-800
- Melinda S. Zook, "The Restoration Remembered: The First Whigs and the Making of their History," Seventeenth Century, Autumn 2002, Vol. 17 Issue 2, pp 213–34
- Robert Lloyd Kelley (1990). The Transatlantic Persuasion: The Liberal-Democratic Mind in the Age of Gladstone. Transaction Publishers. p. 83.
- "ConHome op-ed: the USA, Radical Conservatism and Edmund Burke".
- Frank O'Gorman (1982). The Emergence of the British Two-Party System, 1760 - 1832. Holmes & Meier Publishers, Incorporated.
- "The History of Political Parties in England (1678-1914)".
- Parliamentary History, xxiv, 213, 222, cited in Foord, His Majesty's Opposition, 1714–1830, P 441
- Ellen Wilson and Peter Reill, Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment (2004) p 298
- Stephen J. Lee (2005). Gladstone and Disraeli. Routledge. p. 146.
- Washington's Farewell Address
- Richard Hofstadter, The Idea of a Party System: The Rise of Legitimate Opposition in the United States, 1780-1840 (1970)
- William Nisbet Chambers, ed. The First Party System (1972)
- Stephen Minicucci, Internal Improvements and the Union, 1790–1860, Studies in American Political Development (2004), 18: p.160-185, (2004), Cambridge University Press, doi:10.1017/S0898588X04000094