The Origins and End of the Conservative Coalition Essay

The Origins and End of the Conservative Coalition Essay

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Throughout the course of history, there have been multiple times when bipartisanship has played an important role. However, one of the most significant examples of a bipartisan alliance would be that of the conservative coalition, which lasted more than fifty years. From the 1930s until the 1990s, the conservative coalition played a major role in determining the policies of Congress and the nation. It was formed as a response to the progressive pursuits of then President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and other progressive members of the government (Patterson 1966, 757). The conservative coalition (referred to as the CC) rose to power by strongly opposing the policies of the progressive Democrats and eventually morphed into the Republican Party of the mid-1990s.
Origins of the Conservative Coalition
When attempting to determine what initially provoked the creation of this body of bipartisan legislators, one must first turn to the period that preceded the coalition’s rise to prominence. According to George Galloway, he states that the CC actually draws its roots from the period between 1910 and World War II (Shelley 1983, 11). During this period, there was a change in the system. Party loyalty to the Democratic Party’s platform was at an exceptional high, because of the New Deal’s response to the Great Depression. Political unity did not survive past this period in history, however, because this “Roosevelt coalition” was monolithic instead of a polarized alliance (Cooper and Brady 1984, 339). It simply could not survive the changing issues that were presented to Roosevelt and the Congress.
Overall, this period in history was simply the loosening of control by the political parties, which led to the centralization of power into diff...


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...urnal of American History 52 (March): 757-772.
Patterson, James T. 1981. Congressional Conservativism and the New Deal: The Growth of the Conservative Coalition in Congress, 1933-1939. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
Paulson, Arthur. 2007. Electoral Realignment and the Outlook for American Democracy. Boston: Northeastern University Press.
Rohde, David W., Norman J. Ornstein, and Robert L. Peabody. 1984. “Political Change and Legislative Norms in the U.S. Senate, 1957-1974.” In Studies of Congress, ed. Glenn R. Parker. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press.
Shelley II, Mack C. 1983. The Permanent Majority: The Conservative Coalition in the United States Congress. Tuscaloosa, Alabama: University of Alabama Press.
Sundquist, James L. 1983. Dynamics of the Party System: Alignment and Realignment of Political Parties in the United States. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution.

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