The Semi-Sovereign People

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Essay One
In The Semi-Sovereign People by E. E. Schattschneider, the author makes the argument that non-voting in America is a serious problem. He explains why it is a problem, why it happens, and what can be done to fix it. One of the ways he explains all three of these is by juxtaposing the election of 1896 and the election of 1932. Schattschneider begins by explaining the different between the pressure system and the party system.

The pressure system is made up of public and private interest groups that use information, unity, legitimacy, and information to benefit their members. The majority of Americans are not in interest groups and have no power within the pressure system. Interest groups are largely made up of people of a higher socioeconomic status, and powerful corporations. Interest groups often give large sums of money to the party system, in the form of campaign contributions. Up until 1896, the republican and democratic parties were competitive throughout the country and there was a high voter turnout. Due to this competition, both parties had to try to make the voters happy in order to win elections. They tended to listen to the masses and work to do what the people wanted. This was up until the farmer run populous movement of 1896. Both the democrats and republicans were so afraid of the populous movement that the parties became significantly stronger by banding together. The democrats were supported by the plantation-owners of the south, and the republicans by the bankers and railroad owners of the north and west. Due to the lack of competition caused by monopolies in both the north and south, the parties were able to stop trying so hard to satisfy the masses. Voters expected the republicans would win in the north and west, and the democrats would win in the south. The lack of conflict and competition caused voter turnout to drop, allowing the power of interest groups to determine the results of the elections. This political situation...
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