The Development of the Modern Party System in Western Europe

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The concept of Political Parties has been an evolving concept and framework that emerged after the American formation of political parties in the 18th century. Political scientist Edmond Burke, stated in 1770 that political parties are “ a body of men united for promoting, by joint endeavors, some principles which they all agree.” Professor Feigenbaum broadened upon this definition by stating that political parties are institutions that represent diverse yet compatible interests . Both of these definitions led to recognition that political parties develop in a nation parallel to the development of the society and show the nations cleavages and triumphs. Thus, the recent changes to the political parties in The United Kingdom, France, and …show more content…
The two-party system described above, whose voters and platforms were divided by class continued until 1975, when due to economic stagnation Margaret Thatcher created a new era of British Politics based on her development of the enterprise culture. This new culture emphasized individual responsibilities and weakened the notion of collective identity that had characterized party loyalty for the past decade. Thatcher’s reforms are on the main factors that led to political culture and political party loyalty in Britain shifting to a focus and party grouping based on commonalities of views of “values and policy agenda’s,” rather then “common socio-economic status .”In 1987, The Liberal Democratic party emerged as the Liberal Party and The Social Democratic Party and moderates from the Labor Party merged to form a centrist alternative to the dominating two parties. This new party was more policy-oriented with a focus on the welfare state and opposition of America’s War in Iraq. The Labour party responded to this by reforming their now ideological platform to a new platform that rejected “interest-based politics.” This shift demonstrates the shift of British politics towards British political party membership being based upon, “smaller communities or class, nation, region, and ethnicity” coupled with the, “ persistence and mobilizing potential of a wide range of social movements .” The new coalition government between…

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