tv Political Partisanship in the U.S. CSPAN March 5, 2016 4:50pm-6:01pm EST
recently traveled to anaheim california to learn more about its rich history. learn more on our tour at c-span.org/cities totour. were watching american history tv all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. it is often argued our current political parties are the most divisive in history. professor joanne freeman who studies american politics and brian balogh who specializes in the 20th century disagree. up next, they discuss the evolution of political parties and partisanship. this hour-long event was hosted by the national history center. >> in a few weeks the united states senator will read through the entire text of george washington's farewell address. it is a tradition the senate has performed annually since 1896. other than the senator speaking,
the only other people in the chamber will be the presiding officer, and full of clerks, and a few visiting tourists here the rest of the public can watch on c-span. if you do watch, you will hear our first president war and in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirits of parties. he says this spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. it exists in different shapes in all government, recycled, controlled, or repressed. in the popular for them it is seen in its greatest weakness and is their greatest enemy. it is comforting when we consider 21st century partisanship to know that partisanship the extra george washington as it has continued to vex his successors.
we asked the question whether or not this time is the single most polarized partisan era in history. the national history center has invited 2 prominent political historians to discuss the political evolution of partisanship to measure our current times against the past. to the early 19th century, joanne freeman is a history professor at yale university where she specializes in politics and political culture when paul -- when politicians went around armed with pistols and canes. she is also the author of "affairs of honor." she is working on a book with the enticing title "field of blood."
straddling the late 19th and 20th century is professor balogh, a professor at the university of virginia and the miller center. he is the author of a number of works including "government out of sight" and "between the cycles: essays on the evolution of the 20th century of american government." he is currently at work on a biography and the 10-yield groups of administration in the united states. you may have heard him on the radio show "back story" with the american history guys. here we have 2 american history guys. prof. freeman: i will be an honorary guy. thank you for the introduction. i would like to discuss a time of extreme partisanship and
polarization and congress. us against them, do or die politics, talks of doom and distraction, and even physical violence. a time when new technologies broadcast some of those extreme claims to a national audience with ever-increasing feeds. the polarization, a motion, extreme -- i described her current political zeitgeist, but i'm talking about the late 1850's. when the struggle for the soul of the union, grounded on the problem of slavery, ripped the nation in 2. i would like to briefly discuss that political crisis of the 1850's with a brief glance at an earlier and equally polarized crisis to explore broader patterns in american partisanship.
i would like to explore broader patterns in american partisanship. i will add come in talking about the 1850's, i will be drawing on a book that i just completed. right now the working title has slightly migrated. although, the field of blood will always be there. it is the "field of blood, congressional violence and the civil war." it reveals a striking thread of physical violence in the u.s. congress on the floor of the senate and house, between roughly 1830 and 1860. involving not only charles sumner, but including roughly 100 physical clashes in the house and senate, including fistfights, knives, revolvers, and the occasional brawl with dozens of congressmen rumbling in essence, usually in the house. i'm going to come back to that rather dramatic assertion in a moment, but for now i will leave you hanging and give you a little content. i will start by saying, obviously part of what i am implying is that today we are
hardly experiencing the first polarized moment and political history. over the last few years, a number of press outlets have wanted me to say for the record, things have never been worse, and i cannot say that. as a historian i cannot say that. in many ways the 1860's was worse. indeed, intense partisanship dates back to the donning of the republic. one of the arguments about the nation's first partisanship took place in the first decade of the government's existence. particularly the late 1790's was a time of extreme partisanship culminating in the election of the 1800. the do or die battle that ultimately elected thomas jefferson as president. the crisis had much in common with the present. there was rampant fear, at least among the federalist of a foreign threat.
federalist feel that the fervor and social upset a revolutionary france would corrupt or destroy the infant american public. the republicans, who were french friendly seemed to be risking the lives of the federalist who were in power on a national stage, dedicated themselves to destroying republicans as a matter of national survival and of course also partisan advantage. republicans in turn believes the federalist were destroying republicans by converting it into an aristocratic monarchy. and the attempt to use the power of the state to crush the republican opposition drove the point home. republicans also dedicated themselves to destroying their fellow, the federalist -- with equal fervor. when i say destroying, i actually mean that quite literally. in the 1790's there were is no assumption that a working two party system was at the core of a working democratic politics.
quite the opposite, organized, national political parties were seen as dangerous, self-interested, factional, and hopefully a temporary problem that would fade away. although federalists and republicans sometimes referred to each other as parties. they were hardly parties in a -- hardly a party in the way that we understand a party today. there were certainly two distinct worldviews -- federalist and republicans -- but not party discipline in any sense that we would understand today. there was no national party structure again in the sense that we understand it today. the republicans and federalists were really alliances more than parties. in the absence of structured political fighting teams of the sort that would come later, conflict in this national
election to come in 1800 ran wild. the lack of faith in the nation's new political system to contain the partisan strife made matters worse. fractured or weak parties and a lack of faith in the political system. these two things have an enormous shaping influence on the partisanship. i will come back to that idea when we get to the 1850's. in the 1790's, as i suggested, matters came to a head in the presidential election of 1800. in the lead up to that election, fire and brimstone claims filled the press. i will share with you my favorite election trick of the election, it is from the federalist -- i think it is ingenious. it can only be carried out in a time when the roads were poor and communication was difficult. in the campaign of 1800 with jefferson running for president, some federalists claimed in the press that jefferson had died.
[laughter] you can see in newspapers, some vague -- what? tragedy. whoever thought of that was very savvy. as far as the election itself is concerned -- was concerned, things got worse when thomas jefferson and aaron burr tied for the president -- presidency. for six days and 36 ballots the house voted again and again. here we see the impact of a lack of faith in the political system joined with a lack of party structure. in the midst of the deadlock, jeffersonian republican governors in virginia and pennsylvania put their state militias on alert, prepared to seize the government for a jefferson if burr should win in the house. i think that is remarkable. i think that is overlooked. of course in the end, jefferson won, fully convinced that former federalist would join with him after his victory.
party crisis seemingly over, but, there was no telling if national two party strife would rise again, particularly in the wake of another presidential election. to prevent it, connecticut federalist james milhouse came up to what -- came up with what he believed to be a brilliant solution. he exploded in a letter to john marshall. as hillhouse reasons, presidential elections were the only national political contest virtually guaranteed to take -- tear the nation apart. congressional elections are local, presidential ones are national. fill house came up with what he believed to the problem of partisanship and presidential election. he decided basically presidents should not be elected by the market people. -- american people. instead there should be a box in the senate with a lot of white balls and one blackball.
each senator would pick a ball, whoever got the black would be the president. [laughter] problem solved. when i first stumbled upon that come i thought it was a joke. it was not. i searched and found marshall's response, they actually debated this. light, interesting idea. it really does give you a sense about how these national political contests, particularly the run for president was really causing extreme partisanship of a kind of panic people. who solution of hill house came up with, ok, then no more national, political contest of that kind. 50 years later, a similar political crisis did not end. this later crisis, as in 1800 was infused with a do or die you those in the assumption that in this case northern antislavery republicans in southern, proslavery immigrants were fighting for the republic. the later crisis in the 1800s called for extreme rhetoric and a hovering threat of very real large scale. also is -- as in 1800, during
this crisis, political parties were in flux. in the 1850's, the week party was collapsing, the democratic party was splintering across lines, with northerners defecting. some of the northerners were becoming republicans come a new northern, antislavery party. unlike 1800, in the 1851 -- in the 1850's am a it was centered on congress, and the north and south. the 1850's is hardly the first time the congressmen were violent towards of one another -- towards one another. in the 1830's, there was a routine hum of violence, largely falling along party lines. someone from one party would strong-arm somebody from another party into doing or not doing what he wanted him to do. essentially promoting parties by silencing opposition with threats, violence, and will challenges. -- dual challenges.
people who played that rough game were known as -- this is actually the word they used, bullies. congressional bullies. most of these bullies were southerners or southern born westerners. people who did not enjoy playing that kind of game were known as, again this is the term from the time -- noncombatant. most noncombatant tended to be northern born westerners. a minor example of a bully in action. in the house in 1842, massachusetts representative john quincy adams is giving an anti-slavery speech as he was want to do. when a democrat try to cut him off, someone objected that adams had a right to speak. within minutes, a southern democrat, wearing a visible between knife -- between knife, walked over to the person that objected and said, i will paraphrase -- do that again, and i will cut your throat from year-to-year.
the part that was actually a direct quote was i will cut your throat from ear to ear. that became a congressional byword for a while in which a debate would get heated. adams at like to do this, say, what are you going to do -- cut his throat from year to year? -- ear to ear? direct quote was i will cut your throat from ear to ear. that became a congressional byword for a while in which a the fighting escalated, breaking down entirely along sectional lines. you had massive group balls -- brawls in the house north against the. you also had a telegraph, something, technological innovation spreading those passions nationwide with ever increasing urgency of the. here i think is an interesting link with the present, you had a new technology boosting political communication and compensating political debate by spreading political passions from the national stage with great efficiency, and echoing back to the national stage the equally impassioned response from the american public.
the end result in 1850 was extreme rhetoric, extreme feeling, and far less ability for national politicians to wiggle their way out of extreme link which are conduct. they could not take extreme words back as easily. news spread to quickly. a new hampshire senator pinpointed the problem in 1850 after one senator pulled a gun on another senator during a debate. not surprisingly, it was -- there was a burst of confusion and people in the visitors galleys ran out screaming. there was a wonderful political cartoon of women throwing umbrellas. it was quite dramatic. after a few minutes, people settle down, and the senate prepared to go back to work. one senator rose in his seat to points of the out. the moment the crisis had seemingly passed, he said within an hour, the nation would be learning through the telegraph it was quite dramatic. after a few minutes, people settle down, and the senate that senators were wallowing in gore in the senate, slaughtering
each other with pistols. he essentially was right. when you read the comments come a when you read about this discussion, and you see a can't of what was going on in the room, you can feel the positive room when the reality became clear. huh, guess that is true. think about the combination of factors. the extreme rhetoric and threats of politicians, the polarization, the do or die mentality, the fundamental belief that the soul of the republic was up for debate and at risk. the public responding to the media with political passions of their own. this, of stimuli created a cycle of stridency in the 1850's that was hard to contain, particularly given the instability of national parties. this did nothing to boost public faith in the government to contain the growing crisis. in fact increasingly come the public wanted their congressmen to fight for the right, and their vision of what america should be.
again, when i say fight, i actually mean quite literally fight. a great example of this -- massachusetts constituents who came to see the representative off as he was getting on a train heading back to washington, a gave him a gift to take back to washington with him. a gun inscribed with the words, free speech. i think that is remarkable. whenever i come to that, a hair goes back -- a here goes up on the back of my neck. by the late 1850's with the arrival of the antislavery northern republican party in congress, even noncombatant northerners were fighting with a cheering home audience looking on. when republicans publicly dedicated themselves to fighting the slave power, they meant it literally in congress, they were sitting and dealing head-on with this so-called power.
i have to add, amidst all of this, some people did see humor in the general congressional mayhem of the period. once again, i cannot resist offering you an example. this happens to be from the new york times of this period. written by a washington correspondent, i think this is from the 1850's. judge kellogg, a venerable citizen of michigan, arrived in the city on saturday evening. it was his first visit to the federal capital. when he was uncertain where he was. as he entered the main hall of the train depot, he saw a man engaged in caning. when i saw this, said the judge, i knew i was in washington. [laughter] ok so, where does this leave us? i will conclude by pointing out one or two things that struck me about the partisanship i have been describing. first, i think it is striking that in both crisis i was talking about, how interconnected congress constituents, and the press were in the creation of the crisis. i think sometimes we have a tendency to want to point a finger or blame the cause of the crisis. certainly in these crisis, you cannot point to one factor leading to what i called the
cycle of stridency. second, i think the events of the 1850's joined with the current political climate really do raise just and questions whether or not fractured or splintered political parties reduce people's faith in the political process, and the ability of government to contain and resolve problems. in the late 1850's americans generally trusted their congressman, but they did not trust congress as an institution, nor did congressman trust each other. by 1860 many congressmen were routinely armed, not because they were eager to kill their
opponents, but out of fear that their opponents might kill them. they too had lost faith in the political process, and in congress as an institution. thank you very much. [applause] opponents, but out of fear that >> i don't know why he is adjusting the mic. thank you, joann. i want to thank don for the introduction, thank the national history center, and also thank congress for this briefing. in 1950, the american public -- political science association published a report called to the more responsible two-party system. began with the premise that something was terribly wrong with the american party system. quote its weakness is a very serious matter. it affects the very heartbeat of american democracy. what was wrong with the party
system? we got rid of dueling. we got rid of caning. as far as i know, representatives and senators were not packing. and they shared attitudes towards the major issues of the day, the soviet union for instance, civil rights, it was quite similar in many ways -- instances. in fact, it was exactly the problem from the a tsa perspective. the parties were too similar, to unwilling to duke it out, metaphorically. parties needed to be reformed to present clear, ideological distinctions.
the ap essay report said --apsa report said. they needed clear agendas that corresponded. listen to what the report had to say in 1950. i was telling joanne who is editing my comments this morning, i kept editing this quotation. i cannot edit a quotation. political scientist it turns out, really love run-on sentences. there with me. the fundamental requirement to accountability is a two party system in which the opposition party acts as the critic of the party in power. developing, designing, and presenting the policy alternatives which are necessary
for a true choice in reaching public decisions. the opposition most conducive to responsible government is an organized party opposition". the political sciences were not worried about gridlock or ideological rigidity. as the report put it, quote, this will not cause the parties to differ more than a mentally or sharply than they have in the past, nor is it to be assumed that increasing concern with the program cause the parties to erect between himself and -- an ideological wall." so much for forecasting the future. i suppose that we are all at this briefing because partisan rancor and gridlock have become such a problem that we are yearning to tell those political scientists from 1950, be careful what you wish for. how do we get here? -- how did we get here from apsa being so concerned the parties had no differences between each other? i have sorted the country beating factors into six categories. they hardly cover everything. one, ideological sorting out a parties. two the color line. 3 old-time religion.
four, humane politics is not local? five, it is the machinery, stupid. six, and last, certainly not least, it is the media, stupid. ok, the great sort out, for much of the nation's history the democratic party had been july -- geographically centered in a south, with the emergence of the new deal coalition in the 1930's, the party combined a solid south with a growing northern wing made up of ethnic groups and african-americans. ideologically, this created an uneasy alliance between northern liberals and southern conservatives. this was not just any party, the democratic party, this coalition. it was a party that held overwhelming congressional majorities for 50 years with very few interruptions. republicans can only get
something done by adding their voice to become provisos handed out within -- to the compromises hammered out within the democratic party, or by joining one faction or another. for this civil rights bill, or that effort to stop universal health care for instance. between 1960 and 1990, there was a great sorting out of the two parties along ideological lines. republicans became solidly conservative. democratics -- democrats became progressive. that also sorted out into a geographical sorting. republicans were in the sun belt. democrats held the north east coast and west coast. states like ohio and a few others remained up for grabs. none of this would have mattered if the electoral balance between
in matters -- parties had not become so competitive. for the first time since the new deal coalition, conservative republicans could at least aspire to capturing the white house as ronald reagan finally did in 1980. conservative republicans in congress did garner majorities on a really basis. -- regular basis. with more ideologically pure candidates in both parties poised for victory, it was no longer -- there was no longer an incentive for the minority party to compromise. i want to underscored that the ideological sorting out in and of the health is not -- in and of itself, is not something that contributes to gridlock today. rather, it was the combination of more ideological consistent parties and the relatively equal pill -- equal appeal of these ideological -- ideologies that
has framed the partisanship of the last 30 years. the color line -- there are lots of reasons for this great sorting out. the civil war within the democratic party over vietnam. another insurrection within the democratic party in essence between new last pushing me party further to the left, and older line liberals in the democratic party. there was the ability of the right to fund, and give legitimate critiques of liberal thought and progress. if i had to choose one from the menu of items that contributed to the great sorting out -- i would pick the color line. lyndon johnson understood what his quest for racial equality would mean for the solid democratic south. upon signing the civil rights act of 1964, johnson said to bill moyers, quote i think we just delivered the south to the republican party for a long time to come." of course the civil rights act and the voting right that followed, would bring lance of african-americans thing in the south, african-americans who had been denied the right to
vote at that point to come into the democratic party, even as it drove white voters out of the democratic party. as johnson notes -- those african-americans exercised their right vigorously. which pushed the democratic party farther to the left. 83 percent of african-americans voted for clinton in 1992. 90% of african-americans voted for gore in 2000. incredible to me, 96% of african-americans voted for barack obama in 2008. the best predictor of who is going to vote democratic is race. african-americans have become an in movable cornerstone of today's democratic party. old-time religion -- a movable
foundation of the republican party is made up of white voters who attend church wrigley. -- regularly. before 1980 there were almost no differences in party identification between religious and nonreligious white. it is measured by regular church attendance. today, the most faithful core of the republican party are the white evangelicals, born again, and fundamentalist christians. it is not just these groups that vote republican. the real dividing line is regular church attendance. whatever the domination -- denomination orphic. -- or faith. 54% of red state voters attend church regularly. 71% of weekly, white church
attenders voted for george bush in 2004. 46% of whites who seldom or never go to church voted for bush. i should say that data is for white voters. what these data about african-americans and regular churchgoers show is that each party can rely upon a clearly identifiable constituency that maps onto an equally identifiable ideological agenda. these are not voters who are going to be satisfied merely through pork barrel politics, or distributive politics. these are voters who caps on -- respond to powerful, ideological cues. easily parceled
out. that ideology in today's culture tends to be as political scientist collett, -- call it, a zero-sum game. politics is not local. i cannot believe i am going to assert it might not be here in the cannon building. at the very moment, the democratic speaker of the house tip o'neill was popularizing his approach to politics with the phrase, all politics is local in the 1980's. a young republican by the name of new grin great -- newt gingrich proves the nationalization of politics could be effective, a stylesheet for a minority party. -- especially for a minority party. nationalizing an abstract, antigovernment politics offered a path to majority control in the house. here i am relying on the work of a terrific young person by the name of brent.
gingrich set out to short-circuit the local list -- local list and pragmatic support that had advantage democrats for decades. weber, a republican from minnesota, and a early congressional ally of gingrich believed -- said that gingrich believed the path necessitated replacing what existed with something new." that thing that was new for king richard was offering sharp -- that thing that was new for king bridge -- newt gingrich was something that separated majority from the public. it was one of the deepest ironies of the partisan wars of the last 50 years. the very party that had come to stand for a state rights was also the party that nationalized debate about that issue. what matters for our purposes in
partisanship is that they localized material benefit that majorities can deliver were increasingly challenged by a more abstract set of ideas about conceptions of government. especially about what size that government should be. it is the machinery come a stupid. -- machinery, stupid. everyone writes about gerrymandering as a contributor to the current state of affairs. i would point out the gerrymandering, back me up on this, joanne, has been with us for a very long time. the piece of machinery that did change dramatically in the time we have discussed today is the primary. primaries have proliferated as a means of choosing candidates. this means that an activated super minority can upset the
apple cart. the smaller the electorate grows the more powerful a passionate group of voters motivated by a single issue becomes. since it is generally voters of the outer edges of the ideological spectrum who bother to show up for primaries, legislatures have to because just about customizing -- compromising with quote the enemy, as these true believers see it. i observed this process play out firsthand in my own rural virginia district. the district that used to be eric cantor.y he proved too liberal for my district. too much of a compromiser by the way. too much concern about government rather than being primary, which was thought to be impossible. finally, it is the media, stupid.
we could spend the whole day on this. quickly, first off, by the media -- i include the way parties get information about voters, not just the way they disseminate information to voters. too often we forget about technology like public opinion polling for instant, and big data. that is included under media as well. the first shot of the media revolution was fired by richard figure he with his direct mail techniques dating back to the 1960's. the standard advice in those days, the 1950's and 60's was to aim for the middle. with public opinion polling and its infancy when it came to identifying preferences of voters, and your basic three broadcast networks, the only way to reach those people, there were very few ways to target minority or outline
perspectives, even if you could identify the people with those perspectives. the firm credited with creating the profession of campaign consulting, whitaker and baxter noted that a campaign theme must be quote simple and have a strong, human interest appeal. it must have more corn than caviar." they used list of donations to barry goldwater to create a direct-mail empire aimed at conservatives. the targeting method which he used identified and appealed to a segment of the population that the mainstream media and politics -- politicians have largely ignored. this targeting, which was soon supercharged or put on steroids as i like to think by the digital revolution allowed candidates to reach smaller segments of the population. by the 1980's cable-television fueled the rise of the 24-hour news cycle.
more importantly, for our topic, the proliferation of cable news stations and ultimately websites and blogs allowed out with to be successful, even if they only reached a very small portion of the electorate. if you are one of three broadcast television stations and you are reaching less than 30%, you're out of business. you really have to hold that middle when there are only three. when you have hundreds about with, you can be really quite successful with 3% or 4%, etc. just as the humble postal letter used, -- properly targeted could raise millions of dollars and activate almost as many people. talk radio host like rush limbaugh by the 1990's targeted previously ignored audiences through the airways.
now i rely on another terrific young scholar, brian rosenthal, he argues that radio personalities stimulated controversy and thought out provocative topics. minutes by cable television shows and blogs today, this formula can mobilize true believers, and is particularly effective in low turnout primaries. talk radio was a huge factor. as the republican party, especially john boehner learned the hard way, the potential veto power that an activated base provides, makes governing all of the more difficult. to conclude, before condemning the current system universally, i think we might want to go back to that apsa report of 1950 and consider why those political scientist am a smart bunch of people, why they were eager to create parties with clear, ideological positions that mapped onto effective agendas. today, in the 1950's had
witnessed a precipitous decline in the number of americans voting over the course of the 20 century grid that was there -- that was on their mind. they understood competition and clear choices had made a far more riches of the tory electorate in the 19th century with much higher rates of voting. over 100% in chicago some times. [laughter] they also understood politics was more than division of political spoils. it was also about the clash of ideas. they urged politicians to articulate those ideas more vigorously.
we all yearn for a day when both parties can work more effectively to resolve their differences. if the congress truly is the most representative branch of the government, i believe it to be that, then we might have to wait until the nation is last divided -- less divided ideologically to see that cooperation reemerge in congress. looking back at history, we have often arrived at such majorities by excluding large segments of the population, or in response to economic disasters and war, presumably something nothing -- none of us want.
the risk your of course is that parties that fail to govern may well hasten just such an economic disaster or devastating war, even as they carry out the will of the people. thank you. [applause] >> i want to thank both of our speakers. and wonderful survey of american politics. it is reassuring to know that our senators and representatives do not go around armed these days. the bullies beat each other up with tweeps now, rather than fists. it is also fascinating to know that there was a time in our lifetimes when there was bipartisanship, and when parties were not as polarized. i joined the staff in 1976, at a time when the single most conservative senator was a democrat that was james eastland of mississippi. one of the most liberal senators was a republican that was jacob javits of new york. the two parties were internally divided. there was never a part of the line -- partyline vote, if there had been one, it would've maybe first page of the washington post.
everyone was bipartisan. that was the way things operated. no one ever expected that gary gallbladder -- barry goldwater and jacob javits would vote the same way or jim eastland and george mcgovern would vote the same way. what has happened since then is the parties have become cohesive. the conferences. there's not very much middle ground. the parties have changed dramatically. the parties are annexed or outsource. -- and external force. the nation has changed the partisanship that exist. today if there is a partyline vote, nobody pays attention.
if there is a bipartisan vote, it makes the front page. if two members of one party vote with the rest of the party it is declared to be a bipartisan vote. there are so desperate to get any kind of swing. i think we have gotten a good foundation now of what brought us to the era that we are in today. i would like to open the floor to you, to raise questions. could you identify yourself? lauren: my name is lauren. my question is for dr. freeman, your presentation -- i enjoyed it, one of your themes was how a lack of party structure was a factor in polarization. i would argue that that is very true today. whether we are talking about the caucus, the freedom caucus on the republican side. a decline in the seniority system, a decline of regular order -- there is a list. it looks like the reverse.
>> the media is not controlled -- lauren: absolutely. there are a number of different ways you can look at that. i'm wondering from your historical background, are there some of those aspects that are more he stabilizing than others? -- destabilizing than others? what seems like a reasonable fix? professor freeman: it is an interesting question. one of the factors that shaped the period that i'm writing about is of course, this is a period where jacksonian democrats are figuring out what a two-party system looks like. when i look at the time from the 79th to the 1850's, part of what i am seeing is no party -- party structure -- actually flip side of what you're talking about here, a system that feels like a system, it feels clearly to the
people engaged in it, it is not that there is not party competition, but the people engaged in it, you get a sense that they feel that there is a structure, there are things percolating along in the way they should, no matter how fierce the issues, and then the collapse of the. -- that. when i was writing up my comments, i got -- i kept coming back to distrust of the system. distrust that the system is capable of containing what is going on. i wish, i can't my finger on the thing that i would say must be fixed more than anything else. i certainly feel like that is one of the demonic changes you see when you look at people engaged in public -- politics over the long haul. you see this really growing distrust of the system, and less distrust of each other. there is no faith that there is an operational level ground.
>> people today would almost assume just what is the point of a party if it is not ideological? when i was in grad school i always struggled with the idea that the parties could be so internally incoherent. brianne, or joanne, if you could talk a little bit about was that in -- an accident that the parties existed over banners that contains so much disparate views in any particular time, how did the party function if it was so desperate -- disparate in ideologies. professor balogh: i think joanne her finger on it.
up until the invention of the telegraph, which parties easily could have broad ideological perspectives on what role government should play. yet adjusted those on the local level. get away with it. the other thing that i guess you might -- i know what a good history and you are, you do not need reminding, but it is worth saying -- parties were built from the bottom up for much of american history. today, one finds a much stronger structure party structure at a national level, and all kinds of things at the local level. by having such strong local roots, parties could pursue national platforms, but wink, wink, nod, nod, on the local level, but take out positions. obviously when harry truman desegregated the military after world war ii that was something
that southern democrats made very clear they were not going along with. we were still at a point where people expected parties to have differences at the local level. professor freeman: i will add to that a sort of word for the structural component of parties which i guess is always immediate to me. when you look at 7098, 70 99, 1800, you see people reaching, desperately for that as a means -- a mechanism of engaging in politics. that have -- that also has to do with the bottom up this --
upness. there is a fascinating letter -- thomas jefferson letter from 17 99, he has a pamphlet he wants to get out. in the letter he is literally asking, there are literally clubs where people talk about politics. do think we could give these pamphlets to the clubs. he is reaching for party structure. that is another part of the equation that i think is easy to take for granted when you're not looking at people struggling to just figure out how do you get people who have something they want to do together, actually do that thing together. >> from my perspective of seeing how the senate used to operate, when the southern democrats shared all of the most important committees, they were often out of step with the national party agenda. they often blocked significant portions of it. they did not necessarily destroyed a national party because the majority caps on chairman of the committees. there were lots of places for they gave in issues, and did not feel they had to oppose on all of the accounts.
they have done histories with people who were working in the avenue background and talking about how james eastland, the chairman of the judiciary committee could work very well with ted kennedy, or so many of the others who were the chairman of the sentence -- subcommittees, as long as it was behind-the-scenes. they could disagree completely with an -- when it was out of public. there was no advantage for the minority party to give any ground to the majority, or majority to give to minority. it was not that sort of we need your support. >> one more thing, just historically in the 19th century party affiliation was less a choice and more of an identity. you were the party that your father was.
these were passed down. there was no such thing as split votes. you literally voted the party ticket. you are of a party. you're not sitting there thinking, democrat, republican, independent. that is why third-party movements were so crucial. people did not go from the democratic party to the republican. they went through a third-party. very much the way they went through the republican party. professor freeman: at some point someone for to a third party as a screen. you hide behind this green -- the screen. >> from the institute, prior to that, i worked on the hill. you might build it's the best of this -- you might be able to speak best of this, right after the political scientist were urging a strengthening of the political party system, we saw voters step away from the party. independents keep getting a higher percentage of the population. it is probably not a coincidence that in the last 30 years we have seen more volatility between who controls the chambers, starting with 1982 or
1984 when ronald reagan was around when the senate flipped. that dynamic of going back and forth, when you think about it then from the perspective of the representative, 1960's, 1965, if you were republican, you are in the minority. you had no reason to try to alter your behavior. you would never take over the chamber. once you realize -- you are always playing for the next election. that is my own sense. i don't know of this is something that has happened prior to the last 50 years. was it in the late 19th century?
was that the volatility of swinging back and forth? professor freeman: short answer is, i do think it matters how obviously the chance or lack of a chance that the minority has as to how they will deal with the majority. i also think it meant time that i write about, as don was saying -- it also has something to do with how, what the press is or is not seeing of how i minority is behaving. in my population you see people taking strong minority stance on the floor and walking over to somebody's desk and saying, we can do this if you don't -- you know, the actual political game. i think that is part of it as well. one could put one's finger on specific congresses for that would be very true. >> certainly from the mckinley brian election through 19 30, it
is not as powerful as the democratic in 1932. what you did then, just as you have with the democratic majority or the power of factions within a party, you have the bull moose party. you have two republicans running against each other in 1912. they were these factions that split. that he take that out, to generalize, you have a republican majority. i should have been more explicit, what i was saying in the conclusion of my talk is, when you have a populous -- i actually think that congress is representative of the people. i'm not one of those who think that partisanship is just a battle among the elites. i think these people -- i think they know -- i think representatives, senators, no more about their constituents
than any elected official has ever known at any time in history. i think we know a lot about whether people want. -- about what their people want. at least the people who vote want. that just happens not to translate into great governance. >> you have to make a distinction between the house and senate. the house is majority driven. donald: the minority party gets shutout. the rules of the senate are different. and gives muscle to the minority. we have had very powerful minorities. in the days were the republicans had 35 senate -- senators, they were the swing vote.
it was dirksen who got his picture on the cover of "time" magazine. his votes were so essential. howard baker carry that on while he was the minority leader. transition for a nicely in 1980 into becoming the majority leader. we have the senate -- the senate had much of -- much less of a germanic turnover when the republicans won over 26 -- after 26 years of being the minority. in the house, when the republicans won after 40 years of being the minority, it was like the french revolution. it was like changing the months of the year. they change the names of the committees, everything. everybody went from the historian went, the chaplain went. it was a traumatic difference. i do think you have to look at the psyches of the institutions when you factor that in. question over here.
>> even more important in 2015, and increased gas tax, increased to the minimum wage, they did away with the death penalty, and they retained the secret vote which is how they elected this speaker and committee chairman thomas a you had democratic speakers -- is there any lesson and that from capitol hill? i think nebraska is a fantastic exception. are you from nebraska? professor balogh: i am not. >> i think nebraska has something going on there. what can that tell us about our problems? professor balogh: i think you
presented a lot of evidence that is persuasive. there is nothing laid over the top. of the committee, chairman, the speaker, that is it. >> am i right that a lot of the colonial era -- was in the early period of the republic am a number of states had single bodies. professor freeman: certainly. pennsylvania was one that started that way and switched it. >> i would ask, how has nebraska maintained nonpartisanship in a hyper partisan era? >> to reverse the asset -- and people after 1980, the parties gave up. the fact that the republican senator can vote to end the death penalty when he himself has committed to the death penalty, but he has no party telling about of it. the drug companies will not tell us the drugs.
when we send money for the appeals, they can't kill anyone. it is big government is how they framed it. >> a justice used to call the state laboratories of democracy. donald ritchie: time for one more question. >> i'm a historian. i am interested in the flow to opposition. not only how party structure of all but how our perceptions evolved.
what is -- looking into primaries in the 20th century, i wondered if you had thoughts on the -- on that? professor balogh: the attachment -- the party has changed dramatically. there was, i guess, the comment about the rise of independence, the last time i checked, a number of people who identified as independents is a must equal or is equal to republicans and democrats. i think broadly speaking, in the 20th century, there is much more willingness to change parties. basically disregard the party labels. i think that what has most works against parties in the 20th century is the ability for people running for office to find out about voters in ways that do not rely on parties. i think that is crucial. we rarely ask, what do parties
really do when it comes to informing? we talk about party discipline, but there is another side of parties, that is to provide information to people running about with their voters want them in a mass democracy. for a good 40 or 50, or 60 years -- interest groups began to challenge parties in terms of providing information about voters. i know i am not supposed to say that. interest groups are supposed to be evil and all about money, that for at least the first half of the 20th century, interest groups proves again and again that they could provide better information about a group of voters who go to the polls than the parties themselves. that is why elected officials began to move away from parties information. in the interest rate -- groups and the second half of the 20th century and today were replaced by public opinion polling. daily public opinion polling,
and in the last 15 years by big data. if you tell me whatgym you belong to, whether you play golf, and of course what is your income, your race, all of these things are easily accessible. i have a very good idea about the set of issues you are interested in. i certainly do not need an interest group to tell me, i don't need a -- political party to tell me. i think structurally that is what has been creating erosion of the connection between political parties and the voters themselves. >> even though people identify as independent, generally they lean one way they -- one way or the other. potentially you could look of these attributes of individuals and figure out which way they lean. in some ways it is obvious. even as that ideological -- leaning one way or the other --
professor balogh: this works well for getting elected. reassembling all of that information to govern is a nonstarter. this is not what people talk about when they hammer out obamacare. that is the real disconnect as far as i see it. donald ritchie: and i want to thank the national history enter for providing a nonpartisan basis for us to to discuss partisanship today. i want to thank our speakers for taking us back over the survey from the 19th through the 20th century come up to the 21st century, so we do not have to say we are shocked to see partisanship existing in the halls of congress. i really appreciate your effort today. i hope all of you learned as much as i did. this has been terrific.
thank you very much for coming. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] i am a history buff. i too enjoy seeing the fabric of our country. >> i love american history tv. >> i had no idea. that is probably something i would enjoy. tv gives youistory that perspective. >> i am a c-span fan. weekend on lectures in history, and poirier state university professor brian craig miller talks about the experiences of confederate veterans in the years after the civil war. here is a preview. >> a lost cause doesn't have a
lot of room for injured veterans or orphaned children. when you had these organizations spring up, they would put in their mission statements that they were all about raising money to take care of that generation that had been destroyed by the war, but they would use that money to build a or construct gigantic monuments or even to go and battle to write textbooks after the war. organizations,se because they are not representing their own personal pain and damage, they don't want to attend yearly reunions to relive these injuries on a daily basis. this is an important juxtaposition moment in postwar history. we have an entire group of veterans who are struggling, and they don't fit the nicely-packed narratives.
it's hard to argue around it in terms of wanting to nitpick particular elements. you have to argue the exact opposite. it becomes a standard set of talking points as the postwar history is constructed. >> you can watch the entire class this weekend on lectures in history at 8:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv on c-span3. this weekend, the c-span cities tour hosted by our time warner cable partners takes you to anaheim, california to explore the city's history and culture. came froma actually my editor at "the oc weekly." idea,'t offended by the but i didn't want to do it at first because i didn't think anyone would care. you want to do stories that people care about.
i thought the idea, who is going to want to read a column about mexicans? insisting, and we needed to fill in a space, so i was like, ok, fine. he said, it's only going to be one time. it's going to be a satirical column. people went absolutely nuts. some people loved it. some people hated it. even crazier, at the bottom of the column, since it was supposed to be a joke, i said, if you have a spicy question about mexicans, i said, ask me. people started sending in questions like crazy immediately. >> on american history tv -- >> john fro lane and his partner go up to san francisco, which is where a lot of the german immigrants are located. i found it very shocking, but they were able to convince 50 people of whom no one was a farmer and only one person, had to background in winemaking,
give up their businesses and come to anaheim. they first action after formed the los angeles a vineyard society was to have george hansen as their superintendent. his job was to bring irrigation here, lay out the site, and plant hundreds of thousands of grapevines. >> watch the c-span cities tour throughout the day on c-span2's book tv and sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. on c-span3. the c-span cities to her, working with our cable affiliate and visiting cities a country -- across the country. >> and panel of historians and authors looks at the 150th anniversary of reconstruction and examines the challenges faced in reunifying and rebuilding the union.
they talk about the role of the freedmen's bureau, the impact of carpetbaggers, and the importance of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. the new york historical society posted this event. we join this discussion in progress. and every less if i may add them what followed slavery would be black coats. state every southern passes these laws, trying to impose what looks like quasi-slavery on the newly emancipated. >> is for governments johnson had created. >> absolutely. you had incidents of african-americans not being able to purchase land, when they would have been able to do that, because you had black soldiers who may have had a little bit of money. you had people trying to limited resources, they were not allowed to either purchase the land or