• The Modern Scholar

  • People and the Ballot: A History of American Party Politics
  • By: Joshua Kaplan
  • Narrated by: Joshua Kaplan
  • Length: 7 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Release date: 08-18-08
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Recorded Books
  • 3.8 (30 ratings)

Regular price: $49.95

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Publisher's Summary

The study of political parties gets straight to the heart of American politics. The story of political parties is about how we get along with one another. Political parties grew outside the Constitution and the more formal framework of government. No one planned or even wanted them. Parties developed as a response to the dream of a unified government. While parties have taken the country to the brink of violence, and beyond, they have also been vehicles for avoiding violent conflict, and for channeling disagreements. This course provides an understanding of how American politics work and can help make sense of election results and political trends. By understanding political parties, we can better understand what is going on in American politics today and in which direction American politics may be going.
©2007 Joshua Kaplan; (P)2007 Recorded Books, LLC
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Alan on 09-29-12

This course gets my vote

Very informative and well researched series. I found Professor Kaplan easy to listen to. His presentation would be better if he picked up the over all tempo of his lecture. He feels the need to repeat himself more then is necessary to make a point. Overall tho, his style is very acceptable.
Professor Kaplan is not an electrifying orator but don't let this stop you from buying this series.

The course itself is not linear but rather is presented in topics rather then timeline format. This is understandable considering the topic.

A word to the would be buyer. This course is about the history of the American political parties and not about the politicians themselves. If you want to learn more about the politicians themselves, this is not for you. ( What is funny is that Huey Long gets more discussion then Andrew Jackson and Teddy Roosevelt combined) If you however want to learn about the history of the political parties that have dotted our history, then I wholly recommend this series.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful


By Jay on 01-04-14

Good course, but desperately needs an update

Professor Kaplan is a very good lecturer, and very good at explaining his subject.

however, note that the course came out in 2007. At many points throughout the lectures, his narrative is dying for a mention of Obama's elections in 2008 and 2012 (like where he is talking about how difficult it is for a democrat to win states in the South), or the 2010 Citizens United vs. FEC Supreme Court decision, which has overruled some of his points about the influence of contributions on party politics.

If this were truly a "history" like the title claims, one or two lectures at the end would likely be sufficient to update it, but this is more a political science course on the influence of parties on politics than it is a history, and spends at least as much time talking about "the present" (in 2007, that is) as it does talking about history.

If Professor Kaplan re-recorded this, taking modern developments into account, it could easily get a five star rating from me. As it is, a three-star rating is the best I can give it, and I can only give it a qualified recommendation, with the qualification that you'll need to supplement the knowledge you get here with some more-up-to-date resources.

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