That is all to say that in the USA, a profitable third social gathering isn’t essentially one which wins nationwide workplace. As a substitute, a profitable third social gathering is one which integrates itself or its program into one of many two main events, both by forcing key points onto the agenda or revealing the existence of a potent new voters.
Take the Free Soil Occasion.
Through the presidential election of 1848, after the annexation of Texas, the Mexican-American Struggle and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, a coalition of antislavery politicians from the Democratic, Liberty and Whig Events shaped the Free Soil Occasion to oppose the enlargement of slavery into the brand new Western territories. At their nationwide conference in Buffalo, the Free Soilers summed up their platform with the slogan “Free soil, free speech, free labor, free males!”
The Free Soil Occasion, notes the historian Frederick J. Blue in “The Free Soilers: Third Occasion Politics, 1848-1854,” “endorsed the Wilmot Proviso by declaring that Congress had no energy to increase slavery and should the truth is prohibit its extension, thus returning to the precept of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787.” It’s the responsibility of the federal authorities, declared its platform, “to alleviate itself from all duty for the existence of slavery wherever that authorities possesses constitutional energy to legislate on that topic and is thus chargeable for its existence.”
This was controversial, to place it mildly. The whole two-party system (the primary being the roughly 30-year competitors between the Federalists and the Jeffersonian Republicans) had been constructed to sidestep the battle over the enlargement of slavery. The Free Soil Occasion — which in an ironic twist nominated Martin Van Buren, the architect of that system, for president within the 1848 election — fought to place that battle on the middle of American politics.
It succeeded. In lots of respects, the emergence of the Free Soil Occasion marks the start of mass antislavery politics in the USA. It elected a number of members to Congress, helped fracture the Whig Occasion alongside sectional strains and pushed antislavery “Free” Democrats to desert their social gathering. The Free Soilers by no means elected a president, however in only a few brief years they remodeled American social gathering politics. And when the Whig Occasion lastly collapsed beneath the burden of its personal contradictions, after Normal Winfield Scott’s defeat within the 1852 presidential election, the Free Soil Occasion would turn into, in 1854, the nucleus of the brand new Republican Occasion, which introduced a fair bigger coalition of former Whigs and ex-Democrats along with Free Soil radicals beneath the umbrella of a sectional, antislavery social gathering.
There are a couple of different examples of third-party success. The Populist Occasion didn’t win excessive workplace after endorsing the Democratic nominee, William Jennings Bryan, for president in 1896 however went on to form the subsequent twenty years of American political life. “Within the wake of the defeat of the Individuals’s Occasion, a wave of reform quickly swept the nation,” the historian Charles Postel writes in “The Populist Vision”: “Populism supplied an impetus for this modernizing course of, with lots of their calls for co-opted and refashioned by progressive Democrats and Republicans.”