The American Direct Primary
Party Institutionalization and Transformation in the North
By Alan Ware
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year: 2002
Online Publication Date:July 2009
Chapter DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511509933.001
As with several of the books and articles I have written, the origins of The American Direct Primary lie in my gradually becoming aware that arguments I had long assumed to be valid might not be. In the mid-1990s I had been rereading articles by Martin Shefter, published originally in 1983, but that had been reissued in his Political Parties and the State. One of the points that struck me was that, at the beginning of the twentieth century, party organizations in the eastern United States were no weaker than they had been a few decades earlier; indeed, because there had been pressures toward centralization, in some ways they were stronger than in the 1870s and 1880s. If Shefter's account of the state of the parties were correct, and to me it seemed a highly plausible account, how was the introduction of the direct primary in the eastern half of the United States to be explained? After all, here was a reform that appeared to run counter to the interests of parties but that had been adopted at a time when those parties were arguably still at the peak of their power. Trying to solve that puzzle set me on the path that has led to the publication of this book.
I was fortunate in enjoying the help of a great many people during the period it was being researched and written.