Political Groups, Parties, and Organizations That Shaped America
An Encyclopedia and Document Collection
by Scott H. Ainsworth and Brian M. Harward, Editors
July 2019, 1077pp, 7x10
3 volumes, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-5196-4
$341, £263, 297€, A468
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-5197-1
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Political parties and interest groups have been ingrained in the American political system since its founding.

This three-volume set explores the multiple roles that parties and interest groups have played in American politics from the nation’s beginnings to the present.

This set serves as an essential resource for analyzing the emergence and impact of parties and interest groups in the American political system and for understanding the systematic and structural bases for interest group and party behavior. Volume One opens with an introduction by the editors that provides a general overview of the eras and identifies important themes and events, laying a foundation on which the subsequent essays and primary documents for each interest group or political party builds.

Narrative essays focus on how specific parties or interest groups have shaped or reflect a particular set of events or general themes in each of the eras in American political history. Topical entries reflect key themes developed throughout the volumes. Entries range from important founding groups and parties to contemporary political action committees and policy advocacy groups. The set also includes primary source documents (e.g., letters, platform documents, court decisions, flyers, etc.) that reveal important dimensions of the corresponding group’s political influence.


  • Provides expert analysis of the emergence and effect of parties and interest groups on the American political system
  • Offers a broader and more complete understanding of both parties and interest groups in American politics than has been offered previously
  • Helps readers to move beyond an event-driven knowledge of parties and interest groups to explore the systematic and structural bases for interest group and party behavior
  • Includes primary source documents that allow readers to discover for themselves the means by which groups or parties place items on the public agenda and thereby come to (or sometimes fail to) shape our governmental system
Scott H. Ainsworth, PhD, is professor and head of the political science department in the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia. He is author of Analyzing Interest Groups: Group Influence on People and Policies and coauthor of Lobbying and Policymaking: The Public Pursuit of Private Interests and Abortion Politics in Congress: Strategic Incrementalism and Policy Change.

Brian M. Harward, PhD, is Robert G. Seddig Chair in Political Science and director of the Center for Political Participation at Allegheny College, Meadville, PA. He is author of Presidential Power and coauthor of Presidential Campaigns, both in ABC-CLIO's Documents Decoded series.


LJ Best Reference of 2019—Library Journal, March 1, 2020


"General readers, high school students, and undergraduates will find this outstanding resource well illustrates the divergent genesis and nature of our political culture and landscape."—Library Journal, November 1, 2019
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