Introduction to the American party system. Social choice, structural-functionalism, and systems theory: why parties might be a necessary component of advanced industrial societies. Comparison of different social settings (ethnic, religious, class divisions) and how constitutional and party structures may relate. Tripartite theory of parties: parties in the electorate, as organizations, and in government. Historical development of parties in the United States since the Founding. The impact of media, regional, racial, gender, ethnic, and class identities on American party development.