Talking Points, Part 1: What Is Jesus’ Take On Politics? // Andy Stanley

– So today we begin
this three part series, designed to make you
uncomfortable and
hopefully, better. It's entitled, "Talking Points," and I came up with
the sub title myself, "The perfect blend of
politics and religion." We'll see how perfect it
is, that will be up to you. Now, I have found it very
difficult to stay away from the topic of
religion in church. (audience laughing) But I found it very
easy to stay away from the topic of
politics in church. But whenever something
Jesus says specifically intersects something that
we're wrestling with in culture or wrestling with specifically
at a time like this in the life of our nation,
I have to talk about it. Or I should say I
have talked about it, I get to talk about it, I look
forward to talking about it, because the words of
Jesus are so relevant and they are so
extraordinarily relevant with everything that's happening
in our nation right now. And, the division, that's
no new news, right? The division in the
church created by our current political
context and climate, intersects directly with
something that Jesus taught.

So we're gonna look at it. And, since we are a
large and more and more diverse and geographically
dispersed group of network churches
in the Atlanta area and now more and more
all around the country, it's even more important
for me to talk about this because we are set
up to be divided, because of what we're
about to experience in the next few months. Now I became, I dunno, I don't
wanna say painfully aware, I became extraordinarily
aware of the diversity of political views
in our churches; actually the Sunday
following the 2016 election. So here's what happened. So if you can go
back in time, okay, it's the Sunday after
the 2016 election, which meant churches in
primarily Republican counties, they sang so loud on that
particular Sunday, right. I mean, they were
just singing, right.

And churches that were filled with primarily non-Republicans, they probably didn't even have
music that Sunday, I dunno. You remember it
was so emotional, everybody was in
shock and awe on both, you know, going both ways. And so, you know, we plan
our services way ahead, and so we kind of, you
know, we got to Sunday, and we just kind of
did our regular thing, that's what we do. We just rarely interface with
what's going on in culture unless it's, you know,
something big and dramatic. And we just, you know,
went with the program. So anyway, after the service,
I'm sitting there in my truck, at one of our more
suburban campuses. For those of you who are
watching from all the country, we have like nine or 10 churches
all over the Atlanta area. So right on the outskirts. And I'm sitting
there in the traffic, in park, just so you know, with my phone scrolling
through Twitter.

And the cool thing
about Twitter, when you preach
with one of these, is you find out if people
are paying attention to your main points. It's like, it's so good. So I'm like, yep
yep yep, anyway. So I get a mention from
an African American woman who attended our church
that's more toward town. And this is essentially what
her text said, she said: I came to church this morning
looking for reassurance.

I'm scared. And no one even
mentioned the election. I feel abandoned by my church. And of course, as a pastor, really as her pastor,
I felt terrible. But, you know, the Republicans,
who would read this, if you're Republican
and you would read this, and you would say,
and this isn't, I'm not, you know, this is gonna be uncomfortable, so listen, go ahead and
be uncomfortable together. You're like scared of what? We won. Scared of what? Now if the Democrats
had won the election, now that would have been
something to be afraid of. That's what, you know,
if you're Republican, that's what you're
thinking, right? But she's thinking something
entirely different. She has experienced this in a completely
different way, right? Because, nothing
divides like politics because, nothing
divides like fear. As you know, because you've
been a victim of this, or maybe you've
been a part of this, you can raise a lot of
money pedaling fear.

You can't raise this much money if you're not
pedaling fear, right? I mean the Republicans
are gonna take away your opportunity to vote, and the Democrats are gonna
take away your guns, you know, for $25 or $50 or if you
check $100, you know. You know, if the
president is re-elected, you know, the end of the world. If a Socialist
Democrat is elected, you know, it's the
end of the world. For $25 or $50 or $100, right? I mean you pedal enough fear, you could raise a lot of money. I'm not trying to
give you any ideas, I'm just telling you, it works.

But here's the question. What exactly, just
within the context of, you know, the United
States of America, what exactly do we fear? And I tell you, I
know the answer, because the answer is
the same for all of us, you know, at the macro level. It's this, it's loss. We fear something is
gonna be taken away. We fear loss, we fear
the loss of control, the loss of opportunity, the loss of the future
of our children, the loss of our culture, the loss of our freedom, the loss of our progress, because we've made progress
in some areas, you know? White people, we fear
what might happen.

Brown and black people fear
what has already happened. For them, it's not,
you know, theory. For them or for
you, it's history. And it wasn't that long ago. So there's fear for all of us, and it's the fear
of the unknown. And you can't raise
very much money if you don't pedal in fear. So we're in this culture, we're in this season in
the life of our nation, where everybody is
pedaling in fear.

And if we're not careful,
we will be victims of that. And not only will we be victims, we will be, this is what
we're gonna talk about, we will be divided. So back to my story. So I see this text and
I'm like, oh no, you know. Is there something that
we could have done, or should have done? It was at, you know, a
different one of our churches, but still, you know. So the traffic starts moving. So I put my, I'm in
my pick-up truck, I put my truck in gear, and I'm behind another
pick-up truck and I look, and on the back window
of the pick-up truck, on the left is an NRA sticker, and on the right side is a very
unflattering bumper sticker that has to do with
Hilary Clinton.

We'll just leave it like that. And I thought to myself,
this is all those years ago, here we are, here we are. We have the complete,
pretty much, you know, political spectrum
in our churches. And I gotta tell
you, I love that. In fact, I would say
this, and maybe this is– I don't wanna say
this too strongly, but if you're
looking for a church where everybody is
the same, (chuckling) you're in the wrong church,
okay, let me just tell you. And if you're looking
for a group of churches where everybody
agrees politically, you're in the wrong church, and I hope you never ever ever
attend a church like that, as we're gonna see
in just a minute.

Because what this means for us, because we're big and
we're influential, thanks to what you've
done all over the country, and really all over the world, we have an unprecedented
opportunity. We have an unprecedented
opportunity to model for our community
and maybe our nation, what it looks like to
disagree politically, because we are going to continue
to disagree politically, and love unconditionally. Now, here's the question. And I don't want you
to answer it out loud, I don't want you to say amen, I don't want you to say hm mm, I don't want you to do anything. I don't want you
to throw anything, unless you're at one
of the other churches, you can throw stuff
at the screen, I'll just keep on
preaching, okay? (audience laughing) So this is for you and I
really want you to be– Because here's the thing, what we're gonna
talk about today, I understand, I'm in
the audience with you.

What we're gonna
talk about today, you think you've got
it, I know you do. That's why we're gonna
spend three weekends talking about this. You think you're fine,
like I think I'm fine. But I want us to really dig down and maybe face some things
we've never faced before, and they're gonna be
a little bit scary, a little bit terrifying. I'm not gonna ask you to
change political parties. I just want you to think a little bit differently
as a Christian. And the question I
wanna ask you is, do you, don't answer out loud, do you want to do this? And do you think
you can do this? To which, on the surface,
it's like, oh yeah, I can do this, I do it all
the time.

Just hang with me. And I don't mean tolerate
people from other parties and other persuasions, even
those that are kind of out on, you know, the fringes,
and are super extreme. Not tolerate, not
just be nice to, with an eye roll, you know. Let me ask you in a different
way. And this is more pointed. And I think this goes
to the heart of it. Are you willing to
evaluate your politics, through the filter
of our historical collective Christian faith? Are you willing to
evaluate your politics through the filter of your faith rather than create
a version of faith that supports your politics? Which is what most
Christians do. As we're gonna talk
about next week. Everybody wants a
piece of Jesus, right? I mean in the United
States of America, Jesus is part of
every political party.

He is in lockstep. No matter what your thing is, if you're a Christian at all or any kind of version
of Christianity,
it's like, oh yeah. And again, we're
gonna see next week, anywhere in the bible, you
can find something Jesus said, or somewhere in the bible, to
support your political view. The real issue is, are you
willing, and am I willing, to put our political
filter behind, instead of in front
of, our faith filter? Are we willing to evaluate
and re-evaluate our politics in light of what specifically
Jesus has taught? Let me say it a different way. Are you, and can you be, but are you willing
to follow Jesus? I mean that's the
mission of our church, is to inspire people
to follow Jesus. Are you willing to follow Jesus, when following
Jesus creates space between you and your
political party, your party's platform, and
your party's candidate? And I'm just telling you, most Christians are
not able to do that, especially in the climate
that we're in now, and in months that
we have ahead.

Because it's so
easy to be divided, and it's so easy to
rush to the corner, and it's so easy to just assume that God and Jesus are
in lockstep with us. Now, any questions so far? Good, okay now, Jesus,
this is what's so amazing, this is why I have
to talk about it. Apparently, Jesus
saw this coming. Not the election, not that part. What Jesus saw coming
was the division. In fact, this is extraordinary. After Jesus had his
final passover meal
with the disciples, he prays a prayer in John; Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; actually records this, sometimes it's called
the High Priestly Prayer, and in this prayer, there's
two interesting things. Number one, he prays for us; we're gonna look at
that in just a minute.

But number two, Jesus
has a prayer request. Now if you grew up in church, you know what a
prayer request is. You're sitting in a circle, you're about to finish
your Sunday School class, or your small group, "Anybody have a prayer request?" Somebody raise their hand,
you share a prayer request. Imagine sitting in a circle
(chuckling) with Jesus? "Anybody have a prayer request?" Jesus says, "I have a request." It's like, "Really?", "Yeah." Jesus had a prayer request, and in this passage that
John records for us, we discover what Jesus
asked the father for. Now wouldn't you like to
know what Jesus prayed for, when Jesus pray? We know
what we pray for, you know, "Thank you for this day, "you know, get us to school, "help my kids," you
know, that stuff. What did Jesus pray for? And so here he is, this is cool, he's at the very end, in a few hours, he's gonna be arrested,
and tried and crucified.

Everything moves really
quick after that. So he's praying here at the end, and he asks something
of his heavenly father. And what he asks of
his heavenly father has everything in the world
to do with any of you, any of us, who consider
ourselves Jesus followers. This is remarkable. Here's what he prays: Father, the hour has come. Here we are, you know, three,
three and a half years, of walking around
with these guys, trying to explain
what you're like, and explain what the
kingdom of God is like, but here we are at the
end, the hour has come. Glorify your son, he's about to be
arrested and crucified, again, it moves really quick. Glorify your son, in other words, light
me up in such a way that people recognize who I am, that your son may light you up, so that people recognize
we're connected.

And the interesting
thing is the hour, when Jesus was crucified, that he's referring to here, the hour in which God
was most glorified, we would have been
most horrified. We would have looked away. And God never looked better. Because he sent his
son to redeem mankind. And Jesus' like, okay,
we're at that hour, but before all those
events kick off, there's something I gotta ask
you to do, O heavenly father. Here's what he says. It goes on, verse 11, he says: I will remain in
the world no longer, but they, the disciples,
are still in the world, and I'm coming to
you, I'm leaving them. And he's told them, I'm leaving,
I'm leaving, I'm leaving, and Peter kept saying,
where are you going? Where are you going,
where are you going? And Jesus like, "Where
I'm going, you can't go." Peter's like, "I'm going
with you everywhere." And Jesus is like,
"No, you're not, okay?" But what comes next is amazing and I think, this
is just my opinion, I think what comes next,
most Christians don't know.

So you're gonna be an overly
educated Christian after today. Now it's been in the gospel
of John this whole time, you know, it's like
Dorothy, it's like, that movie should have
lasted, what, 20 minutes? I got the ruby red slippers,
I'm back in Kansas, right? So, this has been
here the whole time. Here is Jesus' prayer request
to the father at the very end. Here's what he says: Holy father, protect
them, these 12 guys, by the power of your name, the name that you
gave me, so that, in other words, here is the
purpose of the protection. Here's specifically how I
want you to protect them. Now the interesting thing is, he's already given
them some bad news. Okay guys, here's what
your future looks like. You're gonna be arrested,
flogged and beaten, some of you are gonna be killed. That's your future. Oh great, wish you had
told us that earlier on. Ah I know I kinda held back 'cause I knew you
wouldn't follow me.

But anyway, that's your future, but now they're in it, right? But here he is praying that
God would protect them, and he's not praying for
their physical protection. He's praying for
something he thinks is more important than
their physical protection. That they may be, here it is: Holy father, protect them
by the power of your name, the name that you gave me, so that they may be, this
is his one prayer request, here is what he wanted protected
more than anything else, that they may be one, as we are one.

At the very end, the thing that Jesus
was most concerned about was their unity, and their oneness. Because here's what he knew, and here's what he's gonna
say in the next few verses. He knew that as long as they
were in lockstep together, and in lockstep with
his heavenly father, the world would change. But if they ever got
divided and splintered, things would stall out.

Then, in verse 20, skipping
down if you're following along, he prays for you and he prays
for me and he prays for us. This is amazing. My prayer, he says,
is not for them alone. Not just these 12 guys. I pray also for those
who will believe in me through their message. In other words, that next
generation of Christians, and the next generation
of Christians, and the next generation
of Christians, leading all the way up to us. And what do you think
he prays for us? And the answer is, not
what we pray for us. In fact, here's something
that's really sad, I mean it's convicting to me.

My hunch is
virtually none of us, who consider ourselves
Jesus followers, virtually none of us
have ever asked God for what Jesus asked God for. Virtually none of us have
ever prayed the prayer that Jesus prayed even
though he modeled it, and clearly, this was
so close to his heart, and so important to him
in those final hours. Which may be the problem. Because we're gonna discover, maybe if the church, maybe if people like me, have been begging God for this, leading toward this,
pleading toward this, the world would be a
different and better place.

My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those
who will believe in me through their message. That all of them, all of them. In the first century, that
meant Jew and gentile, and rich and poor and
slaves and free men, and military leaders and
soldiers and tax gatherers, and those from whom the
taxes were gathered, and the educated and the
uneducated, everybody. In the 21st century, it means
Republicans and Democrats, the privileged, the not-so
privileged, the independent, the indecisive, the
libertarians, the librarians, you know, the black and
brown and white and beige, privileged, married, single;
in other words, all of us. That all of the people
who call me Lord, no matter where they're from,
what they've experienced, or how good life
has treated them, or how poorly life
has treated them, connected, disconnected, I pray that all of them,
in this vast array, this extraordinary
dispersion of people with different experiences, I pray that somehow,
all of them, this is amazing, may be one.

Which sounds impossible. But Jesus was convinced, we're about to see this
because he says it. Jesus was convinced, as
impossible as that may sound, it was mission critical. Which meant, even though
it seemed impossible, it was absolutely imperative. This was not an add on, this was not a wouldn't it be
nice if we just all got along? Which means we should
become intentional about ensuring that there
is unity in local churches and unity in the church. Because this is what
Jesus prayed for. And it doesn't come
naturally, does it? And the reason it
doesn't come naturally is because well we
only know what we know and we were raised by
who we were raised in, and we've experienced
what we've experienced.

And we tend to run
to our little corners politically and relationally
and every kind of way, right? And Jesus' like, oh my church
is gonna be so diverse, and my church is gonna
be so international, and my church is gonna have
so many different languages and so many different colors, and so many different cultures. If there is anyway
they could remain one? And then he
continues his prayer: Father, just as you are
in me and I am in you, may they also be in us so that, another purpose clause. Do you know why he
prayed for oneness? This is the shocker. The reason he prayed for oneness really doesn't even have
anything to do with us. He prayed for oneness because
of what he wanted to do through us.

And there can be a lack of
unity in a local church, and the church will survive, but if there's a lack of unity in a local church
or in the church, the will of God will not be
accomplished through the church. Look at what he says. The reason I want
them to be one, is so that the world, not
the people in the church, so the people
outside the church, the people outside the faith, the people that roll their
eyes and drive on by, so that when they see the unity
in spite of the diversity, when they see the unity
in spite of the diversity within the church
and between churches, they may actually come
to the conclusion, they may believe, that is,
they might be convinced, that you have sent me.

Look, this isn't an add on. This is mission critical. The way the world is gonna
sit up and take notice of this beautiful diverse
thing we call the local church, is when the church works
together and is unified, even though we disagree,
and agree to disagree. Even though we've been
raised in such different ways that we will never see
the world the same way politically and other ways, and yet, at the same time, there's this beautiful,
magical, unusual unity. And Jesus is, I'm telling you, this is the way forward, this is what will eventually get the attention of the empire. This is what will eventually get the attention
of the pagan world. There's never been
anything like it. And you can't sacrifice
your unity for anything. You know what he was doing? He was actually asking
his heavenly father to come along later and
nudge us and, you know, nudge that generation
of Christians and the next generation
of Christians, to nudge us toward what he
had just commanded us to do a few minutes
earlier when he was having passover meal
with his disciples.

Because in that conversation
with his disciples, he said: Look, I'm
about to leave. Peter, shh, you're not going. I'm about to leave. And here's the one thing I
don't want you to forget, I'm gonna give
you a new command, we talk about this all the time, I'm gonna give
you a new command, I'm gonna establish
a new covenant, and the new command's gonna
replace all the other commands and it's very simple, nobody
even needs to write this down, he would say, ah ha,
he could have said, because it's so simple. And my new command is this, you're to love one
another, right? To which they would have
said that's not really new. And Jesus would say
I'm not through, you're to love one another, as I have, look at this,
as I have loved you.

You don't get to make this up. I've modeled this …

Why Youth Shouldn’t Study Politics | Nicomachean Ethics Book 1 Ch 3

In Book 1 Chapter 3 of Nicomachean
Ethics, Aristotle discusses two topics: the nature of the conclusions of
political science or ethics, and the character that will be required of the
students of this science. On the first point, Aristotle notes that ethics is an
inexact science, and in this he seems to differ from Plato, who thought that there
was a form of Justice and a form of the Good which we can know with greater and
greater clarity, outside the cave.

Aristotle says we should expect only the
degree of precision which is appropriate to this object. And because there is
great diversity and variation in the spheres of what is noble and what is
just, and because the goods and the use of these goods differs from lifetime to
lifetime, from circumstance to circumstance, we cannot expect precise
answers. I think it's important to recognize here that Aristotle is not
giving us a license for relativism, for supposing that anything can be good for
anybody. He's suggesting that there are a set of objective goods in ethics, but
that there is a range, especially in regard to their application in a
particular person's lifetime and circumstances.

What is good for one
person will not automatically be good for another person; what is good will
vary to a good degree with circumstances. And this means there can be no exact
formula for happiness, and choosing the good over the course of an entire
lifetime will require good judgment and prudence on every occasion. So we
shouldn't expect formulaic or precise mathematical answers: do A, B, and C and
you're guaranteed to be happy. That's not the way human happiness and human
flourishing work, Aristotle is telling us.

Aristotle says we should be satisfied
with this discussion of ethics if we can describe the truth "sketchily and in outline, because we are making generalizations on
the basis of generalizations." Here's one way I think we can think about that. The
first level of generalization deals with our determining the good or the virtue
to pursue in a particular set of circumstances. This can be stated as a
generalization. I might say, in thinking of a fireman facing a burning building,
that in general it is good and courageous for the fireman to go into
the burning building. Now that's a generalization and it can be overturned
by particular circumstances: if the building is about to collapse or if
there's some other circumstance that mitigates against it, I might say that's
not the rule to follow.

But I can make a generalization that it is in general
courageous for firemen to enter burning buildings, and that could be a good guide
for action for this particular man at this particular point in his life. The
second level of generalization, the generalization based upon
generalizations, I think comes in when we think about how to combine all the goods
and all the virtues over an entire lifetime. So think of my fireman trying
now to reconcile his obligations and his virtues as a fireman and as a father and
as a citizen and as a member of a church community and the like. He has to make
all these decisions, balancing these things. This requires a further level of
generalization and I might even say a third level of generalization, where I
try now as a philosopher to describe what does it mean to live a good life,
generally, for for all people, for everyone? Not just this one fireman with
his multiple different circumstances, virtues, and roles to reconcile, but for
any human being.

Notice I've risen here to a level of
generality so high that I'm not going to be able to make even as precise a
statement of what courage is as I could make for the fireman facing the burning,
this particular burning building. So "generalizations upon generalizations"
means we're going to lose a certain level of detail and precision as we try
to give a more and more general account of noble and just and good actions.
Aristotle then emphasizes again that it is the mark of an educated
person to look only for as much precision in our answers as the nature
of the object studied allows. So it's because the the real objective nature of
human noble and good actions varies as much as it does that we have to be
satisfied with less precise answers.

We could state the converse of this claim
as well and say that to ask for more precision than the subject matter's
nature will permit is the mark of an untrained mind. And we can think of this
as a kind of warning Aristotle is giving to his students at the beginning of this
study: "If you're coming in here expecting exact precise formulaic answers for the
good life, for ethics and political science, you
need to correct that expectation right now because that's not the nature of the
object or the nature of the study that we're making of that object."
Aristotle's second point in this chapter is his famous or perhaps infamous
argument that certain character traits of youth disqualify one from the study
of ethics or at the very least they interfere with that study.

And he gives
two reasons for this, two pieces of evidence. First, that ethics and politics
is the science of experience, and youth just by definition has less or none of
this experience. No matter how widely traveled he is, no matter how varied his
experience has been, a 20 year old will not be familiar with the full range of
actions and the full range of circumstances that require judgment and
decision of over the course of an entire human life. We would expect people with
more experience of the world to be more skilled in choosing, if only because
they've been exposed to a much broader range of circumstances. His second piece
of evidence is that young people tend to follow their feelings, and for this
reason the rational study of ethical behavior will be useless for them.
Now he adds immediately that this does not, this is not a matter of years only.
It does not matter if one is immature in age or
immature in character; if they are dominated by their feelings they cannot
profit from this kind of study. So it's not a matter of age alone but of
character, and especially of the balance of reason and emotion in one's soul.

think the key point to get out of this is not that Aristotle is somehow
prejudiced against teenagers but that reason must rule over your desires and
your actions to a certain degree before you can profitably study ethics and
politics. In other words this is an advanced study that requires a certain
level of character development, a certain level of maturity. It's not going to be
helpful for people who haven't resolved that particular problem, who haven't
brought their emotions under the control of their reason to a significant degree
yet. So that's his argument for excluding youth or immature people
from the profitable study of ethics.

So that's been my quick look at Book 1
Chapter 3 of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. I hope you found it helpful.
Thanks for watching today; goodbye..

As found on YouTube

Party Systems: Crash Course Government and Politics #41

Hello, I'm Craig and this is
Crash Course Government and Politics. And today we're gonna talk about, well, mostly history. Wait Stan, this isn't Crash Course History. This must be
some kind of exception, like the Mongols. [Mongoltage] Apparently we're not stepping on anybody's toes by
talking about the history of American political parties, as long as we stay away from history in general.
Thank goodness, we wouldn't want to start a Crash Course interdisciplinary feud. Just kidding, I'm
totally feuding with that Phil guy over at Astronomy. [Theme Music] Political historians like to divide America
into eras according to which parties were active at the time. These are called party
systems, and there have been 5 or 6 of them depending on who you ask. I want to say there
were 6, but that's just me.

And some political scientists and historians. But mainly me, because I'm
the important one here, and not Phil from Astronomy. There were no parties during the first elections
under the new Constitution in 1788, partly because the framers were afraid of parties,
which Madison called factions, and partly because there was universal agreement that
the first president of the US should be George Washington. And so he was. It was only after
he retired after his second term that voters started to break into political factions and
vote based on their ideological leanings. Although, to call these factions parties is
a bit of a stretch. Anyway, the first party system, which probably
started in the 1796 election included the Federalists, who supported Washington's Vice-President
John Adams, and the Democratic-Republicans who supported Thomas Jefferson. So, the Federalist
political party was different than the group that worked to get the Constitution ratified,
even though they were also called Federalists.

And Alexander Hamilton was prominent in both
groups. What the two parties believed isn't so important for this series. We talked about
it in Crash Course US History, but overall the Federalists were supported by North-Eastern
business elites, especially merchants who wanted closer ties with England, and those
who generally wanted a stronger national government. The Democratic-Republicans were more skeptical
of national power, and, when push came to shove, favored the more revolutionary French.
Ultimately, the Democratic-Republicans were way more successful. They were dominant in
the presidential contests of the time, as Jefferson in 1800 and 1804, Madison in 1808
and 1816, and Monroe in 1820 and 1824 were all Democratic-Republicans. Monroe's elections
kind of don't count though, as the Federalists weren't really a factor in national politics
after 1815. In fact, the period between 1815 and 1824
is sometimes called "The Era of Good Feelings". And that's how I like to refer to lunch every
day. I just got back from a 45-minute Era of Good Feelings. Mmm, it was a burrito bowl.

Sadly, the Era of Good Feelings came to an
end with the election of 1824, which saw John Quincy Adams defeat Andrew Jackson in a bitter
election that ended up being decided in the House of Representatives. Jackson, ever the gracious
loser, decried the election as a "corrupt bargain," and rode this angry sentiment to victory in the
1828 election. Jackson was a divisive figure in a lot of ways, especially if you like the Supreme Court
or Native Americans but, from our perspective, he's really useful, because his election helped to launch the
second party system.

Let's go to the Thought Bubble. The new party, called the Whigs, started out
as an anti-Jackson party. They claimed Jackson was a tyrant, and they might have had a point.
The second Party System brought innovations to the political process, mostly in the party
that opposed the Whigs. The Democratic-Republicans re-branded themselves as the "Democrats".
These Democrats, especially under the leadership of Jackson's Vice President, and future magnificently
bewhiskered President, Martin Van Buren, introduced some of the features of politics that we still
see today. They established a central party committee, state party organizations, and
party newspapers. Okay so we don't have party newspapers anymore, because we don't really
have newspapers anymore. The Democrats also established state and national conventions
for nominating candidates. Before this, all candidates had been chosen by caucuses of
party leaders, which is less, well, democratic. The Whigs were generally less successful in
national elections, but they introduced flair into politics in the campaign of 1840. And
we could all use a little more flair.

This was the first time a Whig candidate,
William Henry Harrison, won the presidency. And he introduced a great deal of political
theater into running for office. The Whigs held parades featuring a rolling model of
a log cabin that Harrison supposedly grew up in (he didn't) and copious amounts of hard
cider for supporters. It also featured a giant ball covered in campaign slogans that supposedly
spawned the phrase "keep the ball rolling", and gave us the first campaign slogan with
both rhyming and alliteration, "Tippecanoe and Tyler, too".

So catchy it's still used
to this day. I put it in my wedding vows, "Do you take this woman? I do… and Tippecanoe
and Tyler, too." This came from Harrison's supposed status
as the hero of the battle of Tippecanoe, which introduced another aspect into American politics —
the idea that successful candidates for president should, if at all possible, be war heroes.
Thanks, Thought Bubble. Eventually, the issue of slavery pretty much
destroyed the Whig party, and the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 ushered in the
third party system. Lincoln ran and won as a Republican, and after 1860, the US basically
settled into a two-party system with all elections basically between Democrats and Republicans.
But over the years, the compositions of these parties, who supports each party, and what
the party stands for changed enough that we think of those shifts as creating new party

So the Republican party was originally a conglomeration
of reformers who coalesced around being against slavery. Republicans have always been pro-business
and have tried to associate themselves with liberty. In fact, one of their earliest rallying
cries was "Free soil, free labor, free men." As viewers of the Crash Course US History
video on Reconstruction know, it was a pretty pivotal and divisive time in American history.
In terms of political parties though, this was when the Southern states all tilted towards
the Democratic party, largely because Republicans were (correctly) seen as being responsible
for ending slavery. Democrats during the third party system were
a bit of an odd mix. Their strength came from white, largely racist Southerners and working
class immigrants in the north, many of whom gravitated to the Democrats because the Republicans
tended not to like immigrants or alcohol, and many Republican reforms in this era were designed to keep
middle-class Protestant business elites in power. Another reason for Democrats' success in recruiting
immigrant votes was that this was the era of political machines, which traded political appointments
for support to win elections and maintain power.

The most famous of these machines tended to
be in big cities with large immigrant populations like Boston and New York, and they were mostly
Democratic, although there were Republican political machines too, mostly in the Midwest.
The supposed Democratic abuses of machines brought about electoral reforms like voter
registration, secret ballots, requiring that voters be alive, and other good government
reforms that had the effect of reducing the number of voters and making elections a lot
less fun. The third party system lasted from roughly
1860 to 1896, when another pivotal election brought about a change in the composition
of one of the parties, in this case, the Democrats. Some time in the 1880s, and certainly by 1892,
a new party The People's Party, or Populists, began to form in the south and the western
parts of the US.

They had a number of concerns, mainly about regulation of farm prices and
railroad shipping rates, but also things like supporting a national income tax and a general
mistrust of bankers and plutocrats. (Those are the Democrats that live on Pluto, but
according to Phil, no one lives on Pluto. Whatever Phil!) They won a few congressional elections, but
eventually merged with the Democrats when they nominated the Democrat William Jennings
Bryan to be their presidential candidate in 1896. Adding certain elements of populism
shored up Democratic support in the South and the Midwest, but for many Americans their
ideas were too radical and the Democrats were unable to elect any presidential candidates between
1896 and 1932, with one exception: Woodrow Wilson. Good ol' Woodrow only made it in because the
Republican vote in 1912 was spilt between the establishment candidate Taft and former president Theodore
Roosevelt, who started his own progressive party.

The rise and fall of the Populists show us
something important about third parties in American politics. The first thing is that
they never win, largely because the way American elections are structured, but this doesn't
mean that they don't matter. Third parties can shift the terms of political debate. Without
a Socialist party (and there was one, believe it or not) issues of workers' rights wouldn't
have been nearly as prevalent in the early part of the 20th century. (Eagle was in the shot, I didn't
want it to be. Didn't want to influence political debate.) Often, third party ideas get incorporated
into the platforms of one of the other parties. This happened with the Populists, as their
plans for graduated national income tax and direct election of senators were eventually incorporated
into the constitution in the 16th and 17th amendments. After the election of 1932 when Franklin Roosevelt
became president and the Great Depression had kind of discredited Republican economic
policies, the Democrats were dominant in both Houses of Congress as well.

Thanks to these
advantages, the Democratic party saw another shift in its composition and priorities. One so big that
we say that the new fifth party system was the result. The Democrats' New Deal policy brought more
groups into the party's fold. Support for organized labor, especially the Wagner Act,
attracted union workers. The idea that government could work to alleviate poverty through research
and planning attracted some Socialists and many upper middle class intellectuals, including
a large percentage of the American Jewish community. Southern farmers, always a backbone
of the Democrats, were attracted by New Deal farm policies.

New Deal support for jobs and
FDR's repeal of prohibition helped bring urban immigrants, especially Catholics, into the
Democrats camp. The Democrats acknowledgment that African Americans were suffering especially
hard from the depression helped shift African American support away from the party of Lincoln. This was a major re-alignment, as black people,
when they could vote in America, had until the New Deal voted overwhelmingly for Republicans. And even though New Deal programs did very
little for black people (the programs were often quite discriminatory), the impression
that the Democrats and FDR were champions of the poor helped convince many African Americans
to vote Democrat, and they remain one of the most consistent groups in terms of their party

The coalition of groups that make up the Democratic
party, sometimes called the New Deal coalition (also my band name in high school), had been
pretty stable for quite some time, as has the coalition that makes up the Republican
party. This is why some people suggest that there've only been five party systems, with
the fifth beginning roughly in 1932 and continuing to the present. I disagree! As do other historians
and political scientists. My people, my posse. I bet they all have beards too. Us six-system-ers argue for a further realignment
of support after 1968 and consider the current political climate to be a sixth party system.
The main shift here, and in terms of Congress it has been really huge, is that the South,
which used to be solidly Democratic, is now pretty unshakably Republican.

Most historians will tell you that this has
largely to do with race, and the Democrats' support of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and 1965
Voting Rights Act, and we don't have time to go into just how true that is. What we
can say is that for whatever reason, the Republican party now draws a lot of support from White,
middle, and lower-middle class voters, especially in the South and Midwest, and that these were
groups that used to vote for Democrats. A major part of this realignment is white
working class men who generally used to be reliable union democrats, but are now just
as likely to vote republican. The democrats have maintained their support among liberal
intellectuals, members of minority groups, and to a lesser degree women, but their coalition
is much less powerful than it used to be.

We could say a lot more about political parties
in America and how they might be changing as we speak, but as I promised this episode
has been about history and how we got to where we are. If you're going to take away anything,
it should be that political parties change over time both in terms of their policies
and the groups that support them. And that it's often historical contingencies that cause
these shifts. And although we pretty much always had a two party system, third parties
are still valuable even though they never win because they help frame issues and move
the terms of political debate and even of policy. It's like me. I've never won an internet
award, but I made up the word "Doobly-doo," so… Thanks for watching, see you next time.

Course Government and Politics is produced in association with PBS Digital Studios. Support
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Phil. Thanks for watching!.

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