Miller Center

Polarization in Historical Perspective

There is a growing sense today that the American political system is inadequate to the task of addressing the major challenges facing the nation, both foreign and domestic. A growing ideological gap between the political parties – partisan polarization, abetted by the rise of highly ideological interest groups and a balkanized mass media – is routinely cited as a primary cause of the nation’s ills.

Yet, despite considerable interest in the causes and consequences of partisan polarization, we know very little about how these developments relate to previous episodes of partisan rancor in American history; how they resonate beyond the Washington beltway; and how they are likely to affect important constituencies, such as Hispanic voters, who are likely to have a profound influence on future party alignments.

This themed colloquia series, organized by the Miller Center's SIDNEY MILKIS, will probe these questions and shed important light on the difficult yet indispensible connection between partisanship and American democracy.

4/25/2014 Polarization in Historical Perspective - Polarization in Historical Perspective
William A. Galston, William Kristol

3/20/2014 The Breakdown of Representation in American Politics: A Synopsis - Polarization in Historical Perspective
Morris P. Fiorina

2/28/2014 Latino Conservatives: Right Wing Aesthetics and Representative Claims - Polarization in Historical Perspective
Cristina Beltran