Award-Winning OTHERS Series
Richardson's Seven-Volume History on Independent & Third-Party Politics in the U.S.
Others: Third-Party Politics from the Nation's Founding to the Rise & Fall of the Greenback-Labor Party (2004): This lively and lucidly written history examines the crucial role third parties have played in shaping our nation's destiny, beginning with the Anti-Masonic Party in the 1820s and concluding with the spectacular rise and disappointing collapse of the Greenback-Labor movement in the mid-1880s — a short-lived entity that gave birth to the dramatic Populist movement of the following decade.
In this sweeping historical chronicle, a marvelous mix of history and biography, the author explains in vivid detail how two antebellum third-party movements — the Free Soil and Know-Nothing parties — provided the spark for the phoenix-like ascendancy of the antislavery Republican Party in the 1850s, culminating in Abraham Lincoln's election to the presidency in 1860.
This copiously rich and brisk narrative also describes how the Know-Nothing Party — the most powerful third-party movement in American history — was ultimately ripped asunder over the issue of slavery.
In the first of a riveting and powerful four-volume series on independent and third-party politics in U.S. history, Darcy Richardson also examines the remarkable and fascinating men and women who took part in those political movements outside the traditional "two-party system" and the extraordinary contributions they made in shaping the course of America's destiny.
Others: Third Parties During the Populist Period (2007): This engrossing narrative chronicles the period immediately following the collapse of the Greenback-Labor Party in the 1880s and the subsequent rise of Populism a few years later. Originating in the Midwest and the South as a political response to the increasingly painful economic distress of the nation's farmers, the Populist Party — the most powerful agrarian movement in American history — achieved major-party status in several states while electing governors in Colorado, Kansas, and South Dakota. In addition to winning nearly 400 state legislative races and holding five seats in the U.S. Senate, the Populists also captured twenty-two congressional seats during their high-water mark in 1896-the largest bloc of third-party congressmen since the Know-Nothing Party of the 1850s.
Culminating with the party's demise in 1908, this period of rapid and unprecedented industrialization in American society also included the founding of the Socialist Party, a young and virile organization led by labor leader Eugene V. Debs that quickly eclipsed the older Socialist Labor Party on the American Left, and witnessed the venerable Prohibitionists — the country's oldest minor party — briefly emerge as the leading third-party movement in the United States.
Others: Third Parties from Teddy Roosevelt's Bull Moose Party to the Decline of Socialism in America (2007): One of the most eventful and turbulent periods in American history, Richardson's latest volume in this series covers the period from the height of the Progressive Era, when Theodore Roosevelt, the wildly popular, bigger-than-life former President snorted and thundered against the country's two major parties while trying to reclaim the White House on his newly-formed Bull Moose Party.
The years immediately prior to World War I also witnessed a broad movement for socialism in the United States, a period when the Socialist Party, boasting more than 119,000 dues-paying members and a vibrant press consisting of 323 publications, claimed nearly 1,200 elected officeholders, including at least seventy-four mayors, during the party's high-water mark of 1911.
In addition to the extraordinary presidential campaign of 1912, in which Roosevelt and Socialist Eugene V. Debs combined for nearly five million votes — or a third of the national total — the third volume in Richardson's richly-detailed series on independent and third-party politics in the United States also includes a fascinating account of Florida's Sidney J. Catts, the only man in American history ever elected governor on the Prohibition ticket, and tells the largely-neglected story of how former Indiana Governor J. Frank Hanly and the Prohibition Party cost Charles Evans Hughes and the GOP the presidency in 1916.
Others: "Fighting Bob" La Follette and the Progressive Movement — Third-Party Politics in the 1920s (2008): The fourth volume in this series on independent and third-party politics in the United States focuses on the 1920s, a period when the American people, longing for a return to "normalcy," rejected the idealism and liberalism of Woodrow Wilson's administration and strongly embraced the conservatism of Warren G. Harding and his successors, Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover. In electing Harding in a landslide, the American people made it clear that they had little interest in continuing the great wave of progressive reform that helped shape politics and the role of government in the United States from the turn of the century until 1917, shortly after the U.S. entered World War I.
With the exception of Robert M. La Follette's momentous campaign for the White House in 1924 — a year when one out of every six voters supported the Wisconsin insurgent's independent candidacy — it was a rather bleak period for America's progressive forces and a particularly painful and lonely period for the country's minor parties. This detailed narrative concludes with the presidential election of 1928, a year when the dignified and urbane Norman M. Thomas, Eugene V. Debs' successor on the Socialist Party ticket, polled only a tiny fraction of the more than 919,000 votes cast for his imprisoned predecessor eight years earlier. Across the board, the results were calamitous for the country's nationally-organized third parties.
Others: Third Parties During the Great Depression (December, 2016): The fifth installment in a planned seven-volume series, this sweeping narrative chronicles the extraordinarily difficult years facing Americans following the stock market crash of 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression, a period marked by a renewed, if somewhat limited, interest in socialism and third-party politics.
For the country's minor parties, it was both the worst of times and the best of times. Coupled with the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment, the largely-eviscerated Prohibition Party — the nation's oldest minor party — began its steady decline during these turbulent years. Louisiana's Huey P. Long, the colorfully ambitious "Kingfish," planned to run for president on a populist "Share-Our-Wealth" third-party ticket in 1936, but was tragically silenced by an assassin's bullet. The short-lived Union Party, a creation of controversial radio priest Charles E. Coughlin, then emerged on the scene like a Category 5 hurricane, threatening to sweep away millions of FDR's New Deal supporters, only to peter out like an extremely mild tropical depression before Election Day.
The Socialist Party, on the other hand, made great strides during the Great Depression, symbolized by the remarkable 884,000-vote showing of the urbane and dignified Norman M. Thomas in the 1932 presidential election. The Communist Party USA, whose membership swelled from 18,000 at the beginning of the seemingly never-ending depression to more than 85,000 a decade later, also did remarkably well during this period, attracting a number of notable intellectuals, actors, musicians and graphic artists to its cause before falling victim to a hostile wave of anti-communism orchestrated by Cold War liberals, right-wing groups and government agencies in the 1940s.
In addition to the remarkably successful Progressive Party in Wisconsin — a vibrant statewide third-party movement spearheaded by Philip and Robert La Follette, Jr., sons of the late "Fighting Bob" — the Great Depression also saw the dramatic resurgence of the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party, the most successful statewide third-party in American history. Focusing almost exclusively on domestic issues while displacing the moribund Democratic Party as the chief rival to the entrenched Republicans in the Gopher State, the FLP flourished during this period, easily winning four straight gubernatorial elections while electing two U.S. Senators and winning no fewer than eighteen congressional contests between 1930 and 1942, shortly before the party merged with the Democrats.