Political Ideologies and Political Parties in America, Hans Noel

Reviewed by Laurel Harbridge



“Ideology” and “party” are two of the most frequently used terms in discussions of American politics. However, the current political environment, in which liberals are Democrats and conservatives are Republicans, has made it easy to conflate these two terms. The measurement of ideology adds to the confusion, as standard measures such as NOMINATE capture ideology, party, constitu­ency interests, and any other factors that result in members voting with other groups of members. Hans Noel seeks to understand how ideological and partisan coalitions are distinct and how the liberal-conservative ideologies we recognize today came to align with the party coalitions. He emphasizes that parties need not be organized around ideologies, much less around the liberal-­conservative dimension. Parties care about winning office and can join togeth­er issues to create a winning coalition regardless of whether that coalition contains strange bedfellows. Ideologies, by contrast, are focused on principles and may reject possible allies who do not share key principles. Over the course of American history, political thinkers constructed the liberal-conservative ideological dimension, and parties collapsed around that ideological dimension.

This book builds on Frances E. Lee’s

To continue reading, see options above.

More by This Author

Why Washington Won’t Work, Marc J. Hetherington and Thomas J. Rudolph Reviewed by Laurel Harbridge

Congress: A Performance Appraisal, Andrew J. Taylor Reviewed by Laurel Harbridge

About PSQ's Editor


Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.


America at a Crossroads: The 2024 Presidential Election and Its Global Impact
April 24, 2024
8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ET
New York, NY


Editor’s spotlight

Virtual Issue

Introduction: Black Power and the Civil Rights Agendas of Charles V. Hamilton
Marylena Mantas and Robert Y. Shapiro


Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues

Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

New APS Book

China in a World of Great Power Competition   CHINA IN A WORLD OF GREAT POWER COMPETITION

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected

newsstand locator
About APS