Collecting Third Party Items

Early in the history of our republic, political parties were fluid and often short lived. Since the Civil War, we have had two very stable political parties though they have switched philosophies as to the balance of the power of the federal government versus state’s rights. Throughout our history there have been alternate parties and movements. Some third parties have focused on a single issue such as the Prohibition Party, others have focused a change to the entire focus of our government ie. Socialist Labor Party or the Communist Party and others formed as a coalition around a popular individual such as the Progressive Party in 1912 around Teddy Roosevelt. In general, third parties earn but a small fraction of the popular vote and only 5 times since 1896 have they earned votes in the electoral college. They have on a number of occasions siphoned enough votes from one of the major party candidates to alter the election result; this was seen recently when Ross Perot garnered enough votes to shift the 1992 election to Bill Clinton. Given their limited support and resources, third party items tend to be scarce and early third party pins can be expensive.

 Eugene Debs 1900, 1904, 1908, 1912 and 1920                                                      

Robert Lafollette 1924


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