Transatlantic dimensions of electoral strategy: Republican Party interpretations of UK politics, 1936–c. 1960

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Franklin Roosevelt’s landslide reelection victory of 1936 marked an electoral realignment which, in fashioning a powerful coalition for his Democratic Party, consigned the opposition Republican Party to minority status, where it would remain for a generation. In seeking to salvage party fortunes, leading Republicans looked across the Atlantic to learn lessons from the UK Conservative Party, which was much more successful than their own party in tackling the challenges of depression politics. Some identified the Conservatives’ reformulation of policy appeals as especially instructive; whereas, others emphasized the organizational innovations they encountered in British politics. Over time, it was the latter rather than the former perspective that characterized Republican understandings of why Conservatives regained electoral success. Debates within the Republican Party about electoral strategy determined this preference for the technical rather than the ideological lesson from British electoral politics. The focus on organizational capacity as an explanation for Republican problems, pioneered in the immediate aftermath of the 1936 defeat through observation of the Conservative Party, remained influential for many decades.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPostwar Conservatism, a Transnational Investigation
Subtitle of host publicationBritain, France, and the United States, 1930–1990
EditorsClarisse Berthezène, Jean-Christian Vinel
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9783319402710
ISBN (Print)9783319402703
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2017


  • welfare state
  • Democratic party
  • American politics
  • Republican party
  • Labour party

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