Amel Ahmed, Assistant Professor of Political Science, has received a research grant from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at UMass to explore the dynamics of 19th century party formation in the US.
Working with Census and qualitative data, Professor Ahmed seeks to explain the absence of a viable worker's party during the 19th century. "I argue that it was institutional changes early in the 19th century that were responsible for [the lack of such a party]," she says.
The grant will build off of Ahmed's previous research, which shows that the primary motivation behind the move to a single-member plurality system is often a need to safeguard established parties from the impact of democratization. The current project is part of a larger study examining the impact of institutional landscape on labor mobilization in the US, and it fills a key gap in our understanding of American political development. "Evidence of systematic class-based gerrymandering would suggest that the fate of workers’ parties in the United States was not as structurally determined as many of have argued, but rather an institutionally engineered outcome," she says. "Moreover, understanding the impact of institutional choice will shed important light on the dynamics of democratic consolidation during this critical period."
- Faculty News