The American party system has been under attack almost continuously since it took definite form in the time of Andrew Jackson. The criticism has always been directed at the same point: America's political pluralism, the distinctively American organization of government by compromise of interests, pressure groups, and sections. And the aim of the critics, from Thaddeus Stevens to Henry Wallace, has always been to substitute for this "unprincipled" pluralism a government based, as in Europe, on "ideologies" and "principles." But never before—at least not since the Civil War years—has the crisis been as acute as in this last decade; for the political problems which dominate our national life today—foreign policy and industrial policy—are precisely the problems which interest and pressure-group compromise is least equipped to handle. And while the crisis symptoms—a left-wing third party and the threatened split-off of the southern wing—are more alarming in the Democratic party, the Republicans are hardly much better off. The 1940 boom for the "idealist" Willkie and the continued inability to attract a substantial portion of the labor vote are definite signs that the Republican party, too, is under severe ideological pressure.