Presenting a new synthesis of twentieth-century American political development, The President and the Parties is the first text to examine closely the association between the chief executive and the two-party system. Placing parties in a broad historical context and shedding light on their connection to other parts of the American political system, Sidney Milkis argues that, beginning with the New Deal, reforms intended to liberate the chief executive from the shackles of partisan politics only weakened an already fragile relationship, isolating presidents from what was once popular and institutional support from their parties. Written for political science students at all levels, this comprehensive analysis covers a broad range of issues and events, including FDR's 1938 "Purge" of the Democratic Party, The Executive Reorganization Act of 1939, the legacy of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society, and the triumph of executive centralization during the Reagan "Revolution." By providing a unique perspective on the elements of American government, Milkis offers new insights into the decline of the party system and the process that fashioned a stronger, more active national state, but one lacking in vital representative institutions capable of common deliberation and choice. Placing the issue in contemporary perspective, he warns of the challenges ahead for a nation struggling to repair its frayed connection between government and people.