Special Interest Groups in the United States

629 Words2 Pages
There are several structural factors that foster the growth, development, and power of special interest groups in the United States. Political structures, embedded in Constitutional Law, aid the development and support of interest groups. Mot notably, the First Amendment guarantees American citizens the right to organize and to participate in political organizations. Socially, the United States is extremely heterogeneous and diverse. With only two viable political parties, it would be impossible to represent the interests of all groups and especially minority interest groups. Formal interest groups offer the opportunity for citizens to participate in the political process, especially when their ideas or needs might otherwise be drowned out by the majority. Similarly, more elite or powerful concerns could silence opposition. Interest groups theoretically perpetuate the ideals of the democracy by giving a voice to every citizen who wishes to have one. Moreover, the political culture of the United States supports plurality as well as private interests. Individualism and other core aspects of American culture make interest groups especially important. In spite of the apparent benefits to interest groups in promoting and preserving democratic ideals, Madison pointed out one of the possible problems with political pluralism. The "evils of faction" can create a hostile political environment, in which differences are emphasized over common goals. There are two separate and
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