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Caucus

party candidates policy century

Caucus, closed party meetings to decide on policy or select candidates for public office. The term, possibly derived from the Algonquian Kaw-Kaw-was (to talk), originated as the name of a political club in 18th-century Boston. From 1800 until 1824 presidential candidates were nominated by the 2-party caucuses in Congress. Although the national convention system replaced the Congressional nominating caucus, party caucuses are important forums for deciding legislative policy, and they fill party posts such as floor leader and whip. A special form of caucus is the meeting of local party members to nominate candidates for office or elect delegates to party conventions. In the late 19th century political “bosses” and their followers came to dominate these meetings, and primary elections were introduced in order to avoid such abuses in the nominating system.

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