It’s Friday night. As you enter your friend’s house party, you look around. It’s fantastic, as usual. The place is packed, full of both unfamiliar and familiar faces. You see your host and smile, telling him how great everything looks. He’s probably the best party-thrower you know. Because of that, he’s really popular. Also, his girlfriend is hot and his dad works for the Giants, but you know, whatever.
But his reign as Host with the Most has gone on for too long.
Too. Damn. Long.
With the right event, you could show everyone. You could dethrone that tyrant. But how? I’m glad you asked. Well, any one of these party themes based on defunct political parties guarantee you’ll shoot to the top of the social ladder.
1. Federalist Party (1789-1828)
Pull out that salted cod you’ve been saving for a special occasion. It was one of the largest exports of New England, the hub of Federalist support during the early republic.
Buy one of those censorship bleepers. During John Adams’s presidency, congress passed the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. With these new laws, it reserved the right to censor the media and prosecute those who spoke against the president or the government. Stand close by your friends who throw a lot of f-bombs, and go crazy.
Explicitly forbid the presence of anything French. The Federalists were incredibly wary of supporting France, partly because of the French Revolution, but also because of something called the XYZ Affair–when four French dudes tried to extort US envoys in exchange for ending the mini war that was going on between the two countries. I like to imagine them smoking cigarettes and leaning against a brick wall while they did it.
Provide ruffled cravats for all your guests. They’re classy!
2. Whig Party (1834-1852)
Diversity is key. The Whigs came from all over the US and had widely varied beliefs (it’s actually main reason that the party dissolved–when the slavery issue starting becoming too big for politicians to ignore, the North-South fracture of the group really started to show). To create a similar environment at your shindig, make the Facebook event public and just see who shows up.
But they all must hate the same person. The only thing every Whig had in common with each other was that they hated Andrew Jackson. They hated his crusade against the national bank, they hated what they saw as his abuse of the executive role…They just hated him. So much. As a matter of fact, the reason today’s democrats have the donkey as their symbol is that Jackson’s opponents so often referred to him as a jackass. For your party, choose someone who has amassed a similarly vast army of opponents. You can start with Hitler, Trump, or Kylie Jenner.
Tax any food or drink that your friends bring. Whigs were generally protectionists, which means that they supported higher taxes on imported goods (tariffs) in order to support domestic business. Um, excuse me, but that’ll be a $25 corking fee for your vodka-filled Evian bottle. You’re not fooling anyone.
3. Know-Nothing Party (1849-1860)
First rule of Know-Nothing party-party: You DO NOT talk about Know-Nothing party-party. Officially called the American Party, the Know-Nothings got their nickname because they originated from a secret order (of racists). Whenever an outsider asked about the group’s platform, the members were required to respond with “I know nothing.” So don’t answer anyone’s questions, even if it’s “Where’s the bathroom?” Also, invest in a smoke machine.
Join/create an old-timey gang. William “Billy the Butcher” Poole was one of the most prominent leaders of the American Party. He was also the head of the Bowery Boys gang in New York. He was an actual butcher, and probably an actual murderer. To add some of that edge to your party, create your own gang and showcase it at your party. But everyone has to have handlebar mustaches and ride those bicycles with giant front wheels.
Erect a shrine to Steve Bannon in your living room. The Know-Nothings are often referred to as the first nativist party in the United States. They held a particular distaste for the growing number of Germans and Irish Catholics immigrants, but you can choose whichever group pisses you off the most. I would choose the Swedish, because honestly, I’m upset that one country has such a high concentration of beautiful people. I don’t like it, and I don’t trust it.
4. The People’s Party (1891-1908)
Find a farm. The People’s Party, also known as the Populist Party, was composed mainly of cotton farmers in the South and wheat farmers in the plains states. Both were under economic stress at the time, partly due to the greed of railroad companies who shafted them on hauling prices and whose questionable investing policies led to at least two economic panics in the 1800s. To emulate this aspect, you should hold your party at an old farm. The more rundown and decrepit, the better. Pinterest is going to be a vital resource.
NO. GOLD. Another reason that American farmers in the second half of the 19th century were so impoverished was the devaluation of silver as a part of US currency. After the Civil War, a LOT of people were in debt, agrarians especially. Making silver a part of the national currency, however, would help them to be able to afford the payments by inflating the value of the dollar. Thus their slogan, “Free Silver.” If the gold standard was implemented, deflation would occur and throw the farmers even further into insolvency. So, make sure none of that damn satan metal makes its way into your event. I would also recommend one of those guys who paints himself in silver and moves when people aren’t looking.
When it looks like things are dying down, just crash someone else’s party as one huge group. The People’s Party dissolved in 1908, but its status as a de facto party was over long before that. By 1896, most populists had migrated to the Democratic party in support of William Jennings Bryan. Plan your party on a night when you know someone else is throwing one, too. That way you’ll know exactly where to lead your drunken masses at 3:00 AM on a Sunday.
5. The Prohibition Party (1869-present)
Nix the party and go to Bible study instead. Same fun, twice the Jesus.