A very strange snake. Here's the full version
From Mapping the Nation comes this fascinating 19th-century "conspectus" chronicling roughly the first century of America's political upheaval.
This helps to drive the point that political groupings aren't just monolithic blocks home. "Democrat" meant something very different in 1884, but beyond that, a lot of different factions fell under a party's banner, often due to convenience or fragile ideological overlap.
The chart also chronicles the entry of activist groups into political parties, something that remains an under-explored theme in our popular story of politics. Protest movements have a long, complicated history with larger parties, alternatively condemning them and joining in to use them as a springboard for larger goals. The same debates over how to deal with established power continue, and more knowledge of how such knife fights played out in the past is always a good thing.
If there were something like this today (and I really wish there were), where would it place Occupy? Gov 2.0 advocates? Anonymous? The Tea Party? Food for thought.