I have recently started reading Darcy Richardson’s four-volume history of third-party and independent political candidates and movements throughout U.S. history, and I strongly recommend it for anyone with a deep interest in the subject (that is, probably anyone who is reading this right now). There are links to the Amazon pages for the books on the IPR home page, and the books can also be purchased directly through Richardson’s publisher, iUniverse.
I was particularly struck by the turmoil inside the anti-slavery Liberty Party in 1844, which seems to mirror the debate inside a similarly named party today. After a poor showing in 1840, party insiders began to seek an outside candidate with a bigger name who would run on a more moderate, less ideological platform. Unlike today’s similarly named party, the Liberty Party ultimately nominated the 1840 candidate, James Birney, who did considerably better in vote totals his second time around.
I was also amused by the short-lived “North American Hotel Party”, which was named after the place where it was founded. Following this precedent, “LP” could have meant “Living Room Party”.