This paper is a study of the political socialization of the young. It attempts to identify the important elements in socialization which help to account for the existence of the class of political sophisticates and actives known as ideologues. To a large extent, the continuity and stability of our political institutions depends upon these people, and thus it seems desirable to further our knowledge of how they are developed. Recent work on the political socialization of children has demonstrated that children differentiate themselves early in terms of their interest in or participation in politics. Thus it is maintained that a group of potential ideologues can be identified before children reach the age of 13 years. Since one of the characteristics of ideologues is independence of party, it is the development of such independence in children which is of particular interest here. This seems to be associated with upper socioeconomic status. Similarly, some children shift their attention from personalities to issues; these too form part of the cohort of potential ideologues. The main lines of political socialization seem now relatively clear. Somewhat less clear is the relationship between socialization and the development of ideologues, but reasonable hypotheses seem to be available, and await empirical test, probably in the form of a longitudinal study.
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