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Agendas and Instability in American Politics
Frank R. Baumgartner and Bryan D. Jones
University of Chicago Press, 1993
In this innovative account of the way policy issues rise and fall on the national agenda—the first detailed study of so many issues over an extended period—Frank R. Baumgartner and Bryan D. Jones show that rapid change not only can but does happen in the hidebound institutions of government.

Short-term, single-issue analyses of public policy, the authors contend, give a narrow and distorted view of public policy as the result of a cozy arrangement between politicians, interest groups, and the media. Baumgartner and Jones upset these notions by focusing on several issues—including civilian nuclear power, urban affairs, smoking, and auto safety—over a much longer period of time to reveal patterns of stability alternating with bursts of rapid, unpredictable change.

A welcome corrective to conventional political wisdom, Agendas and Instability revises our understanding of the dynamics of agenda-setting and clarifies a subject at the very center of the study of American politics.
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Agendas and Instability in American Politics, Second Edition
Frank R. Baumgartner and Bryan D. Jones
University of Chicago Press, 2009

When Agendas and Instability in American Politics appeared fifteen years ago, offering a profoundly original account of how policy issues rise and fall on the national agenda, the Journal of Politics predicted that it would “become a landmark study of public policy making and American politics.” That prediction proved true and, in this long-awaited second edition, Bryan Jones and Frank Baumgartner refine their influential argument and expand it to illuminate the workings of democracies beyond the United States.

The authors retain all the substance of their contention that short-term, single-issue analyses cast public policy too narrowly as the result of cozy and dependable arrangements among politicians, interest groups, and the media. Jones and Baumgartner provide a different interpretation by taking the long view of several issues—including nuclear energy, urban affairs, smoking, and auto safety—to demonstrate that bursts of rapid, unpredictable policy change punctuate the patterns of stability more frequently associated with government. Featuring a new introduction and two additional chapters, this updated edition ensures that their findings will remain a touchstone of policy studies for many years to come.

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American Politics
The Promise of Disharmony
Samuel P. Huntington
Harvard University Press, 1981

This stunningly persuasive book examines the persistent, radical gap between the promise of American ideals and the performance of American politics. Samuel P. Huntington shows how Americans, throughout their history as a nation, have been united by the democratic creed of liberty, equality, and hostility to authority. At the same time he reveals how, inevitably, these ideals have been perennially frustrated through the institutions and hierarchies required to carry on the essential functions of governing a democratic society.

From this antagonism between the ideals of democracy and the realities of power have risen four great political upheavals in American history. Every third generation, Huntington argues, Americans have tried to reconstruct their institutions to make them more truly reflect deeply rooted national ideals. Moving from the clenched fists and mass demonstrations of the 1960s, to the moral outrage of the Progressive and Jacksonian Eras, back to the creative ideological fervor of the American Revolution, he incisively analyzes the dissenters’ objectives. All, he pungently writes, sought to remove the fundamental disharmony between the reality of government in America and the ideals on which the American nation was founded.

Huntington predicts that the tension between ideals and institutions is likely to increase in this country in the future. And he reminds us that the fate of liberty and democracy abroad is intrinsically linked to the strength of our power in world affairs. This brilliant and controversial analysis deserves to rank alongside the works of Tocqueville, Bryce, and Hofstadter and will become a classic commentary on the meaning of America.

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Bombs in the Backyard
Atomic Testing and American Politics
A. Constandina Titus
University of Nevada Press, 2001
On January 27, 1951, the first atomic weapon was detonated over a section of desert known as Frenchman Flat in southern Nevada, providing dramatic evidence of the Nevada Test Site's beginnings. Fifty years later, author A. Costandina Titus reviews contemporary nuclear policy issues concerning the continued viability of that site for weapons testing. Titus has updated her now-classic study of atomic testing with fifteen years of political and cultural history, from the mid-1980s Reagan-Gorbachev nuclear standoff to the authorization of the Nevada Test Site Research Center, a Desert Research Institute facility scheduled to open in 2001. In this second edition of Bombs in the Backyard, Titus deftly covers the post-Cold War transformation of American atomic policy as well as our overarching cultural interest in all matters atomic, making this a must-read for anyone interested in atomic policy and politics.
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The Catholic Voter in American Politics
The Passing of the Democratic Monolith
William B. Prendergast
Georgetown University Press, 1999

Once a keystone of the Democratic Party, American Catholics are today helping to put Republicans in office. This book traces changes in party allegiance and voting behavior of Catholics in national elections over the course of 150 years and explains why much of the voting bloc that supported John F. Kennedy has deserted the Democratic coalition.

William B. Prendergast analyzes the relationship between Catholics and the GOP from the 1840s to 1990s. He documents a developing attachment of Catholics to Republican candidates beginning early in this century and shows that, before Kennedy, Catholics helped elect Eisenhower, returned to the polls in support of Nixon and Reagan, and voted for a Republican Congress in 1994.

To account for this shifting allegiance, Prendergast analyzes transformations in the Catholic population, the parties, and the political environment. He attributes these changes to the Americanization of immigrants, the socioeconomic and educational advancement of Catholics, and the emergence of new issues. He also cites the growth of ecumenicism, the influence of Vatican II, the abatement of Catholic-Protestant hostility, and the decline of anti-Catholicism in the Republican party.

Clearly demonstrating a Catholic move toward political independence, Prendergast's work reveals both the realignment of voters and the influence of religious beliefs in the political arena. Provocative and informative, it confirms the opinion of pollsters that no candidate can take the vote of the largest and most diverse religious group in the nation for granted.

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Catholics and American Politics
Mary T. Hanna
Harvard University Press, 1979

Despite the constitutional division of church and state, the impact of Catholics on American politics in the 1960s and 1970s has been remarkable--as the names of the Kennedys, Eugene McCarthy, Thomas "Tip" O'Neill, Peter Rodino, Thomas Eagleton, the Berrigan brothers, and Cesar Chavez will attest. In this portrait of American Catholicism, Mary Hanna intensely analyzes the political influence of this enormously complex organization. She focuses on the role of the Church in providing the means for an ethnic group to challenge and contribute to the values of the larger society.

Hanna recognizes that the Church is constantly striving to maintain a balance between changing social conditions and the principles of faith. In her analysis of the dynamics of this balance, she asks, for example, why the Church has had such influence on its members on the question of abortion, but has been somewhat less effective on questions relating to minority welfare. Interviews with working-class leaders in Catholic "ethnic" communities provide a new understanding of the complexities of Catholic feeling on these timely issues. Hanna's chapter on the subtleties of the abortion issue, as interpreted by church leaders, Catholic politicians, and the lay population, is a model of scholarship.

This study applies the methods of quantification, survey research, and interviewing to public policy, and yields unexpected results. For example, despite Catholics' stereotyped image as conservative and antiprogressive, Hanna shows that Catholic voters are very liberal on the subject of government's role in solving problems related to the general welfare-health care, the environment, education, crime, drug addiction. She also finds upward mobility in Catholics' education and especially their income. This work combines data from national surveys with personal interviews of clergymen and other Catholic public figures. Hanna's comprehensiveness, documentation, and innovation make this a searching analysis of contemporary American Catholicism.

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The Challenges to Democracy
Consensus and Extremism in American Politics
By Murray Clark Havens
University of Texas Press, 1965

Threats to American unity are not unique to modern times. In the 1960s, the assassination of President Kennedy, the tension of racial strife, the political extremes of the Radical Right with its John Birchers and the Radical Left with its threat of Communism all raised critically urgent questions relative to our national unity, to our political stability, and to our vaunted respect for the rule of law. The Challenges to Democracy is an assessment of the foundations of political unity in the United States.

The American consensus, as Murray Clark Havens defines it, emphasizes a set of values and procedures that most Americans, since the adoption of the Constitution, have accepted in principle: religious tolerance, individual freedom in intellectual and cultural matters, the importance of education and intellectual effort, settlement of internal conflict through peaceful and political processes, the supremacy of law, a high and generally rising standard of living, and, since the Civil War, racial compatibility.

Never in our history have the ideals of this consensus been fully achieved, but as long as the majority of our citizens accept the validity of those ideals and the democratic procedures for realizing them, the basic American political unity is not threatened. However, when citizens who cannot accept the elements of the American consensus become influential enough to block the democratic process, then that consensus is threatened.

Havens shows how such threats have come to us all through our history—the Civil War, racial and religious bigotry, the Ku Klux Klan, Huey Long, Father Coughlin and other extremists of the desperate thirties, McCarthyism. He discusses contemporary dangers to American unity such as those connected with the acceptance of the African American, religious friction in politics and government, the Radical Right and the Radical Left, and our foreign policy as an expression of the American consensus.

The broad conclusions of this study are that our national unity is continuously in jeopardy, with frequent recurrences of serious questions as to the permanence of some of the patterns we have always associated with American government, but that our democracy is possessed of considerable potential for survival because of our deep national commitment to democracy and because of our even deeper nationalism.

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The Christian Right in American Politics
Marching to the Millennium
John C. Green, Mark J. Rozell, and Clyde Wilcox, Editors
Georgetown University Press, 2003

From the first rumblings of the Moral Majority over twenty years ago, the Christian Right has been marshalling its forces and maneuvering its troops in an effort to re-shape the landscape of American politics. It has fascinated social scientists and journalists as the first right-wing social movement in postwar America to achieve significant political and popular support, and it has repeatedly defied those who would step up to write its obituary. In 2000, while many touted the demise of the Christian Coalition, the broader undercurrents of the movement were instrumental in helping George W. Bush win the GOP nomination and the White House. Bush repaid that swell of support by choosing Senator John Ashcroft, once the movement's favored presidential candidate, as attorney general.

The Christian Right in American Politics, under the direction of three of the nation's leading scholars in the field of religion and politics, recognizing the movement as a force still to be reckoned with, undertakes the important task of making an historical analysis of the Christian Right in state politics during its heyday, 1980 to the millennium. Its twelve chapters, written by outstanding scholars, review the impact and influence of the Christian Right in those states where it has had its most significant presence: South Carolina, Virginia, Texas, Florida, Michigan, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Colorado, California, Maine, and Oregon and Washington.

Since 1980, scholars have learned a good deal about the social characteristics, religious doctrine, and political beliefs of activists in and supporters of the Christian Right in these states, and each contribution is based on rigorous, dispassionate scholarship. The writers explore the gains and losses of the movement as it attempts to re-shape political landscapes. More precisely, they provide in-depth descriptions of the resources, organizations, and the group ecologies in which the Christian Right operates-the distinct elements that drove the movement forward.

As the editors state, "the Christian Right has been engaged in a long and torturous 'march toward the millennium,' from outsider status into the thick of American politics." Those formative years, 1980-2000, are essential for any understanding of this uniquely American social movement. This rigorous analysis over many states and many elections provides the clearest picture yet of the goals, tactics, and hopes of the Christian Right in America.

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The Contest over National Security
FDR, Conservatives, and the Struggle to Claim the Most Powerful Phrase in American Politics
Peter Roady
Harvard University Press, 2024

A new history shows how FDR developed a vision of national security focused not just on protecting Americans against physical attack but also on ensuring their economic well-being—and how the nascent conservative movement won the battle to narrow its meaning, durably reshaping US politics.

Americans take for granted that national security comprises physical defense against attacks. But the concept of national security once meant something more. Franklin Roosevelt’s vision for national security, Peter Roady argues, promised an alternate path for the United States by devoting as much attention to economic want as to foreign threats. The Contest over National Security shows how a burgeoning conservative movement and power-hungry foreign policy establishment together defeated FDR’s plans for a comprehensive national security state and inaugurated the narrower approach to national security that has dominated ever since.

In the 1930s, Roosevelt and his advisors, hoping to save the United States from fascism and communism, argued that national security entailed protection from both physical attack and economic want. Roosevelt’s opponents responded by promoting a more limited national security state privileging military defense over domestic economic policy. Conservatives brought numerous concerns to bear through an enormous public relations offensive, asserting not just that Roosevelt’s plans threatened individual freedom but also that the government was less competent than the private sector and incapable of delivering economic security.

This contest to define the government’s national security responsibilities in law and in the public mind, Roady reveals, explains why the United States developed separate and imbalanced national security and welfare states, with far-reaching consequences. By recovering FDR’s forgotten vision, Roady restores a more expansive understanding of national security’s meanings as Americans today face the great challenges of their times.

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The Farrakhan Phenomenon
Race, Reaction, and the Paranoid Style in American Politics
Robert Singh
Georgetown University Press, 1997

In this penetrating critical analysis of Louis Farrakhan's ascent to national influence, Robert Singh argues that the minister's rise to prominence is a function of race and reaction in contemporary America. Singh probes the origins and significance of Farrakhan in American politics.

Drawing on published and unpublished records, personal interviews, and Farrakhan's writings and speeches, Singh places Farrakhan expressly within the "paranoid style" of such reactionaries as Jesse Helms and Joseph McCarthy. Examining Farrakhan's biographical details, religious beliefs, political strategies, and relative influence, Singh argues that Farrakhan is an extreme conservative who exploits both black-white divisions and conflicts within the black community for personal advancement.

Singh proposes that Farrakhan's complex appeal to African-Americans is based on his ability to orchestrate the diffuse forces of African-American protest against the status quo. Paradoxically, says Singh, Farrakhan has achieved his position in part by positioning himself against most African-American political leaders, a tactic made possible by the extent to which black American politics now displays the same basic features as American politics in general. By stoking the fires of fear and hatred yet effecting no real changes, Farrakhan poses a greater threat to black Americans than to whites.

The Farrakhan Phenomenon is written in a clear, accessible style that will appeal to general readers concerned about race relations as well as to scholars of American history and politics. It reveals a shrewd opportunist who has capitalized on America's continuing failure to deal with its serious and abiding race problems.

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Fenced Off
The Suburbanization of American Politics
Juliet F. Gainsborough
Georgetown University Press, 2001

Since the 1980s a distinctive suburban politics has emerged in the United States, Juliet F. Gainsborough argues in Fenced Off . As suburbs have become less economically and socially dependent on the central cities, suburban and urban dwellers have diverged not only in their voting patterns but also in their thinking about national politics. While political reporters have long noted this difference, few quantitative studies have been conducted on suburbanization alone—above and beyond race or class—as a political trend.

Using census and public opinion statistics, along with data on congressional districts and party platforms, Gainsborough demonstrates that this "ideology of localism" weakens when suburbs experience city-like problems and strengthens when racial and economic differences with the nearby city increase. In addition, Gainsborough uses national survey data from the 1950s to the 1990s to show that a separate suburban politics has arisen only during the last two decades.

Further, she argues, the political differences between urban and suburban voters have found expression in changes in congressional representation and new electoral strategies for the major political parties. As Congressional districts become increasingly suburban, "soccer moms" and liveability agendas come to dominate party platforms, and the needs of the urban poor disappear from political debate. Fenced Off uses the tools of political science to prove what political commentators have sensed—that the suburbs offer a powerful voting bloc that is being courted with sophisticated new strategies.

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The Genius of American Politics
Daniel J. Boorstin
University of Chicago Press, 1958
How much of our political tradition can be absorbed and used by other peoples? Daniel Boorstin's answer to this question has been chosen by the Carnegie Corporation of New York for representation in American Panorama as one of the 350 books, old and new, most descriptive of life in the United States. He describes the uniqueness of American thought and explains, after a close look at the American past, why we have not produced and are not likely to produce grand political theories or successful propaganda. He also suggests what our attitudes must be toward ourselves and other countries if we are to preserve our institutions and help others to improve theirs.

". . . a fresh and, on the whole, valid interpretation of American political life."—Reinhold Niebuhr, New Leader
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The Great Migration and the Democratic Party
Black Voters and the Realignment of American Politics in the 20th Century
Keneshia N. Grant
Temple University Press, 2020

Where Black people live has long been an important determinant of their ability to participate in political processes. The Great Migration significantly changed the way Democratic Party elites interacted with Black communities in northern cities, Detroit, New York, and Chicago. Many white Democratic politicians came to believe the growing pool of Black voters could help them reach their electoral goals—and these politicians often changed their campaign strategies and positions to secure Black support. Furthermore, Black migrants were able to participate in politics because there were fewer barriers to Black political participations outside the South.

The Great Migration and the Democratic Party frames the Great Migration as an important economic and social event that also had serious political consequences. Keneshia Grant created one of the first listings of Black elected officials that classifies them based on their status as participants in the Great Migration. She also describes some of the policy/political concerns of the migrants. The Great Migration and the Democratic Party lays the groundwork for ways of thinking about the contemporary impact of Black migration on American politics.

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High Priests Of American Politics
The Role Of Lawyers In American Political Institutions
Mark C. Miller
University of Tennessee Press, 1995
Using a multidisciplinary approach, Mark C. Miller draws in large part on interviews he conducted with members of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Ohio legislature, and the Massachusetts legislature. From this rich data, he shows how American lawyers are socialized into a common legal ideology, which in turn shapes the behavior of individual lawyer-politicians, legislative committees dominated by lawyers, and the entire legislative institutions of government.
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Hollywood Goes to Washington
American Politics on Screen
Michael Coyne
Reaktion Books, 2008
Fantasy and politics are familiar dancing partners that rarely separate, even in the face of post–Election Day realities. But Hollywood has a tradition of punching holes in the fairy tales of electoral promises with films that meditate on what could have been and should have been. With Hollywood Goes to Washington,Michael Coyne investigates how the American political film unravels the labyrinthine entanglements of politics and the psyche of the American electorate in order to reveal brutal truths about the state of our democracy.

            From conspiracy dramas such as The Manchurian Candidate to satires like Wag the DogHollywood Goes to Washington argues that political films in American cinema have long reflected the issues and tensions roiling within American society. Coyne elucidates the mythology, iconography, and ideology embedded in both classic and lesser-known films—including Gabriel Over the White House, Silver City, Advise and Consent, and The Siege—and examines the cinematic portrayals of presidents in the White House, the everyman American citizen, and the nebulous enemies who threaten American democracy. The author provocatively contends that whether addressing the threat of domestic fascism in Citizen Kane or the disillusionment of Vietnam and paranoia of the post-Watergate era in Executive Action, the American political film stands as an important cultural bellwether and democratic force—one that is more vital than ever in the face of decreasing civil liberties in the present-day United States.

            Compelling and wholly original, Hollywood Goes to Washington exposes the political power of the silver screen and its ramifications for contemporary American culture.
 
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Hope and Scorn
Eggheads, Experts, and Elites in American Politics
Michael J. Brown
University of Chicago Press, 2020

Intellectuals “have been both rallying points and railed against in American politics, vessels of hope and targets of scorn,” writes Michael J. Brown as he invigorates a recurrent debate in American life: Are intellectual public figures essential voices of knowledge and wisdom, or out-of-touch elites? Hope and Scorn investigates the role of high-profile experts and thinkers in American life and their ever-fluctuating relationship with the political and public spheres.

From Eisenhower’s era to Obama’s, the intellectual’s role in modern democracy has been up for debate. What makes an intellectual, and who can claim that privileged title? What are intellectuals’ obligations to society, and how, if at all, are their contributions compatible with democracy? For some, intellectuals were models of civic engagement. For others, the rise of the intellectual signaled the fall of the citizen. Carrying us through six key moments in this debate, Brown expertly untangles the shifting anxieties and aspirations for democracy in America in the second half of the twentieth century and beyond. Hope and Scorn begins with “egghead” politicians like Adlai Stevenson; profiles scholars like Richard Hofstadter and scholars-turned-politicians like H. Stuart Hughes; and ends with the rise of public intellectuals such as bell hooks and Cornel West. In clear and unburdened prose, Brown explicates issues of power, authority, political backlash, and more. Hope and Scorn is an essential guide to American concerns about intellectuals, their myriad shortcomings, and their formidable abilities.

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How the Tea Party Captured the GOP
Insurgent Factions in American Politics
Rachel M. Blum
University of Chicago Press, 2020
The rise of the Tea Party redefined both the Republican Party and how we think about intraparty conflict. What initially appeared to be an anti-Obama protest movement of fiscal conservatives matured into a faction that sought to increase its influence in the Republican Party by any means necessary. Tea Partiers captured the party’s organizational machinery and used it to replace established politicians with Tea Party–style Republicans, eventually laying the groundwork for the nomination and election of a candidate like Donald Trump.

In How the Tea Party Captured the GOP, Rachel Marie Blum approaches the Tea Party from the angle of party politics, explaining the Tea Party’s insurgent strategies as those of a party faction. Blum offers a novel theory of factions as miniature parties within parties, discussing how fringe groups can use factions to increase their political influence in the US two-party system. In this richly researched book, the author uncovers how the electoral losses of 2008 sparked disgruntled Republicans to form the Tea Party faction, and the strategies the Tea Party used to wage a systematic takeover of the Republican Party. This book not only illuminates how the Tea Party achieved its influence, but also provides a framework for identifying other factional insurgencies.
 
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Institutional Change in American Politics
The Case of Term Limits
Edited by Karl T. Kurtz, Bruce Cain, and Richard G. Niemi
University of Michigan Press, 2009

Legislative term limits adopted in the 1990s are in effect in fifteen states today. This reform is arguably the most significant institutional change in American government of recent decades. Most of the legislatures in these fifteen states have experienced a complete turnover of their membership; hundreds of experienced lawmakers have become ineligible for reelection, and their replacements must learn and perform their jobs in as few as six years.

Now that term limits have been in effect long enough for both their electoral and institutional effects to become apparent, their consequences can be gauged fully and with the benefit of hindsight. In the most comprehensive study of the subject, editors Kurtz, Cain, and Niemi and a team of experts offer their broad evaluation of the effects term limits have had on the national political landscape.

"The contributors to this excellent and comprehensive volume on legislative term limits come neither to praise the idea nor to bury it, but rather to speak dispassionately about its observed consequences. What they find is neither the horror story of inept legislators completely captive to strong governors and interest groups anticipated by the harshest critics, nor the idyll of renewed citizen democracy hypothesized by its more extreme advocates. Rather, effects have varied across states, mattering most in the states that were already most professionalized, but with countervailing factors mitigating against extreme consequences, such as a flight of former lower chamber members to the upper chamber that enhances legislative continuity. This book is must reading for anyone who wants to understand what happens to major institutional reforms after the dust has settled."
---Bernard Grofman, Professor of Political Science and Adjunct Professor of Economics, School of Social Sciences, University of California, Irvine

"A decade has passed since the first state legislators were term limited. The contributors to this volume, all well-regarded scholars, take full advantage of the distance afforded by this passage of time to explore new survey data on the institutional effects of term limits. Their book is the first major volume to exploit this superb opportunity."
---Peverill Squire, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Iowa

Karl T. Kurtz is Director of the Trust for Representative Democracy at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Bruce Cain is Heller Professor of Political Science and Director of the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, and the Director of the University of California Washington Center.

Richard G. Niemi is Don Alonzo Watson Professor of Political Science at the University of Rochester.

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Interests and Institutions
Substance and Structure in American Politics
Robert H. Salisbury
University of Pittsburgh Press, 1992

Interest and Institutions is a collection of essays written by distinguished political scientist Robert Salsibury, a leading analyst of interest group politics. He offers his theories on the workings and influence of groups, organizations, and individuals in many different areas of American politics.

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The Internal Colony
Race and the American Politics of Global Decolonization
Sam Klug
University of Chicago Press
An explication of how global decolonization provoked profound changes in American political theory and practice.
 
In The Internal Colony, Sam Klug reveals the central but underappreciated importance of global decolonization to the divergence between mainstream liberalism and the Black freedom movement in postwar America. Klug reconsiders what has long been seen as a matter of primarily domestic policy in light of a series of debates concerning self-determination, postcolonial economic development, and the meanings of colonialism and decolonization. These debates deeply influenced the discord between Black activists and state policymakers and formed a crucial dividing line in national politics in the 1960s and 1970s.

The result is a history that broadens our understanding of ideological formation—particularly how Americans conceptualized racial power and political economy—by revealing a much wider and more dynamic network of influences. Linking intellectual, political, and social movement history, The Internal Colony illuminates how global decolonization transformed the terms of debate over race and social class in the twentieth-century United States.
 
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Legacies of Losing in American Politics
Jeffrey K. Tulis and Nicole Mellow
University of Chicago Press, 2017
American politics is typically a story about winners. The fading away of defeated politicians and political movements is a feature of American politics that ensures political stability and a peaceful transition of power. But American history has also been built on defeated candidates, failed presidents, and social movements that at pivotal moments did not dissipate as expected but instead persisted and eventually achieved success for the loser’s ideas and preferred policies.
           
With Legacies of Losing in American Politics, Jeffrey K. Tulis and Nicole Mellow rethink three pivotal moments in American political history: the founding, when anti-Federalists failed to stop the ratification of the Constitution; the aftermath of the Civil War, when President Andrew Johnson’s plan for restoring the South to the Union was defeated; and the 1964 presidential campaign, when Barry Goldwater’s challenge to the New Deal order was soundly defeated by Lyndon B. Johnson. In each of these cases, the very mechanisms that caused the initial failures facilitated their eventual success. After the dust of the immediate political defeat settled, these seemingly discredited ideas and programs disrupted political convention by prevailing, often subverting, and occasionally enhancing constitutional fidelity. Tulis and Mellow present a nuanced story of winning and losing and offer a new understanding of American political development as the interweaving of opposing ideas.
 
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Liberty Power
Antislavery Third Parties and the Transformation of American Politics
Corey M. Brooks
University of Chicago Press, 2015
Abraham Lincoln’s Republican Party was the first party built on opposition to slavery to win on the national stage—but its victory was rooted in the earlier efforts of under-appreciated antislavery third parties. Liberty Power tells the story of how abolitionist activists built the most transformative third-party movement in American history and effectively reshaped political structures in the decades leading up to the Civil War.

As Corey M. Brooks explains, abolitionist trailblazers who organized first the Liberty Party and later the more moderate Free Soil Party confronted formidable opposition from a two-party system expressly constructed to suppress disputes over slavery. Identifying the Whigs and Democrats as the mainstays of the southern Slave Power’s national supremacy, savvy abolitionists insisted that only a party independent of slaveholder influence could wrest the federal government from its grip. A series of shrewd electoral, lobbying, and legislative tactics enabled these antislavery third parties to wield influence far beyond their numbers. In the process, these parties transformed the national political debate and laid the groundwork for the success of the Republican Party and the end of American slavery.
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The Lost Soul of American Politics
Virtue, Self-Interest, and the Foundations of Liberalism
John Patrick Diggins
University of Chicago Press, 1986
The Lost Soul of American Politics is a provocative new interpretation of American political thought from the Founding Fathers to the Neo-Conservatives. Reassessing the motives and intentions of such great political thinkers as Madison, Thoreau, Lincoln, and Emerson, John P. Diggins shows how these men struggled to create an alliance between the politics of self-interest and a religious sense of moral responsibility—a tension that still troubles us today.
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Millennial Makeover
MySpace, YouTube, and the Future of American Politics
Winograd, Morley
Rutgers University Press, 2008

A 2008 New York Times Notable Book of the Year

It happens in America every four decades and it is about to happen again. America’s demand for change in the 2008 election will cause another of our country’s periodic political makeovers. This realignment, like all others before it, will result from the coming of age of a new generation of young Americans—the Millennial Generation—and the full emergence of the Internet-based communications technology that this generation uses so well. Beginning in 2008, almost everything about American politics and government will transform—voting patterns, the fortunes of the two political parties, the issues that engage the nation, and our government and its public policy.

Building on the seminal work of previous generational theorists,Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais demonstrate and describe, for the first time, the two types of realignments—“idealist” and “civic”—that have alternated with one another throughout the nation’s history.  Based on these patterns, Winograd and Hais predict that the next realignment will be very different from the last one that occurred in 1968. “Idealist” realignments, like the one put into motion forty years ago by the Baby Boomer Generation, produce, among other things, a political emphasis on divisive social issues and governmental gridlock. “Civic” realignments, like the one that is coming, and the one produced by the famous GI or “Greatest” Generation in the 1930s, by contrast, tend to produce societal unity, increased attention to and successful resolution of basic economic and foreign policy issues, and institution-building.

The authors detail the contours and causes of the country’s five previous political makeovers, before delving deeply into the generational and technological trends that will shape the next.  The book’s final section forecasts the impact of the Millennial Makeover on the elections, issues, and public policies that will characterize America’s politics in the decades ahead.

For additional information go to:

Millennial Makeover website.

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Millennial Makeover
MySpace, YouTube, and the Future of American Politics
Winograd, Morley
Rutgers University Press, 2008

A 2008 New York Times Notable Book of the Year

It happens in America every four decades and it is about to happen again. America’s demand for change in the 2008 election will cause another of our country’s periodic political makeovers. This realignment, like all others before it, will result from the coming of age of a new generation of young Americans—the Millennial Generation—and the full emergence of the Internet-based communications technology that this generation uses so well. Beginning in 2008, almost everything about American politics and government will transform—voting patterns, the fortunes of the two political parties, the issues that engage the nation, and our government and its public policy.

Building on the seminal work of previous generational theorists,Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais demonstrate and describe, for the first time, the two types of realignments—“idealist” and “civic”—that have alternated with one another throughout the nation’s history.  Based on these patterns, Winograd and Hais predict that the next realignment will be very different from the last one that occurred in 1968. “Idealist” realignments, like the one put into motion forty years ago by the Baby Boomer Generation, produce, among other things, a political emphasis on divisive social issues and governmental gridlock. “Civic” realignments, like the one that is coming, and the one produced by the famous GI or “Greatest” Generation in the 1930s, by contrast, tend to produce societal unity, increased attention to and successful resolution of basic economic and foreign policy issues, and institution-building.

The authors detail the contours and causes of the country’s five previous political makeovers, before delving deeply into the generational and technological trends that will shape the next.  The book’s final section forecasts the impact of the Millennial Makeover on the elections, issues, and public policies that will characterize America’s politics in the decades ahead.

For additional information go to:

Millennial Makeover website.

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Nature's Burdens
Conservation and American Politics, The Reagan Era to the Present
Daniel Nelson
Utah State University Press, 2017

Nature’s Burdens is a political and intellectual history of American natural resource conservation from the 1980s into the twenty-first century—a period of intense political turmoil, shifting priorities among federal policymakers, and changing ideas about the goals of conservation. Telling a story of persistent activism, conflict, and frustration but also of striking achievement, it is an account of how new ideas and policies regarding human relationships to plants, animals, and their surroundings have become vital features of modern environmentalism.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Congress embraced the largely dormant movement to preserve distinctive landscapes and the growing demand for outdoor recreation, establishing an unprecedented number of parks, monuments, and recreation areas. The election of Ronald Reagan and a shift to a Republican-controlled Senate brought this activity to an abrupt halt and introduced a period of intense partisanship and legislative gridlock that extends to the present. In this political climate, three developments largely defined the role of conservation in contemporary society: environmental organizations have struggled to defend the legal status quo, private land conservation has become increasingly important, and the emergence of potent scientific voices has promoted the protection of animals and plants and injected a new sense of urgency into the larger cause.

These developments mark this period as a distinctive and important chapter in the history of American conservation. Scrupulously researched, scientifically and politically well informed, concise, and accessibly written, Nature’s Burdens is the most comprehensive examination of recent efforts to protect and enhance the natural world. It will be of interest to environmental historians, environmental activists, and any general reader interested in conservation.

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The Paranoid Style in American Politics
And Other Essays
Richard Hofstadter
Harvard University Press, 1996

"The distinguishing thing about the paranoid style is not that its exponents see conspiracies or plots here and there in history, but that they regard a 'vast' or 'gigantic' conspiracy as the motive force in historical events...The paranoid spokesman sees the fate of this conspiracy in apocalyptic terms--he traffics in the birth and death of whole worlds, whole political orders, whole systems of human values. He is always manning the barricades of civilization."
--From the book

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Partisan Nation
The Dangerous New Logic of American Politics in a Nationalized Era
Paul Pierson and Eric Schickler
University of Chicago Press

A provocative exploration of how America’s democratic crisis is rooted in a dangerous mismatch between our Constitution and today’s nationalized, partisan politics.

The ground beneath American political institutions has moved, with national politics subsuming and transforming the local. As a result, American democracy is in trouble.

In this paradigm-shifting book, political scientists Paul Pierson and Eric Schickler bring a sharp new perspective to today’s challenges. Attentive to the different coalitions, interests, and incentives that define the Democratic and Republican parties, they show how contemporary polarization emerged in a rapidly nationalizing country and how it differs from polarization in past eras. In earlier periods, three key features of the political landscape—state parties, interest groups, and media—varied locally and reinforced the nation’s stark regional diversity. But this began to change in the 1960s as the two parties assumed clearer ideological identities and the power of the national government expanded, raising the stakes of conflict. Together with technological and economic change, these developments have reconfigured state parties, interest groups, and media in self-reinforcing ways. The result is that today’s polarization is self-perpetuating—and intensifying.

Partisan Nation offers a powerful caution. As a result of this polarization, America’s political system is distinctly and acutely vulnerable to an authoritarian movement emerging in the contemporary Republican Party, which has both the motive and the means to exploit America’s unusual Constitutional design. Combining the precision and acuity characteristic of their earlier work, Pierson and Schickler explain what these developments mean for American governance and democracy.

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Party Organizations in American Politics
Cornelius P. Cotter
University of Pittsburgh Press, 1989

Contradicting the conventional political wisdom of the 1970s, which said state political parties were dormant and verging upon extinction, this book reveals that state party organizations actually grew stronger in the 1960s and 1970s.


Reprinted with a new preface that covers changes in the 1980s in electoral politics, Party Organizations in American Politics encourages a reappraisal of scholarly treatment of party organization in political science.
 

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Patchwork Nation
Sectionalism and Political Change in American Politics
James G. Gimpel and Jason E. Schuknecht
University of Michigan Press, 2004
The unprecedented geographic and socioeconomic mobility of twentieth-century America was accompanied by a major reshuffling of political support in many parts of the country. Yet at the dawn of the new century these local and regional movements are still poorly understood. How can we account for persistent political regionalism and the sectional changes that have radically altered the nation's political landscape, from the Sun Belt to the Rust Belt? Patchwork Nation retrieves this lost knowledge, restoring geography to its central role in our nation's political behavior.


"A primer on the importance of regional identity in the electoral system. ... [A]nyone interested in learning more about how America's diversity drives its political systems would do well to take a spin through Patchwork Nation."
---Meg Kinnard, NationalJournal.com

"Location, location, location. What matters in politics is not just who the voters are, but where they are. Just ask Al Gore. Or read this book, a compelling demonstration that geography is often destiny."
---Bill Schneider, Senior Political Analyst, CNN

"This accessible and well-written book challenges us to reflect on the role that political context plays in shaping the vote. By tracing how regional politics evolves over time within and across states, Gimpel and Schuknecht have revived the important but often neglected field of political geography."
---Donald Green, Yale University

"In the spirit of V. O. Key, Gimpel and Schuknecht make a fundamental contribution. They demonstrate that states and regions are not simply important as units of aggregation, but rather as complex political arenas with profound consequences for processes of democratic politics both within and beyond their boundaries."
---Robert Huckfeldt, University of California, Davis
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Proverbs Are The Best Policy
Folk Wisdom And American Politics
Wolfgang Mieder
Utah State University Press, 2005

Wolfgang Mieder, widely considered the world’s greatest proverb scholar, here considers the role of proverbial speech on the American political stage from the Revolutionary War to the present. He begins his survey by discussing the origins and characteristics American proverbs and their spread across the globe hand in hand with America’s international political role. He then looks at the history of the defining proverb of American democracy, "government of the people, by the people, for the people." Subsequent essays consider such matters as Abigail Adams’s masterful use of politically charged proverbs; the conversion of the biblical proverb "a house divided against itself cannot stand" into a political expression; Frederick Douglass’s proverbial prowess in the battle against racial injustice; how United States presidents have employed proverbial speech in their inaugural addresses; and the proverbial language in the World War II correspondence between Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, which sharpened their communication and helped forge bonds of cooperation. Mieder concludes with an insightful, relevant examination of the significance of the ambiguous proverb "good fences make good neighbors."

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Race and the Power of Sermons on American Politics
R. Khari Brown, Ronald E. Brown, and James S. Jackson
University of Michigan Press, 2021

This book examines the intersection of race, political sermons, and social justice. Religious leaders and congregants who discuss and encourage others to do social justice embrace a form of civil religion that falls close to the covenantal wing of American civil religious thought. Clergy and members who share this theological outlook frame the nation as being exceptional in God’s sight. They also emphasize that the nation’s special relationship with the Creator is contingent on the nation working toward providing opportunities for socioeconomic well-being, freedom, and creative pursuits. God’s covenant, thus, requires inclusion of people who may have different life experiences but who, nonetheless, are equally valued by God and worthy of dignity. Adherents to such a civil religious worldview would believe it right to care for and be in solidarity with the poor and powerless, even if they are undocumented immigrants, people living in non-democratic and non-capitalist nations, or members of racial or cultural out-groups. Relying on 44 national and regional surveys conducted between 1941 and 2019, Race and the Power of Sermons on American Politics explores how racial experiences impact the degree to which religion informs social justice attitudes and political behavior. This is the most comprehensive set of analyses of publicly available survey data on this topic.

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Race to the Bottom
How Racial Appeals Work in American Politics
LaFleur Stephens-Dougan
University of Chicago Press, 2020
African American voters are a key demographic to the modern Democratic base, and conventional wisdom has it that there is political cost to racialized “dog whistles,” especially for Democratic candidates. However, politicians from both parties and from all racial backgrounds continually appeal to negative racial attitudes for political gain.

            Challenging what we think we know about race and politics, LaFleur Stephens-Dougan argues that candidates across the racial and political spectrum engage in “racial distancing,” or using negative racial appeals to communicate to racially moderate and conservative whites—the overwhelming majority of whites—that they will not disrupt the racial status quo. Race to the Bottom closely examines empirical data on racialized partisan stereotypes to show that engaging in racial distancing through political platforms that do not address the needs of nonwhite communities and charged rhetoric that targets African Americans, immigrants, and others can be politically advantageous. Racialized communication persists as a well-worn campaign strategy because it has real electoral value for both white and black politicians seeking to broaden their coalitions. Stephens-Dougan reveals that claims of racial progress have been overstated as our politicians are incentivized to employ racial prejudices at the expense of the most marginalized in our society.
 
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Racial Stasis
The Millennial Generation and the Stagnation of Racial Attitudes in American Politics
Christopher D. DeSante and Candis Watts Smith
University of Chicago Press, 2020
Racial progress in the United States has hit a wall, and the rise of white nationalism is but one manifestation of this. Most Americans continue to hope that the younger generation, which many believe manifests less racism and more acceptance of a multiracial society, will lead to more moderate racial politics—but this may not be happening. Overtly racist attitudes have declined, but anti-black stereotypes and racial resentment remain prevalent among white Americans. To add, the shape of racial attitudes has continued to evolve, but our existing measures have not evolved in step and cannot fully illuminate the challenge at hand.

With Racial Stasis, Christopher D. DeSante and Candis Watts Smith argue persuasively that this is because millennials, a generational cohort far removed from Jim Crow and the Civil Rights era, lack sufficient understanding of the structural nature of racial inequalities in the United States and therefore also the contextual and historical knowledge to be actively anti-racist. While these younger whites may be open to the idea of interracial marriage or living next to a family of a different race, they often do not understand why policies like affirmative action still need to exist and are weary about supporting these kinds of policies. In short, although millennials’ language and rationale around race, racism, and racial inequalities are different from previous generations’, the end result is the same.
 
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The Reagan Range
The Nostalgic Myth in American Politics
James Combs
University of Wisconsin Press, 1993

This book is an attempt to make sense out of Ronald Reagan by linking him to various grassroots dimensions of American popular mythology and mind. It attempts to utilize a variety of sources from American and popular culture studies, works on Reagan, and popular materials such as movies to offer an interpretation of reagan as an exemplar of the political relevance and power of popular culture.

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Realignment in American Politics
Toward a Theory
Edited by Bruce A. Campbell and Richard J. Trilling
University of Texas Press, 1980
To have a voice in shaping government policy has been a goal of the American people since the nation's founding. Yet, government seems even less accessible now than in the past. An increasing rate of incumbency in Congress, the unwieldy committee system that controls legislation, and the decline of political parties have all weakened representation and alienated Americans from the seat of power. The one remaining way to produce major and coherent change in national policy is through partisan realignment—a sharp, enduring shift in voter support of the two major parties. This book is about the phenomenon of realignment in American politics. It not only brings together and assesses previous work in the area but also breaks new ground in the analysis of the effects of realignment on political elites and public policy. In addition, it is the first study to present an integrated theory of realignment that can be applied to the understanding of mass, elite, and policy change in times of social crisis. Contributors include Lawrence McMichael, David Nexon, Louis Seagull, Robert Lehnen, Philip Converse, Gregory Markus, Lester Seligman, Michael King, David Brady, Kenneth Meier, Kenneth Kramer, David Adamany, Charles Stewart, Susan Hansen, and the editors.Bruce A. Campbell taught political science at the University of Georgia. He is the author of The American Electorate.
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Rivalry and Reform
Presidents, Social Movements, and the Transformation of American Politics
Sidney M. Milkis and Daniel J. Tichenor
University of Chicago Press, 2019
Few relationships have proved more pivotal in changing the course of American politics than those between presidents and social movements. For all their differences, both presidents and social movements are driven by a desire to recast the political system, often pursuing rival agendas that set them on a collision course. Even when their interests converge, these two actors often compete to control the timing and conditions of political change. During rare historical moments, however, presidents and social movements forged partnerships that profoundly recast American politics.

Rivalry and Reform explores the relationship between presidents and social movements throughout history and into the present day, revealing the patterns that emerge from the epic battles and uneasy partnerships that have profoundly shaped reform. Through a series of case studies, including Abraham Lincoln and abolitionism, Lyndon Johnson and the civil rights movement, and Ronald Reagan and the religious right, Sidney M. Milkis and Daniel J. Tichenor argue persuasively that major political change usually reflects neither a top-down nor bottom-up strategy but a crucial interplay between the two. Savvy leaders, the authors show, use social movements to support their policy goals. At the same time, the most successful social movements target the president as either a source of powerful support or the center of opposition. The book concludes with a consideration of Barack Obama’s approach to contemporary social movements such as Black Lives Matter, United We Dream, and Marriage Equality.
 
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Rude Democracy
Civility and Incivility in American Politics
Authored by Susan Herbst
Temple University Press, 2020

Winner of the Doris Graber Award, American Political Science Association, 2013

Democracy is, by its very nature, often rude. But there are limits to how uncivil we should be. In the 2010 edition of Rude Democracy, Susan Herbst explored the ways we discuss public policy, how we treat each other as we do, and how we can create a more civil national culture. She used the examples of Sarah Palin and Barack Obama to illustrate her case. She also examined how young people come to form their own attitudes about civility and political argument. In a new preface for this 2020 paperback edition, the author connects her book to our current highly contentious politics and what it means for the future of democratic argument.

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Secular Faith
How Culture Has Trumped Religion in American Politics
Mark A. Smith
University of Chicago Press, 2015
When Pope Francis recently answered “Who am I to judge?” when asked about homosexuality, he ushered in a new era for the Catholic church. A decade ago, it would have been unthinkable for a pope to express tolerance for homosexuality. Yet shifts of this kind are actually common in the history of Christian groups. Within the United States, Christian leaders have regularly revised their teachings to match the beliefs and opinions gaining support among their members and larger society.

Mark A. Smith provocatively argues that religion is not nearly the unchanging conservative influence in American politics that we have come to think it is. In fact, in the long run, religion is best understood as responding to changing political and cultural values rather than shaping them. Smith makes his case by charting five contentious issues in America’s history: slavery, divorce, homosexuality, abortion, and women’s rights. For each, he shows how the political views of even the most conservative Christians evolved in the same direction as the rest of society—perhaps not as swiftly, but always on the same arc. During periods of cultural transition, Christian leaders do resist prevailing values and behaviors, but those same leaders inevitably acquiesce—often by reinterpreting the Bible—if their positions become no longer tenable. Secular ideas and influences thereby shape the ways Christians read and interpret their scriptures.

So powerful are the cultural and societal norms surrounding us that Christians in America today hold more in common morally and politically with their atheist neighbors than with the Christians of earlier centuries. In fact, the strongest predictors of people’s moral beliefs are not their religious commitments or lack thereof but rather when and where they were born. A thoroughly researched and ultimately hopeful book on the prospects for political harmony, Secular Faith demonstrates how, over the long run, boundaries of secular and religious cultures converge.
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Strategic Disagreement
Stalemate in American Politics
John Gilmour
University of Pittsburgh Press, 1995

Politics may be the art of compromise, but accepting a compromise can be hazardous to a politician’s health.  Politicians worry about betraying faithful supporters, about losing the upper hand on an issue before the next election, that accepting half a loaf today can make it harder to get the whole loaf tomorrow.  In his original interpretation of competition between parties and between Congress and the president, Gilmour explains the strategies available to politicians who prefer to disagree and uncovers the lost opportunities to pass important legislation that result from this disagreement.

Strategic Disagreement, theoretically solid and rich in evidence, will enlighten Washington observers frustrated by the politics of gridlock and will engage students interested in organizational theory, political parties, and divided government.

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The Sturdy Oak
A Composite Novel of American Politics
Elizabeth Jordan
Ohio University Press, 1998

In the spring of 1916, as the workers for woman suffrage were laying plans for another attack on the bastions of male supremacy, the idea for The Sturdy Oak was born. Based on the rules of an old parlor game, wherein one person begins a narrative, another continues it, and another follows, this collaborative effort by the leading writers of the day, such as Fannie Hurst, Dorothy Canfield, and Kathleen Norris, is a satiric look at the gender roles of the time.

There is much in The Sturdy Oak that reflects the New York campaign for suffrage of 1916–1917. The setting is the fictional city of Whitewater in upstate New York. Idealistic reformers are pitted against a ruthless political machine, and the traditional picture of man as “the sturdy oak” supporting woman, “the clinging vine,” is ridiculed in the portrayal of an engaging couple, George and Genevieve Remington. Nonetheless, the purpose of the book is not primarily ridicule but reform, and the reader is taken through the steps by which a confirmed anti-suffragist is gradually transformed into a supporter of the suffrage cause.

Beyond its historical interest, The Sturdy Oak is imbued with a political and social currency that makes it applicable even today. And because of the skill of the writers of this composite novel, even eight decades after its initial publication The Sturdy Oak is still, as the New York Times said in 1917, “irresistibly readable.”

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Testing the National Covenant
Fears and Appetites in American Politics
William F. May
Georgetown University Press, 2011

Since the end of World War II, runaway fears of Soviet imperialism, global terrorism, and anarchy have tended to drive American foreign policy toward an imperial agenda. At the same time, uncurbed appetites have wasted the environment and driven the country’s market economy into the ditch. How can we best sustain our identity as a people and resist the distortions of our current anxieties and appetites?

Ethicist William F. May draws on America’s religious and political history and examines two concepts at play in the founding of the country—contractual and covenantal. He contends that the biblical idea of a covenant offers a more promising way than the language of contract, grounded in self-interest alone, to contain our runaway anxieties and appetites. A covenantal sensibility affirms, “We the people (not simply, We the individuals, or We the interest groups) of the United States.” It presupposes a history of mutual giving and receiving and of bearing with one another that undergirds all the traffic in buying and selling, arguing and negotiating, that obtain in the rough terrain of politics. May closes with an account of the covenantal agenda ahead, and concludes with the vexing issue of immigrants and undocumented workers that has singularly tested the covenant of this immigrant nation.

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To Serve God and Mammon
Church–State Relations in American Politics, Second Edition
Ted G. Jelen
Georgetown University Press, 2010

Newly revised and updated, To Serve God and Mammon is a classic in the field of religion and politics that provides an unbiased introduction and overview of church–state relations in the United States.

Jelen begins by exploring the inherent tension between the Establishment and Free Exercise clauses of the First Amendment. He then examines how different actors in American politics (e.g., the courts, Congress, the president, ordinary citizens) have different and conflicting values that affect their attitudes and actions toward the relationship between the sacred and the secular. Finally, he discusses how the fragmented nature of political authority in the United States provides the basis for continuing conflict concerning church–state relations.

This second edition includes analyses of various recent court cases and the implications of living in the post–9/11 era. It also features discussion questions at the end of each chapter, a glossary of terms, and synopses of selected court decisions bearing on religion and politics in the United States.

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Voice and Equality
Civic Voluntarism in American Politics
Sidney Verba, Kay Lehman Schlozman, and Henry E. Brady
Harvard University Press, 1995

This book confirms Alexis de Tocqueville’s idea, dating back a century and a half, that American democracy is rooted in civil society. Citizens’ involvement in family, school, work, voluntary associations, and religion has a significant impact on their participation as voters, campaigners, donors, community activists, and protesters.

The authors focus on the central issues of involvement: how people come to be active and the issues they raise when they do. They find fascinating differences along cultural lines, among African-Americans, Latinos, and Anglo-Whites, as well as between the religiously observant and the secular. They observe family activism moving from generation to generation, and they look into the special role of issues that elicit involvement, including abortion rights and social welfare.

This far-reaching analysis, based on an original survey of 15,000 individuals, including 2,500 long personal interviews, shows that some individuals have a greater voice in politics than others, and that this inequality results not just from varying inclinations toward activity, but also from unequal access to vital resources such as education. Citizens’ voices are especially unequal when participation depends on contributions of money rather than contributions of time. This deeply researched study brilliantly illuminates the many facets of civic consciousness and action and confirms their quintessential role in American democracy.

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The Warren Court and American Politics
Lucas A. Powe Jr.
Harvard University Press, 2000
The Supreme Court under Chief Justice Earl Warren was the most revolutionary and controversial Supreme Court in American history. But in what sense? Challenging the reigning consensus that the Warren Court, fundamentally, was protecting minorities, Lucas A. Powe, Jr. revives the valuable tradition of looking at the Supreme Court in the wide political environment to find the Warren Court a functioning partner in Kennedy–Johnson liberalism. Thus the Court helped to impose national liberal-elite values on groups that were outliers to that tradition: the white South, rural America, and areas of Roman Catholic dominance.In a learned and lively narrative, Powe discusses over 200 significant rulings: the explosive Brown decision, which fundamentally challenged the Southern way of life; reapportionment (one person, one vote), which changed the political balance of American legislatures; the gradual elimination of anti-Communist domestic security programs; the reform of criminal procedures (Mapp, Gideon, Miranda); the ban on school-sponsored prayer; and a new law on pornography.Most of these decisions date from 1962, when those who shaped the dominant ideology of the Warren Court of storied fame gained a fifth secure liberal vote. The Justices of the majority were prominent individuals, brimming with confidence, willing to help shape a revolution and see if it would last.
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Workingmen's Democracy
The Knights of Labor and American Politics
Leon Fink
University of Illinois Press, 1983
Focusing on the operation and influence of the Knights of Labor—the leading labor organization of the nineteenth century—Workingmen's Democracy explores the dreams, achievements, and failures of a movement that sought to renew the democratic potential of American institutions.

Runner-up in both the John H. Dunning Prize and Albert J. Beveridge Award competitions
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