A troubling portrait of democracy in US state legislatures.
State legislatures hold tremendous authority over key facets of our lives, ranging from healthcare to marriage to immigration policy. In theory, elections create incentives for state legislators to produce good policies. But do they?
Drawing on wide-ranging quantitative and qualitative evidence, Steven Rogers offers the most comprehensive assessment of this question to date, testing different potential mechanisms of accountability. His findings are sobering: almost ninety percent of American voters do not know who their state legislator is; over one-third of incumbent legislators run unchallenged in both primary and general elections; and election outcomes have little relationship with legislators’ own behavior.
Rogers’s analysis of state legislatures highlights the costs of our highly nationalized politics, challenging theories of democratic accountability and providing a troubling picture of democracy in the states.
During his years in the U.S. House of Representatives, Skelton became known as a bipartisan negotiator and a champion of the Armed Services. Throughout the decades, he helped steer the nation through its most dangerous challenges, from Communism to terrorism; took a leading role in the reform of the Department of Defense; dedicated himself to fulfilling the interests of his constituents; and eventually rose to become chair of the House Armed Services Committee during such pivotal events as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition to detailing Skelton’s political career and its accompanying challenges and triumphs, Achieve the Honorable provides inside glimpses into the lives of political titans like Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton. Along the way, we are treated to Skelton’s engaging humor and shrewd insight into twentieth- and twenty-first-century U.S. politics.
Alexander Terrell's career placed him at the center of some of the most pivotal events in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century history, ranging from the Civil War to Emperor Maximilian's reign over Mexico and an Armenian genocide under the Ottoman Empire. Alexander Watkins Terrell at last provides the first complete biographical portrait of this complex figure.
Born in Virginia in 1827, Terrell moved to Texas in 1852, rising to the rank of Confederate brigadier general when the Civil War erupted. Afterwards, he briefly served in Maximilian's army before returning to Texas, where he was elected to four terms in the state Senate and three terms in the House. President Grover Cleveland appointed him minister to the Ottoman Empire, dispatching him to Turkey and the Middle East for four years while the issues surrounding the existence of Christians in a Muslim empire stoked violent confrontations there. His other accomplishments included writing legislation that created the Texas Railroad Commission and what became the Permanent University Fund (the cornerstone of the University of Texas's multibillion-dollar endowment).
In this balanced exploration of Terrell's life, Gould also examines Terrell's views on race, the impact of the charges of cowardice in the Civil War that dogged him, and his spiritual searching beyond the established religions of his time. In his rich and varied life, Alexander Watkins Terrell experienced aspects of nineteenth-century Texas and American history whose effects have continued down to the present day.
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