Cover

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Title page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

Figures

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pp. vii-viii

Table

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p. ix

Contributors

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pp. xi-xii

Introduction

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pp. 1-2

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1. American Politics in the Long Run

Paul Pierson, Theda Skocpol

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pp. 3-16

Over the past half century, government and politics in the United States have been transformed—so much so that a Rip van Winkle who fell asleep in 1957 and awoke in 2007 would hardly feel it was the same polity. Even as America has achieved a new if troubled hegemony in international...

Part One: The Shifting Political Landscape

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2. The Rise and Reconfiguration of Activist Government

Paul Pierson

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pp. 19-38

Between 1960 and 1980 the American state underwent a great transformation. This was no constitutional revolution. On the contrary, despite the political and social upheavals of the 1960s and early 1970s, the formal rules of American governance were quite stable. But this formal stability belied a fundamental institutional shift. In two decades...

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3. Government Activism and the Reorganization of American Civic Democracy

Theda Skocpol

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pp. 39-67

Americans have long excelled as organizers and joiners of voluntary associations that shape, supplement, and respond to the activities of government. Voluntary activity, even more than electoral participation, has been seen as a special proclivity of U.S. democracy. In the 1890s...

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4. Parties, Electoral Participation, and Shifting Voting Blocs

Andrea Louise Campbell

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pp. 68-102

Since the 1960s the role of the political parties in American politics has fundamentally changed. A series of technological, institutional, legal, and cultural shifts diminished their once central function as the organizers and inclusive mobilizers of American elections. They ceded control over...

Part Two: Conservatives on the Rise

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5. Seizing Power: Conservatives and Congress Since the 1970s

Julian E. Zelizer

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pp. 105-134

The scene seemed as if someone writing a parody about the American Congress scripted it. In the summer of 2003, the House Ways and Means Committee was debating legislation dealing with pensions and retirement savings. The committee started by reading the language of the bill...

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6. Economic Insecurity, Party Reputations, and the Republican Ascendance

Mark A. Smith

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pp. 135-159

Common understandings of American domestic politics point to differences between the parties in their respective electoral strengths (Shafer and Claggett 1995). On social and cultural issues such as crime, moral values, drugs, abortion, homosexuality, pornography, and affirmative...

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7. Conservative Mobilization against Entrenched Liberalism

Steven M. Teles

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pp. 160-188

In 1981 social security privatization was a fringe idea in American politics, so marginal that even the most conservative president since Herbert Hoover did not actively support it.1 Twenty-five years later, the president of the United States not only supported the idea, but made...

Part Three: Policy and Politics in the New American Polity

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8. The Transformed Welfare State and the Redistribution of Political Voice

Suzanne Mettler

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pp. 191-222

At the dawn of the twenty-first century, a deeply paradoxical relationship exists between the American national government and its citizens. The activist state spends more than ever on programs meant to elevate citizens’ economic security and well-being, committing more than...

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9. The Policy Effects of Political Polarization

Nolan Mccarty

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pp. 223-255

The dispersion of authority in the American political system makes it extraordinarily hard for any governing party to make effective policy without cooperation and support of members of the other party. In his seminal study of lawmaking in the U.S. from 1946 to 1990, David...

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10. Tax Politics and the Struggle over Activist Government

Jacob S. Hacker, Paul Pierson

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pp. 256-280

In May 2006 Republicans in Congress, urged on by President George W. Bush, squeezed through the House and Senate a tax-cut package estimated to cost $70 billion over the next five years. The centerpiece of the bill was a continuation of Republicans’ 2003 cuts in the dividends tax...

Conclusion

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pp. 281-282

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11. Political Development and Contemporary American Politics

Paul Pierson, Theda Skocpol

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pp. 283-294

The common theme of this volume's essays is the need to take a long view. Students of American politics often separate the study of “the present” from the study of “the past.” Yet political change is typically the result of processes unfolding over decades. The activities and events that...

References

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pp. 295-320

Index

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pp. 321-327