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New Jersey Politics and Government

The Suburbs Come of Age

Barbara G. Salmore

Publication Year: 2013

This fourth edition is thoroughly updated to reflect the challenges New Jersey has overcome and those it continues to face: sustaining growth and opportunity in a multicultural society, providing quality education, and protecting the environment. State politics and government have been almost entirely reshaped in recent decades, and those changes are analyzed in every chapter of this edition.

Offering a comprehensive overview of New Jersey politics and government, chapters cover the state’s political history; campaigns and elections; interest groups; the constitution; the development of government institutions; relationships with neighboring states, the federal government, and its own municipalities and counties; tax and spending policies; education; and quality of life issues.

Published by: Rutgers University Press

Series: Rivergate Regionals Collection

About the Series

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pp. xi-xii

Like many residents of New Jersey, both authors of this book were born in New York City, but we have been privileged to be observers, participants, and analysts of New Jersey politics for all of our adult lives. Our greatest debts are to the countless members of the state’s political community who...

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Chapter 1. Prologue.

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pp. 1-7

In 1923, Ernest Gruening edited a delightful guide for armchair travelers, These United States. Edmund Wilson Jr.— distinguished literary critic and native of Red Bank, New Jersey— contributed the essay entitled “New Jersey: The Slave of Two Cities.” He offered the following thesis: “It is precisely its...

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Chapter 2. Foundations

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pp. 8-24

When children study the American Revolution they read of its opening and closing chapters in Massachusetts and Virginia, and they tour Lexington, Concord, Philadelphia, and Yorktown. But few travel to New Jersey, the scene of more battles than any other state....

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Chapter 3. The Statesmen and the Bosses

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pp. 25-49

Four of New Jersey’s most legendary politicians— Woodrow Wilson, Frank Hague, Nucky Johnson, and Frank “Hap” Farley— symbolize the divergent strains in New Jersey’s politics in the twentieth century. The early part of the period saw the state’s first political reform...

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Chapter 4. Contemporary Political Patterns.

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pp. 50-71

Most of New Jersey’s successful politicians were long described as raging moderates. The reform- minded “amateur democrats” who blossomed in California, Illinois, and New York in the 1950s had no counterpart in New Jersey.1 Its Democrats were never prominent in the...

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Chapter 5. Voters, Elections, and Parties

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pp. 72-104

When President Carter’s chief political strategist made this observation almost forty years ago, he was recognizing the rise of candidate- centered, rather than party-centered, political campaigns. Historically, political parties had three major functions: as a source of psychological...

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Chapter 6. The Representation of Interests

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pp. 105-123

These descriptions of New Jersey’s interest group system convey its essential features. The myriad groups now bringing their problems to Trenton are all the more remarkable because historically there were so few. In the 1930s, Dayton McKean, a Princeton political scientist and Mercer County...

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Chapter 7. The Constitution

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pp. 124-144

New Jersey’s three constitutions—of 1776, 1844, and 1947— successively emphasize the three strains of American constitutionalism identified by Daniel Elazar: communitarian, federalist and managerial.1 The 1776 charter reflected early American faith in a weak executive and a strong legislature. The 1844 constitution responded haltingly...

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Chapter 8. The Governor

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pp. 145-163

After reviewing the development of gubernatorial powers and profiling the people New Jerseyans have chosen to lead them, this chapter will consider how recent governors have attended to their fundamental tasks—achieving support for policy priorities and organizing their offices to seek those...

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Chapter 9. The Legislature

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pp. 164-184

If New Jersey barely had a state politics before the 1970s, it also barely had a functioning state legislature. Before the adoption of the 1947 constitution, the legislature’s powers far surpassed those of the governor, but before 1947 there was not much any element of state government was expected to do. State...

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Chapter 10. The State Bureaucracy

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pp. 185-209

Creating an efficient executive branch was a major accomplishment of New Jersey’s 1947 constitutional convention. Since then, executive agencies have grown at a pace the framers could hardly have envisioned. Bureaucracies by nature are concerned less “about the overall architecture of government...

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Chapter 11. The Courts

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pp. 210-231

The 1947 constitution brought change to all of New Jersey’s political institutions, but especially to the courts. The popular phrase “Jersey justice” was a pithy description of the pre-1947 judicial system. It was a contemptuous allusion to “the most complicated scheme of courts existing in any English- speaking...

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Chapter 12. Government and Politics in Localities

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pp. 232-254

Governor Brendan Byrne once observed that “home rule is a religion in New Jersey,” and a journalist called it “as indigenous to New Jersey as the tomato, the Eastern Goldfinch and the Pine Barrens tree frog.”1 New Jersey has more local governments per square mile than any other state. Forty- sixth...

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Chapter 13. New Jersey in the Federal System

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pp. 255-273

For most of its history, the concerns of New Jersey’s citizens extended little beyond their own borders. During the American Revolution they saw Britain as their protector from New York. In the Civil War era there was sympathy for the Confederacy’s position on states’ rights. When the rest of the country...

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Chapter 14. The Politics of Taxing and Spending

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pp. 274-304

In 1900, New Jersey state government collected and spent less than $3 million. The general public paid none of the state taxes of the time—on bank stock, insurance companies, railroads, corporate franchises, or large inheritances. Nor did they benefit directly from Trenton’s paltry services. More than...

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Chapter 15. The Politics of Education

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pp. 305-335

Home rule versus state direction; cities versus suburbs; local property taxes versus broad- based state taxes; how to achieve both economic development and social justice—nowhere are these debates more prominent than in the politics of public education. The 1970s mark a major dividing line for...

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Chapter 16. Quality of Life Issues

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pp. 336-367

As America’s most densely populated state, New Jersey may be the test of whether the quality of life in urban and suburban America can be preserved. Its waterways were among the first declared impure, and air pollution problems were evident by the 1950s. Traffic congestion also arrived early, for New Jersey...

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Chapter 17. Epilogue

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pp. 368-373

Four developments are significantly shaping the United States in the twenty- first century. First, fewer Americans live in either cities or rural areas. The United States is becoming “a suburban nation with an urban fringe and a rural fringe.”1 There is further development of “edge cities.” An edge city is not a...


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pp. 375-421


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pp. 423-436

About the Author

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pp. 437-446

E-ISBN-13: 9780813561417
E-ISBN-10: 0813561418
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813561400

Page Count: 452
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: Fourth Edition
Series Title: Rivergate Regionals Collection