Princeton University Press

Princeton Studies in American Politics: Historical, International, and Comparative Perspectives

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Princeton Studies in American Politics: Historical, International, and Comparative Perspectives

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Looking for Rights in All the Wrong Places

Why State Constitutions Contain America's Positive Rights

Emily Zackin

Unlike many national constitutions, which contain explicit positive rights to such things as education, a living wage, and a healthful environment, the U.S. Bill of Rights appears to contain only a long list of prohibitions on government. American constitutional rights, we are often told, protect people only from an overbearing government, but give no explicit guarantees of governmental help. Looking for Rights in All the Wrong Places argues that we have fundamentally misunderstood the American rights tradition. The United States actually has a long history of enshrining positive rights in its constitutional law, but these rights have been overlooked simply because they are not in the federal Constitution.

Emily Zackin shows how they instead have been included in America's state constitutions, in large part because state governments, not the federal government, have long been primarily responsible for crafting American social policy. Although state constitutions, seemingly mired in trivial detail, can look like pale imitations of their federal counterpart, they have been sites of serious debate, reflect national concerns, and enshrine choices about fundamental values. Zackin looks in depth at the history of education, labor, and environmental reform, explaining why America's activists targeted state constitutions in their struggles for government protection from the hazards of life under capitalism.

Shedding much-needed light on the variety of reasons that activists pursued the creation of new state-level rights, Looking for Rights in All the Wrong Places challenges us to rethink our most basic assumptions about the American constitutional tradition.

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Political Foundations of Judicial Supremacy

The Presidency, the Supreme Court, and Constitutional Leadership in U.S. History

Keith E. Whittington

Should the Supreme Court have the last word when it comes to interpreting the Constitution? The justices on the Supreme Court certainly seem to think so--and their critics say that this position threatens democracy. But Keith Whittington argues that the Court's justices have not simply seized power and circumvented politics. The justices have had power thrust upon them--by politicians, for the benefit of politicians. In this sweeping political history of judicial supremacy in America, Whittington shows that presidents and political leaders of all stripes have worked to put the Court on a pedestal and have encouraged its justices to accept the role of ultimate interpreters of the Constitution.

Whittington examines why presidents have often found judicial supremacy to be in their best interest, why they have rarely assumed responsibility for interpreting the Constitution, and why constitutional leadership has often been passed to the courts. The unprecedented assertiveness of the Rehnquist Court in striking down acts of Congress is only the most recent example of a development that began with the founding generation itself. Presidential bids for constitutional leadership have been rare, but reflect the temporary political advantage in doing so. Far more often, presidents have cooperated in increasing the Court's power and encouraging its activism. Challenging the conventional wisdom that judges have usurped democracy, Whittington shows that judicial supremacy is the product of democratic politics.

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Political Parties and the State

The American Historical Experience

Martin Shefter

This book collects a number of Martin Shefter's most important articles on political parties. They address three questions: Under what conditions will strong party organizations emerge? What influences the character of parties--in particular, their reliance on patronage? In what circumstances will the parties that formerly dominated politics in a nation or city come under attack? Shefter's work exemplifies the "new institutionalism" in political science, arguing that the reliance of parties on patronage is a function not so much of mass political culture as of their relationship with public bureaucracies.

The book's opening chapters analyze the circumstances conducive to the emergence of strong political parties and the changing balance between parties and bureaucracies in Europe and America. The middle chapters discuss the organization and exclusion of the American working classes by machine and reform regimes. The book concludes by examining party organizations as instruments of political control in the largest American city, New York.

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Presidential Party Building

Dwight D. Eisenhower to George W. Bush

Daniel J. Galvin

Modern presidents are usually depicted as party "predators" who neglect their parties, exploit them for personal advantage, or undercut their organizational capacities. Challenging this view, Presidential Party Building demonstrates that every Republican president since Dwight D. Eisenhower worked to build his party into a more durable political organization while every Democratic president refused to do the same. Yet whether they supported their party or stood in its way, each president contributed to the distinctive organizational trajectories taken by the two parties in the modern era.

Unearthing new archival evidence, Daniel Galvin reveals that Republican presidents responded to their party's minority status by building its capacities to mobilize voters, recruit candidates, train activists, provide campaign services, and raise funds. From Eisenhower's "Modern Republicanism" to Richard Nixon's "New Majority" to George W. Bush's hopes for a partisan realignment, Republican presidents saw party building as a means of forging a new political majority in their image. Though they usually met with little success, their efforts made important contributions to the GOP's cumulative organizational development. Democratic presidents, in contrast, were primarily interested in exploiting the majority they inherited, not in building a new one. Until their majority disappeared during Bill Clinton's presidency, Democratic presidents eschewed party building and expressed indifference to the long-term effects of their actions.

Bringing these dynamics into sharp relief, Presidential Party Building offers profound new insights into presidential behavior, party organizational change, and modern American political development.

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Prisoners of Myth

The Leadership of the Tennessee Valley Authority, 1933-1990

Erwin C. Hargrove

Prisoners of Myth is the first comprehensive history of the Tennessee Valley Authority from its creation to the present day. It is also a telling case study of organizational evolution and decline. Building on Philip Selznick's classic work TVA and the Grass Roots (1949), a seminal text in the theoretical study of bureaucracy, Erwin Hargrove analyzes the organizational culture of the TVA by looking at the actions of its leaders over six decades--from the heroic years of the New Deal and World War II through the postwar period of consolidation and growth to the time of troubles from 1970 onward, when the TVA ran afoul of environmental legislation, built a massive nuclear power program that it could not control, and sought new missions for which there were no constituencies.

The founding myth of multipurpose regional development was inappropriately pursued in the 1970s and '80s by leaders who became "prisoners of myth" in their attempt to keep the TVA heroic. A decentralized organization, which had worked well at the grass roots, was difficult to redirect as the nuclear genii spun out of control. TVA autonomy from Washington, once a virtue, obscured political accountability. This study develops an important new theory about institutional performance in the face of historical change.

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Reputation and Power

Organizational Image and Pharmaceutical Regulation at the FDA

Daniel Carpenter

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is the most powerful regulatory agency in the world. How did the FDA become so influential? And how exactly does it wield its extraordinary power? Reputation and Power traces the history of FDA regulation of pharmaceuticals, revealing how the agency's organizational reputation has been the primary source of its power, yet also one of its ultimate constraints.

Daniel Carpenter describes how the FDA cultivated a reputation for competence and vigilance throughout the last century, and how this organizational image has enabled the agency to regulate an industry as powerful as American pharmaceuticals while resisting efforts to curb its own authority. Carpenter explains how the FDA's reputation and power have played out among committees in Congress, and with drug companies, advocacy groups, the media, research hospitals and universities, and governments in Europe and India. He shows how FDA regulatory power has influenced the way that business, medicine, and science are conducted in the United States and worldwide. Along the way, Carpenter offers new insights into the therapeutic revolution of the 1940s and 1950s; the 1980s AIDS crisis; the advent of oral contraceptives and cancer chemotherapy; the rise of antiregulatory conservatism; and the FDA's waning influence in drug regulation today.

Reputation and Power demonstrates how reputation shapes the power and behavior of government agencies, and sheds new light on how that power is used and contested.

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Shaping Race Policy

The United States in Comparative Perspective

Robert C. Lieberman

Shaping Race Policy investigates one of the most serious policy challenges facing the United States today: the stubborn persistence of racial inequality in the post-civil rights era. Unlike other books on the topic, it is comparative, examining American developments alongside parallel histories of race policy in Great Britain and France.

Focusing on on two key policy areas, welfare and employment, the book asks why America has had such uneven success at incorporating African Americans and other minorities into the full benefits of citizenship. Robert Lieberman explores the historical roots of racial incorporation in these policy areas over the course of the twentieth century and explains both the relative success of antidiscrimination policy and the failure of the American welfare state to address racial inequality. He chronicles the rise and resilience of affirmative action, including commentary on the recent University of Michigan affirmative action cases decided by the Supreme Court. He also shows how nominally color-blind policies can have racially biased effects, and challenges the common wisdom that color-blind policies are morally and politically superior and that race-conscious policies are merely second best.

Shaping Race Policy has two innovative features that distinguish it from other works in the area. First, it is comparative, examining American developments alongside parallel histories of race policy in Great Britain and France. Second, its argument merges ideas and institutions, which are usually considered separate and competing factors, into a comprehensive and integrated explanatory approach. The book highlights the importance of two factors--America's distinctive political institutions and the characteristic American tension between race consciousness and color blindness--in accounting for the curious pattern of success and failure in American race policy.

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Still a House Divided

Race and Politics in Obama's America

Desmond S. King

Why have American policies failed to reduce the racial inequalities still pervasive throughout the nation? Has President Barack Obama defined new political approaches to race that might spur unity and progress? Still a House Divided examines the enduring divisions of American racial politics and how these conflicts have been shaped by distinct political alliances and their competing race policies. Combining deep historical knowledge with a detailed exploration of such issues as housing, employment, criminal justice, multiracial census categories, immigration, voting in majority-minority districts, and school vouchers, Desmond King and Rogers Smith assess the significance of President Obama's election to the White House and the prospects for achieving constructive racial policies for America's future.

Offering a fresh perspective on the networks of governing institutions, political groups, and political actors that influence the structure of American racial politics, King and Smith identify three distinct periods of opposing racial policy coalitions in American history. The authors investigate how today's alliances pit color-blind and race-conscious approaches against one another, contributing to political polarization and distorted policymaking. Contending that President Obama has so far inadequately confronted partisan divisions over race, the authors call for all sides to recognize the need for a balance of policy measures if America is to ever cease being a nation divided.

Presenting a powerful account of American political alliances and their contending racial agendas, Still a House Divided sheds light on a policy path vital to the country's future.

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Stuck in Neutral

Business and the Politics of Human Capital Investment Policy

Cathie Jo Martin

According to conventional wisdom, big business wields enormous influence over America's political agenda and is responsible for the relatively limited scale of the country's social policies. In Stuck in Neutral, however, Cathie Jo Martin challenges that view, arguing that big business has limited involvement in social policy and in many instances desires broader social interventions.

Combining hundreds of in-depth interviews with careful quantitative analysis, Martin shows that there is strong support among managers for government-sponsored training, health, work, and family initiatives to enhance workers' skills and productivity. This support does not translate into political action, surprisingly, because big firms are not organized to intervene effectively. Every large company has its own staff to deal with government affairs, but overarching organizations for the most part lobby ineffectively for the collective interests of big business in the social realm. By contrast, small firms, which cannot afford to lobby the government directly, rely on representative associations to speak for them. The unified voice of small business comes through much more clearly in policy circles than the diverse messages presented by individual corporations, ensuring that the small-business agenda of limited social policy prevails.

A vivid portrayal of the interplay between business and politics, Stuck in Neutral offers a fresh take on some of the most controversial issues of our day. It is a must read for anyone interested in the past, present, and future of the American welfare state and political economy.

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