Princeton University Press

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

Published by: Princeton University Press

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

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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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The Substance of Representation

Congress, American Political Development, and Lawmaking

John S. Lapinski

Lawmaking is crucial to American democracy because it completely defines and regulates the public life of the nation. Yet despite its importance, political scientists spend very little time studying the direct impact that the politics surrounding a particular issue has on lawmaking. The Substance of Representation draws on a vast range of historical and empirical data to better understand how lawmaking works across different policy areas. Specifically, John Lapinski introduces a theoretically grounded method for parsing policy issues into categories, and he shows how policymaking varies in predictable ways based on the specific issue area being addressed.

Lapinski examines the ways in which key factors that influence policymaking matter for certain types of policy issues, and he includes an exhaustive look at how elite political polarization shifts across these areas. He considers how Congress behaves according to the policy issue at hand, and how particular areas--such as war, sovereignty issues, and immigration reform--change legislative performance. Relying on records of all Congressional votes since Reconstruction and analyzing voting patterns across policy areas from the late nineteenth to late twentieth centuries, Lapinski provides a comprehensive historical perspective on lawmaking in order to shed light on current practices.

Giving a clear picture of Congressional behavior in the policymaking process over time, The Substance of Representation provides insights into the critical role of American lawmaking.

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Three Worlds of Relief

Race, Immigration, and the American Welfare State from the Progressive Era to the New Deal

Cybelle Fox

Three Worlds of Relief examines the role of race and immigration in the development of the American social welfare system by comparing how blacks, Mexicans, and European immigrants were treated by welfare policies during the Progressive Era and the New Deal. Taking readers from the turn of the twentieth century to the dark days of the Depression, Cybelle Fox finds that, despite rampant nativism, European immigrants received generous access to social welfare programs. The communities in which they lived invested heavily in relief. Social workers protected them from snooping immigration agents, and ensured that noncitizenship and illegal status did not prevent them from receiving the assistance they needed. But that same helping hand was not extended to Mexicans and blacks. Fox reveals, for example, how blacks were relegated to racist and degrading public assistance programs, while Mexicans who asked for assistance were deported with the help of the very social workers they turned to for aid.

Drawing on a wealth of archival evidence, Fox paints a riveting portrait of how race, labor, and politics combined to create three starkly different worlds of relief. She debunks the myth that white America's immigrant ancestors pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, unlike immigrants and minorities today. Three Worlds of Relief challenges us to reconsider not only the historical record but also the implications of our past on contemporary debates about race, immigration, and the American welfare state.

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The Transformation of American Politics

Activist Government and the Rise of Conservatism

Paul Pierson

The contemporary American political landscape has been marked by two paradoxical transformations: the emergence after 1960 of an increasingly activist state, and the rise of an assertive and politically powerful conservatism that strongly opposes activist government. Leading young scholars take up these issues in The Transformation of American Politics. Arguing that even conservative administrations have become more deeply involved in managing our economy and social choices, they examine why our political system nevertheless has grown divided as never before over the extent to which government should involve itself in our lives.

The contributors show how these two closely linked trends have influenced the reform and running of political institutions, patterns of civic engagement, and capacities for partisan mobilization--and fueled ever-heightening conflicts over the contours and reach of public policy. These transformations not only redefined who participates in American politics and how they do so, but altered the substance of political conflicts and the capacities of rival interests to succeed. Representing both an important analysis of American politics and an innovative contribution to the study of long-term political change, this pioneering volume reveals how partisan discourse and the relationship between citizens and their government have been redrawn and complicated by increased government programs.

The contributors are Andrea Louise Campbell, Jacob S. Hacker, Nolan McCarty, Suzanne Mettler, Paul Pierson, Theda Skocpol, Mark A. Smith, Steven M. Teles, and Julian E. Zelizer.

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Why Is There No Labor Party in the United States?

Robin Archer

Why is the United States the only advanced capitalist country with no labor party? This question is one of the great enduring puzzles of American political development, and it lies at the heart of a fundamental debate about the nature of American society. Tackling this debate head-on, Robin Archer puts forward a new explanation for why there is no American labor party--an explanation that suggests that much of the conventional wisdom about "American exceptionalism" is untenable.

Conventional explanations rely on comparison with Europe. Archer challenges these explanations by comparing the United States with its most similar New World counterpart--Australia. This comparison is particularly revealing, not only because the United States and Australia share many fundamental historical, political, and social characteristics, but also because Australian unions established a labor party in the late nineteenth century, just when American unions, against a common backdrop of industrial defeat and depression, came closest to doing something similar.

Archer examines each of the factors that could help explain the American outcome, and his systematic comparison yields unexpected conclusions. He argues that prosperity, democracy, liberalism, and racial hostility often promoted the very changes they are said to have obstructed. And he shows that it was not these characteristics that left the United States without a labor party, but, rather, the powerful impact of repression, religion, and political sectarianism.

Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.

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Why Movements Succeed or Fail

Opportunity, Culture, and the Struggle for Woman Suffrage

Lee Ann Banaszak

Wyoming became the first American state to adopt female suffrage in 1869--a time when no country permitted women to vote. When the last Swiss canton enfranchised women in 1990, few countries barred women from the polls. Why did pro-suffrage activists in the United States and Switzerland have such varying success? Comparing suffrage campaigns in forty-eight American states and twenty-five Swiss cantons, Lee Ann Banaszak argues that movement tactics, beliefs, and values are critical in understanding why political movements succeed or fail. The Swiss suffrage movement's beliefs in consensus politics and local autonomy and their reliance on government parties for information limited their tactical choices--often in surprising ways. In comparison, the American suffrage movement, with its alliances to the abolition, temperance, and progressive movements, overcame beliefs in local autonomy and engaged in a wider array of confrontational tactics in the struggle for the vote.

Drawing on interviews with sixty Swiss suffrage activists, detailed legislative histories, census materials, and original archival materials from both countries, Banaszak blends qualitative historical inquiry with informative statistical analyses of state and cantonal level data. The book expands our understanding of the role of political opportunities and how they interact with the beliefs and values of movements and the societies they seek to change.

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Why We Vote

How Schools and Communities Shape Our Civic Life

David E. Campbell

Why do more people vote--or get involved in other civic and political activities--in some communities than in others? Why We Vote demonstrates that our communities shape our civic and political engagement, and that schools are especially significant communities for fostering strong civic norms.

Much of the research on political participation has found that levels of participation are higher in diverse communities where issues important to voters are hotly contested. In this well-argued book, David Campbell finds support for this view, but also shows that homogenous communities often have very high levels of civic participation despite a lack of political conflict.

Campbell maintains that this sense of civic duty springs not only from one's current social environment, but also from one's early influences. The degree to which people feel a sense of civic obligation stems, in part, from their adolescent experience. Being raised and thus socialized in a community with strong civic norms leads people to be civically engaged in adulthood. Campbell demonstrates how the civic norms within one's high school impact individuals' civic involvement--even a decade and a half after those individuals have graduated.

Efforts within America's high schools to enhance young people's sense of civic responsibility could have a participatory payoff in years to come, the book concludes; thus schools would do well to focus more attention on building civic norms among their students.

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