Penn State University Press

Issues in Policy History

General Editor: Donald T. Critchlow

Published by: Penn State University Press

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Issues in Policy History

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The Constitution and Public Policy in U.S. History

Edited by Julian E. Zelizer and Bruce J. Schulman

Despite its crucial importance in U.S. history, the study of the constitutional system fell out of favor with many historians and history departments for several decades during the latter half of the twentieth century. The dawn of the twenty-first century, however, has borne witness to a new interdisciplinary interest among scholars in reviving this important dialogue in American history. This book represents some of the most innovative contributions to this dialogue by a new generation of historians and legal scholars. The essays presented in this volume offer new insights into constitutionalism, legal culture, and the political arena, together contributing to an “ongoing reconceptualization of the historical relationship between the Constitution and public policy.” In this volume of "Issues in Policy History," Julian Zelizer and Bruce Schulman bring together eleven essays from renowned scholars Mary Sarah Bilder, Donald T. Critchlow and Cynthia L. Stachecki, Christine Desan, Morton Keller, Ajay K. Mehrotra, David Quigley, John A. Thompson, Christopher Tomlins, and Michael Willrich. By applying new archival research to questions of policy history and embedding constitutional history in its political context, these scholars breathe new life into the study of public policy and reaffirm Woodrow Wilson’s conclusion that the Constitution’s “spirit is always the spirit of the age.”

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Money and Politics

Edited by Paula Baker

That large ¹nancial contributions distort American politics and American democracy is an idea that stands as a truism in political debate. It has ¹red reform movements; it has inspired round after round of efforts to limit who can give to candidates and parties, how much they can give, and how much campaigns can spend. The laws have generated constitutional arguments about free speech, a still inconclusive literature on whether contributions actually shape policy, and a great deal of work for lawyers and ¹nancial analysts who monitor compliance. In the wake of Enron's collapse and subsequent revelations about that corporation's involvement with policymakers, the public's attention has once again focused on the role that money plays in politics. Little of the scholarly work (and none of the legal work) is historical. Yet history can shed light on the long-running debate about the impact of money on politics and what, if anything, are plausible policy options. This collection of original essays is a step in that direction. The chapters cover episodes from the early nineteenth century through the 1970s. They illustrate how deep concern about money in politics runs--and how the de¹nition of the problem has changed over time. Through the nineteenth century, the "spoils system" in which party loyalists gained reward for their efforts appeared to be the evil that blocked responsive parties and honest public administration. Party war chests that brought howls of complaint (and great exaggeration) seemed quaint by the middle of the twentieth century. In part because reform had weakened the parties and campaigns required consultants' skills in coordination and in part because television advertising was so expensive, the cost of campaigns rose. Candidates griped and policy entrepreneurs worked out possible solutions, which were in place before the Watergate scandal focused public attention on campaign ¹nance. In the history of campaign-¹nance reform, one generation's solutions have tended to become another's problem. Contributors to the volume are Paula Baker, Robert Mutch, Mark Wahlgren Summers, and Julian E. Zelizer.

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Ruling Passions

Political Economy in Nineteenth-Century America

Edited by Richard R. John

In recent years, the Journal of Policy History has emerged as a major venue for scholarship on American policy history in the period after 1900. Indeed, it is for this reason that it is often praised as the leading outlet for scholarship on American political history in the world. Only occasionally, however, has it featured essays on the early republic, the Civil War, or the post–Civil War era. And when it has, the essays have often focused on partisan electioneering rather than on governmental institutions. The rationale for this special issue of the Journal of Policy History is to expand the intellectual agenda of policy history backward in time, so as to embrace more fully the history of governmental institutions in the period before 1900. The six essays in this volume contain much that will be new even for specialists in nineteenth-century American policy history, yet they are written in a style that is intended to be accessible to college undergraduates and historians unfamiliar with the period.

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