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How Congress Evolves

Author: Nelson W. Polsby
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0195346076
Size: 33.98 MB
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From the end of the New Deal until quite recently, the U.S. House of Representatives was dominated by a conservative coalition that thwarted the Democratic majority and prevented the enactment of measures proposed by a succession of liberal Presidents. Today Presidents aren't necessarily liberal and the House of Representatives is not necessarily the graveyard of presidential proposals. What happened? Congress evolved. It all began with airconditioning. In this entertaining tale of one of our most august institutions, Nelson Polsby describes how the Democratic majority finally succeeded in overcoming the conservative coalition, changing the House. The evolution required among other things, the disappearance of Dixiecrats from the House Democratic caucus. Dixiecrats were replaced by the rise of the Republican party in the south. The Republican party in southern states was strengthened by an influx of migrants from the north, who came south to settle after the introduction of residential air conditioning, which made the climate more tolerable to Northerners. This evolutionary process led to the House's liberalization and concluded with the House's later transformation into an arena of sharp partisanship, visible among both Democrats and Republicans. A fascinating read by one of our most influential political scientists, How Congress Evolves breathes new life into the dusty corners of institutional history, and offers a unique explanation for important transformations in the congressional environment.

One Nation Under Siege

Author: Jocelyn Evans
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
ISBN: 0813173825
Size: 29.25 MB
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Following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, America’s political institutions underwent radical changes as they adapted to comprehensive security reforms. While the media exhaustively covered new security protocols in the executive office, little attention was paid to other federal agencies and branches that overhauled their systems to accommodate heightened security requirements. As a congressional fellow living in Washington, D.C., Jocelyn Jones Evans was an eyewitness to the institutional culture of Capitol Hill before and after the 9/11 terrorist attacks as well as during the subsequent anthrax scare. In One Nation Under Siege: Congress, Terrorism, and the Fate of American Democracy, Evans uses her personal experiences as the foundation for a richly researched analysis of how Congress changed as an institution and a national symbol in the wake of 9/11. Evans reveals not only physical transformations but also internal policy shifts that threaten democracy by limiting citizens’ access to their elected leaders. The only comprehensive study of the effects of terrorism on the nation’s capital, One Nation Under Siege provides a detailed investigation of how the nation’s intricate political system adapted in times of crisis. It covers an essential chapter in the social and political history of the United States.

Legislating International Organization

Author: Kathryn C. Lavelle
Publisher: OUP USA
ISBN: 0199765340
Size: 71.57 MB
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In Legislating International Organization, Kathryn Lavelle argues against the commonly-held idea that key international organizations are entities unto themselves, immune from the influence and pressures of individual states' domestic policies. Covering the history of the IMF and World Bank from their origins, she shows that domestic political constituencies in advanced industrial states have always been important drivers of international financial institution policy. Lavelle focuses in particular on the U.S. Congress, tracing its long history of involvement with these institutions and showing how it wields significant influence. Drawing from archival research and interviews with members and staff, Lavelle shows that Congress is not particularly hostile to the multilateralism inherent in the IMF and World Bank, and has championed them at several key historical junctures. Congress is not uniformly supportive of these institutions, however. As Lavelle illustrates, it is more defensive of its constitutionally designated powers and more open to competing interest group concerns than legislatures in other advanced industrial states. Legislating International Organization will reshape how we think about how the U.S. Congress interacts with international institutions and more broadly about the relationship of domestic politics to global governance throughout the world. This is especially relevant given the impact of 2008 financial crisis, which has made the issue of multilateralism in American politics more important than ever.

The Revolutionary Constitution

Author: David J. Bodenhamer
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 019991303X
Size: 45.23 MB
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The framers of the Constitution chose their words carefully when they wrote of a more perfect union--not absolutely perfect, but with room for improvement. Indeed, we no longer operate under the same Constitution as that ratified in 1788, or even the one completed by the Bill of Rights in 1791--because we are no longer the same nation. In The Revolutionary Constitution, David J. Bodenhamer provides a comprehensive new look at America's basic law, integrating the latest legal scholarship with historical context to highlight how it has evolved over time. The Constitution, he notes, was the product of the first modern revolution, and revolutions are, by definition, moments when the past shifts toward an unfamiliar future, one radically different from what was foreseen only a brief time earlier. In seeking to balance power and liberty, the framers established a structure that would allow future generations to continually readjust the scale. Bodenhamer explores this dynamic through seven major constitutional themes: federalism, balance of powers, property, representation, equality, rights, and security. With each, he takes a historical approach, following their changes over time. For example, the framers wrote multiple protections for property rights into the Constitution in response to actions by state governments after the Revolution. But twentieth-century courts--and Congress--redefined property rights through measures such as zoning and the designation of historical landmarks (diminishing their commercial value) in response to the needs of a modern economy. The framers anticipated just such a future reworking of their own compromises between liberty and power. With up-to-the-minute legal expertise and a broad grasp of the social and political context, this book is a tour de force of Constitutional history and analysis.

Rule And Ruin

Author: Geoffrey Kabaservice
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199912904
Size: 27.98 MB
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The chaotic events leading up to Mitt Romney's defeat in the 2012 election indicated how far the Republican Party had rocketed rightward away from the center of public opinion. Republicans in Congress threatened to shut down the government and force a U.S. debt default. Tea Party activists mounted primary challenges against Republican officeholders who appeared to exhibit too much pragmatism or independence. Moderation and compromise were dirty words in the Republican presidential debates. The GOP, it seemed, had suddenly become a party of ideological purity. Except this development is not new at all. In Rule and Ruin, Geoffrey Kabaservice reveals that the moderate Republicans' downfall began not with the rise of the Tea Party but about the time of President Dwight Eisenhower's farewell address. Even in the 1960s, when left-wing radicalism and right-wing backlash commanded headlines, Republican moderates and progressives formed a powerful movement, supporting pro-civil rights politicians like Nelson Rockefeller and William Scranton, battling big-government liberals and conservative extremists alike. But the Republican civil war ended with the overthrow of the moderate ideas, heroes, and causes that had comprised the core of the GOP since its formation. In hindsight, it is today's conservatives who are "Republicans in Name Only." Writing with passionate sympathy for a bygone tradition of moderation, Kabaservice recaptures a time when fiscal restraint was matched with social engagement; when a cohort of leading Republicans opposed the Vietnam war; when George Romney--father of Mitt Romney--conducted a nationwide tour of American poverty, from Appalachia to Watts, calling on society to "listen to the voices from the ghetto." Rule and Ruin is an epic, deeply researched history that reorients our understanding of our political past and present. Today, following the Republicans' loss of the popular vote in five of the last six presidential contests, moderates remain marginalized in the GOP and progressives are all but nonexistent. In this insightful and elegantly argued book, Kabaservice contends that their decline has left Republicans less capable of governing responsibly, with dire consequences for all Americans. He has added a new afterword that considers the fallout from the 2012 elections.

How We Got To Now

Author: Steven Johnson
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 0698154509
Size: 74.16 MB
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From the New York Times–bestselling author of Where Good Ideas Come From and Farsighted, a new look at the power and legacy of great ideas. In this illustrated history, Steven Johnson explores the history of innovation over centuries, tracing facets of modern life (refrigeration, clocks, and eyeglass lenses, to name a few) from their creation by hobbyists, amateurs, and entrepreneurs to their unintended historical consequences. Filled with surprising stories of accidental genius and brilliant mistakes—from the French publisher who invented the phonograph before Edison but forgot to include playback, to the Hollywood movie star who helped invent the technology behind Wi-Fi and Bluetooth—How We Got to Now investigates the secret history behind the everyday objects of contemporary life. In his trademark style, Johnson examines unexpected connections between seemingly unrelated fields: how the invention of air-conditioning enabled the largest migration of human beings in the history of the species—to cities such as Dubai or Phoenix, which would otherwise be virtually uninhabitable; how pendulum clocks helped trigger the industrial revolution; and how clean water made it possible to manufacture computer chips. Accompanied by a major six-part television series on PBS, How We Got to Now is the story of collaborative networks building the modern world, written in the provocative, informative, and engaging style that has earned Johnson fans around the globe.

Reclaiming Conservatism

Author: Mickey Edwards
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199887357
Size: 27.18 MB
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A leading figure in the American conservative movement for over 40 years, Mickey Edwards was a prominent Republican congressman, a former national chairman of the American Conservative Union, and a founding trustee of the Heritage Foundation. When he speaks, conservatives listen. Now, in this highly provocative and frank volume, Edwards argues loud and clear that conservatives today have abandoned their principles and have become champions of that which they once most feared. The conservative movement--which once nominated Barry Goldwater for President, and later elected Ronald Reagan--was based on a distinctly American kind of conservatism which drew its inspiration directly from the United States Constitution--in particular, an overriding belief in individual liberty and limited government. But today, Edwards argues, the mantle of conservatism has been taken over by people whose beliefs and policies threaten the entire constitutional system of government. By abetting an imperial presidency, he contends, so-called "conservatives" have gutted the system of checks and balances, abandoned due process, and trampled upon our cherished civil liberties. Today's conservatives endorse unprecedented assertions of government power--from the creation of secret prisons to illegal wiretapping. Once, they fought to protect citizens from government intrusion; today, they seem to recognize few limits on what government can do. The movement that was once the Constitution's--and freedom's--strongest defender is now at risk of becoming its most dangerous enemy. Edwards ends with a blueprint for reclaiming the essence of conservatism in America. Touching upon many current issues, this passionately argued book concludes that many of today's conservatives seem to have it all backwards. They have turned conservatism upside down--and this book calls them on it.

The Challenge Of Congressional Representation

Author: Richard F. Fenno
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674074300
Size: 54.14 MB
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At a moment when Congress is viewed by a skeptical public as hyper-partisan and dysfunctional, Richard Fenno provides a variegated picture of American representational politics. The Challenge of Congressional Representation offers an up-close-and-personal look at the complex relationship between members of Congress and their constituents back home.

The Politics Of Congressional Elections

Author: Gary C. Jacobson
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 1442252634
Size: 29.76 MB
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Gary Jacobson’s classic text provides students with a comprehensive introduction to congressional elections and the electoral process. Based on the latest data from the National Election Study, the Cooperative Congressional Elections Study, and the Federal Election Commission, the Ninth Edition has been brought completely up to date, including coverage and analysis of the 2012 and 2014 elections. New coauthor, Professor Jamie L. Carson of the University of Georgia, brings to bear new insights into the changing roles of voters, Congress, political parties, and the media. Pairing historical data analysis and original research with fundamental concepts of representation and responsibility, The Politics of Congressional Elections presents students with the tools to evaluate representative government, as well as their own role in the electoral process.