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date: 24 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter introduces the complex and extensive scholarly literature that political scientists have generated about the American federal State. It is organized into four sections and begins with the seminal work of political scientist Stephen Skowronek. After specifying the institutional structure of the American federal state, the second section identifies some of the distinctive features of this polity including the development of regulatory commissions, the way in which some agencies such as the Federal Reserve stretch the boundaries of autonomy, and the distinct congressional and judicial constraints shaping the American state. Third, the submerged state is discussed as an example of some key recent contributions about the American state. Last, we write about the challenge of transforming the set of institutions constitutive of the American State into a civil rights enforcing apparatus.

Keywords: state, federalism, “submerged state”, racial hierarchy, African Americans, bureaucracy, regulation, administrative state

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