Tasha S. Philpot and Hanes Walton Jr.
This chapter describes the evolution of African-American political participation. Beginning with early findings in Black political participation, it discusses the major paradigm shifts in this research and their catalysts. The chapter concludes by providing a roadmap for future research in the field.
Alberta M. Sbragia
This article provides an analysis of the shape of American federalism. The first section looks at territorial politics, and is followed by a discussion of territorial governments and representation. Territorial interest, public policy, and intergovernmental relations are the topics of the next two sections. The nationalization of policy, money and regulation, and intergovernmental lobbying are discussed in the last sections of the chapter. It concludes with an argument that the conflict between territorial and functional politics actually lies at the heart of the politics of federalism in the United States.
John Witte Jr.
This article compares the modern American religious liberty law with the prevailing international perspective on religious law. This comparative analysis enlightens, from a fresh perspective, the validity and the utility of one's own legal norms and practices, and provides an idea on how to reform them. Such legal comparative analysis is particularly helpful in the time of transition of the First Amendment Law. Moreover, most of what appears in modern international human rights reflects the American constitutional learning on religious liberty. To compare the First Amendment Law with the international norms is to judge the American law by a standard of religious liberty that it has helped to shape. It is also to judge America by the same international standard that the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Office and Commission of International Religious Freedom now use each year to judge the policies and laws of all other nations. In addition, most of the international legal principles also help to confirm, refine, and integrate the prevailing First Amendment principles and cases. The principles of liberty of conscience, religious equality, and free exercise within the context of international human rights offer a sample for the integration of the American free exercise and establishment rules. What follows in the succeeding sections of this article are the main teachings of the international human rights documents on religious liberty and the divergence and convergence of the First Amendment and related American laws on religious liberty to these international parameters.
Desmond King and Robert Lieberman
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.
Canada and the U.S. emerged as close military allies in World War II, a partnership that was deepened and institutionalized during the Cold War years of the 1950s. This was the era of the special relationship. Joined at the hip by geography, history, and economics, relations between the two nations were marked by quiet diplomacy that was founded on close personal contacts and shared understandings. This special relationship was nurtured by the intimacy of a vast network of linkages across the Canada–U.S. border, but it turned out to be a short moment for the history of Canada–U.S. relations. The asymmetry to the supposed bilateral relationship of the nations, wherein the U.S. took a more dominant stance and the ambivalence of many Canadians paved the way for criticisms on the special relationship and quiet diplomacy between the two nations. “Close but not too close”: this has been the predominant view of Canadians to their partner. This article discusses the historical and cultural background of the Canada–U.S. relationship, which is characterized by intimacy, asymmetry, and ambivalence. The article ends with a discussion on the possible future directions of Canada–U.S. relations.
Clyde Wilcox and Sam Potolicchio
This article discusses the Christian Right and their role in some of the church–state issues. In the late 1970s, the Moral Majority and the Christian Right were established. The focus of the Christian Right movement during this period was on the election of Republican candidates and on lobbying GOP policymakers to accomplish its goals. In the 1990s, the Christian Right changed its focus from the church–state separation to the greater free exercise and free speech rights for conservative Christians. Over the last 30 years, the Christian Right has been active in every political and legal dispute of the national church–state domain. It has mobilized conservative Christians, influenced elections, and changed the constitutional interpretation of the church–state issues. The Christian Right sought to reestablish a balance on church–state issues and to represent conservative Christians in the policy process. It also aimed to win a place at the table of policy negotiations and to “take back” America for Christ.
This article examines the history of civil society in the U.S. It explores contemporary civic reorganizations by providing a snapshot of classic U.S. civic democracy and a glimpse at the deep roots of the sorts of interest groups and voluntary organizations that held sway around 1950. It highlights major civic transformations that unfolded in the U.S. after 1960 and evaluates their impact on the broader workings of contemporary American democracy.
Kimberly J. Morgan
The subfields of comparative politics and American political development (APD) have many intellectual affinities, as APD brought many of the questions and methods of comparative politics to the study of the US. In recent years, however, the two subfields have gone down separate research pathways, owing to the decline of political development as an area of study in comparative politics, the growing prevalence of large-N research, and the specialization, and isolation, of academic subfields. However, two areas in which comparative politics and APD have had extensive dialogue—qualitative methodology and the welfare state—show there is much to gain from greater linkages between the two subfields. Fruitful dialogue could take place in other areas, including the study of state-building, democratization, and ethnic politics.
Eric Schickler and Ruth Bloch Rubin
While early works in American political development (APD) incorporated congressional actors in accounts of state-building, policymaking, and social reform, there is a growing body of historically oriented scholarship that places the institution of Congress front and center. We highlight three major streams of contemporary congressional research that engage with APD. The first analyzes the development of congressional institutions, often drawing upon concepts of path dependence and layering to understand the presence or absence of change in legislative operations. Second, several important studies of state-building and policy development highlight the role of congressional actors in driving—or blocking—critical political and social reforms. Finally, new datasets that track congressional elections and roll call voting over long time spans have given rise to a growing literature that uses historical evidence to test contemporary theories of legislative behavior. We close with a discussion of the contributions and pitfalls of using historical evidence in this way.
Burdett A. Loomis
This article explores the core findings and trends within the patchy scholarship that links presidents, lobbying, and interest groups, and then suggests ways for scholars to construct a fuller understanding of the complex and often hidden relationships between the executive and organized interests. Within the political science literature, at least three major perspectives shape analyses of linkages between the presidency and organized interests. There is both a dearth of theory building on relationships between the presidency and organized interests, and a striking lack of information on these linkages, especially the traditional outside-in group activities. The institutions of the presidency and of organized interests represent two elephants, in reasonably close proximity.
The congressional committee defines the motivations behind the decisions on congressional organization. They also play a critical role in shaping policy outcomes and in defining Congress's relationship with the executive branch. Although congressional committees have been central to much research and many studies, the development of the congressional committee system has received less attention. This article traces the literature on committee development. It starts with the studies of the origins of the committee system and discusses the expansion of the system in the nineteenth century and the committee consolidation that took place in the middle decades of the twentieth century. The article concludes with the recent developments on congressional committee. In addition to outlining the development of the congressional committee, the article also considers the changing roles played by committees in congressional politics.
John F. Wilson
This article explores and explains how religious belief and practice related to governmental authority played in the founding of the American nation. From 1774 to 1779, the American nation underwent a period of rebellion, revolution, and nation founding. This period sheds light on how this nation was founded, including the place accorded to religion. Three focal points form the core of this article: 1) how separate colonies dealt with religion as they became states; 2) the minimalist provision crafted for the Constitution proper; and 3) the immediate amendment of the Constitution to include explicit assurances about religion, among other concerns. The first section discusses the challenge of self-rule faced by the new states and the dilemma of what status should be accorded to religion. This discussion sheds light on how the various colonies provided for religion, which introduces the issues that would eventually challenge the nation. By also reviewing the place accorded to religion by the states, the range and variety of religious life in the colonies as they became independent are also illuminated. The second section discusses the religious policy that is embedded in the constitution. It looks at the place of religion in the formation of the national government within the parameters of the constitution. The concluding section discusses the steps taken once the Constitution became effective and the amendments made following the wide-ranging recommendations offered.
Daniel Béland, Christopher Howard, and Kimberly J. Morgan
In the United States, the welfare state has long been a source of political and academic debate, and this volume pulls together much of our current knowledge about its origins, development, functions, and challenges. This introductory chapter provides an overview of the volume’s main themes and sections. For example, many of the following chapters emphasize the public-private mix in social policy, in which the government helps certain groups of citizens directly (e.g., through social insurance) or indirectly (e.g., through tax expenditures and regulations). Many chapters stress disjointed patterns of policy-making, which can lead simultaneously to problems of high cost and low impact on poverty and inequality. Even under a variety of stresses, however, much of the American welfare state remains quite resilient. The contributing authors are experts from political science, sociology, history, economics, and other social sciences.
Eileen McDonagh and Carol Nackenoff
The study of gender in American political development (APD) challenges the efficacy for advancing women’s political inclusion of a liberal tradition valorizing principles of individual equality and positing a separation of the family and the state. Masked are ways in which gender roles and the family are integral to governance and state-building. Gender is both a dependent and an independent variable in APD. Shaped by institutions and policies of the state, it also shapes institutions and policies that promote women’s political citizenship and expand the state’s capacity for social provision—by asserting not only liberal claims of women’s equality with men, but also by invoking maternalist claims based on women’s difference from men, thereby challenging and altering relationships between public and private spheres.
Kenneth R. Mayer
This article discusses the logic of the unilateral powers model. The theory of unilateral presidential action is based on two foundational assumptions. The article also evaluates the state of empirical work on the model's predictions. Then, the unresolved questions that can motivate future research are addressed. Furthermore, a troubling implication of unilateral action theory is presented: the prediction that, over time, presidents will use unilateral action to expand the reach of presidential authority and centralize power within the White House. The theory of unilateral action depicts an institutional struggle, in which presidents compete with Congress for policy control. ‘Unilateral powers’ has become a major research agenda, with a consistent theoretical framework and a strong empirical tradition. Unilateral action raises important questions about the balance of power among the institutions of national government, and the effectiveness of congressional and judicial checks on executive energy.
Scott C. James
This article starts by addressing historical institutionalism and American political development (APD) as analytic approaches to the study of politics. It explores the presidency's distinctive contribution to the politics of regime change. It then deals with the historically changing modalities of governance, isolating developmentally significant moments in the evolution of presidential politics. It separately examines the evolution of ‘plebiscitary politics’ and the rise of an ‘administrative presidency’. Additionally, it argues that a phrase like ‘the political development of the American presidency’ — or any single institution for that matter — is conceptually misguided. By understanding more fully the unique properties and political standing of the concept of presidency, and by examining its changing interface with other rivals for political authority, theorists find themselves in a better position to theorize its manifold contributions to political change.
Most Americans believe that the franchise has steadily and gradually expanded since the Founding. In fact “suffrage politics” has been far more complex and disjointed. This contribution develops a party-centered approach that identifies several types of enfranchisement and disenfranchisement, as well as suffrage regimes–that is, bundles of institutions and election law that are meant to buttress allocations of voting rights. This party-centered approach allows one to grasp that America’s struggles over the right to vote are, in cross-national perspective, not just unusual but highly unusual, and have been a central force in American political development.
This chapter examines the role of interest groups in shaping American social welfare policy. It outlines major theories and findings on interest group influence in American politics and comparative welfare state development and examines the activities and influence of major categories of groups, including business, labor, agriculture, professional associations, intergovernmental organizations, and citizens’ groups. Although many interest groups have helped secure policies that form a limited social safety net, this chapter suggests that the competition among a diverse array of interest groups in a fragmented political system makes policy change difficult. This tendency towards gridlock, which favors the interests of some groups over others, has constrained the size and redistribution of the American welfare state.
Dara Z. Strolovitch and Daniel J. Tichenor
Do interest groups enhance or impede the democratic exercise of power? This chapter addresses this long-debated question by examining what longitudinal and American Political Development (APD) approaches contribute to the study of interest groups and what studies of organized interests illuminate about APD. We survey the dominant approaches to interest groups within political science, examine organized interests and lobbying in the early American republic, and document the rise of the modern interest group system at the beginning of the twentieth century. We then explore the role played by advocacy organizations in the trajectories of progress for marginalized groups. We show that APD scholarship has offered fresh insights about patterns and transformations of American interest group politics, and argue that our understanding of the development of American politics will benefit from more robust conversations between the traditional interest group literature and longitudinal and APD approaches to group politics.
Derek H. Davis
This article discusses law, religion, and politics in the United States. It looks at these issues within the following contexts; 1) separation of the church and state; 2) cooperation between sacred and secular; 3) integration of religion and politics; and 4) accommodation of civil religion. Each of these four categories is important to the overall American public philosophy and to the confusing yet interconnected system that has as its goal the Good Society. Although conflicting in many aspects, the principles of the separation of church and state, cooperation between sacred and secular, integration of religion and politics, and accommodation of civil religion combine to provide a distinctive but significant contribution to America's public philosophy. While the role of religion in American public life has been controversial since its founding and may remain so, the separation–cooperation–integration–accommodation typology described in this article removes some of the hard edges from the controversy as it embraces elements of both conservative and liberal thought, of competing philosophical and theological beliefs, and of argument advanced by the separationists and anti-separationists. Such is the way the democracy should work—disparate elements coming together to produce a common good and to achieve the Good Society.