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date: 15 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

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.

Keywords: interest groups, lobbyist, social movements, representation, mobilization, association, Tocqueville, inequality, race, gender

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