The contributors, who represent the leading new voices in the revitalized field of American political history, offer original interpretations of the nation's political past by blending methodological insights from the new institutionalism in the social sciences and studies of political culture. They tackle topics as wide-ranging as the role of personal character of political elites in the Early Republic, to the importance of courts in building a modern regulatory state, to the centrality of local political institutions in the late twentieth century. Placing these essays side by side encourages the asking of new questions about the forces that have shaped American politics over time. An unparalleled example of the new political history in action, this book will be vastly influential in the field.
In addition to the editors, the contributors are Brian Balogh, Sven Beckert, Rebecca Edwards, Joanne B. Freeman, Richard R. John, Ira Katznelson, James T. Kloppenberg, Matthew D. Lassiter, Thomas J. Sugrue, Michael Vorenberg, and Michael Willrich.
The Presidency of George W. Bush features contributions by Mary L. Dudziak, Gary Gerstle, David Greenberg, Meg Jacobs, Michael Kazin, Kevin M. Kruse, Nelson Lichtenstein, Fredrik Logevall, Timothy Naftali, James T. Patterson, and the book's editor, Julian E. Zelizer. Each chapter tackles some important aspect of Bush's administration--such as presidential power, law, the war on terror, the Iraq invasion, economic policy, and religion--and helps readers understand why Bush made the decisions he did. Taking readers behind the headlines of momentous events, the contributors show how the quandaries of the Bush presidency were essentially those of conservatism itself, which was confronted by the hard realities of governance. They demonstrate how in fact Bush frequently disappointed the Right, and how Barack Obama's 2008 election victory cast the very tenets of conservatism in doubt.
History will be the ultimate judge of Bush's legacy, and the assessment begins with this book.
In the face of recent proposals for dramatic and far-reaching tax reform, Taxing America takes a critical look at the way the federal government collects its revenue and exposes the bias at the heart of a system which claims to be objective and fair. Contrary to traditional tax scholarship, these writers argue that an awareness of disability discrimination, economic exploitation, heterosexism, sexism and racism is crucial to any analysis of tax policy.
Gathering together essays whose topics range from federal housing policy to environmental clean-up costs to tax treaty policy making, Karen B. Brown and Mary Louise Fellows present a philosophy that is as simple as it is radical: economic arrangements contribute significantly to the creation of social hierarchies and the perpetuation of discrimination. Given this reality, Brown and Fellows maintain that the goal of the federal tax law should be social justice and the disruption of discriminatory and exploitative practices.
Some of the contributions in America at the Ballot Box focus on elections that resulted in dramatic political change, including Jefferson's defeat of Adams in 1800, the 1860 election of Lincoln, and Reagan's 1980 landslide victory. Others concentrate on contests whose importance lies more in the way they illuminate the broad, underlying processes of political change, such as the corruption controversy of Cleveland's acrimonious election in 1884 or the advent of television advertising during the 1952 campaign, when Eisenhower defeated Stevenson. Another set of essays takes a thematic approach, exploring the impact of foreign relations, Anglophobia, and political communications over long periods of electoral time. Uniting all of the chapters is the common conviction that elections provide a unique vantage point from which to view the American political system.
Ranging from landmark contests to less influential victories and defeats, the essays by leading political historians seek to rehabilitate the historical significance of presidential elections and integrate them into the broader evolution of American government, policies, and politics.
Contributors: Brian Balogh, Gareth Davies, Meg Jacobs, Richard R. John, Kevin M. Kruse, Jeffrey L. Pasley, Andrew Preston, Elizabeth Sanders, Bruce J. Schulman, Jay Sexton, Adam I. P. Smith, Sean Wilentz, Julian E. Zelizer.
In 1973, the Arab OPEC cartel banned the export of oil to the United States, sending prices and tempers rising across the country. Dark Christmas trees, lowered thermostats, empty gas tanks, and the new fifty-five-mile-per-hour speed limit all suggested that America was a nation in decline. “Don’t be fuelish” became the national motto. Though the embargo would end the following year, it introduced a new kind of insecurity into American life—an insecurity that would only intensify when the Iranian Revolution led to new shortages at the end of the decade.
As Meg Jacobs shows, the oil crisis had a decisive impact on American politics. If Vietnam and Watergate taught us that our government lied, the energy crisis taught us that our government didn’t work. Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Carter promoted ambitious energy policies that were meant to rally the nation and end its dependence on foreign oil, but their efforts came to naught. The Democratic Party was divided, with older New Deal liberals who prized access to affordable energy squaring off against young environmentalists who pushed for conservation. Meanwhile, conservative Republicans argued that there would be no shortages at all if the government got out of the way and let the market work. The result was a political stalemate and panic across the country: miles-long gas lines, Big Oil conspiracy theories, even violent strikes by truckers.
Jacobs concludes that the energy crisis of the 1970s became, for many Americans, an object lesson in the limitations of governmental power. Washington proved unable to design an effective national energy policy, and the result was a mounting skepticism about government intervention that set the stage for the rise of Reaganism. She offers lively portraits of key figures, from Nixon and Carter to the zealous energy czar William Simon and the young Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney. Jacobs’s absorbing chronicle ends with the 1991 Gulf War, when President George H. W. Bush sent troops to protect the free flow of oil in the Persian Gulf. It was a failure of domestic policy at home that helped precipitate military action abroad. As we face the repercussions of a changing climate, a volatile oil market, and continued turmoil in the Middle East, Panic at the Pump is a necessary and lively account of a formative period in American political history.