University Press of Kansas Logo

Contesting Democracy

Substance and Structure in American Political History, 1775–2000

Edited by Byron E. Shafer and Anthony J. Badger

September 2001
288 pages, 6-1/8 x 9-1/4
Cloth ISBN 978-0-7006-1138-6, $35.00
Paper ISBN 978-0-7006-1139-3, $16.95

Book Cover ImageIn this defining statement about the state of the discipline, a "who's who" of prominent scholars addresses and critiques the entire sweep of American political history. Exemplifying the revitalizing power of the "new political history" and its renewed emphasis on large "P" politics, these writers have combined to produce an illuminating synthesis of the most recent work in the field.

Focusing upon both the major policy issues in the politics of each period (substance) and the major social forces shaping politics (structure), these essays chronicle and evaluate the evolution of American politics and society over two and a quarter centuries. In the process, they reflect their authors' strong collective commitment to a dynamic field of intellectual inquiry, while simultaneously highlighting key interpretive disputes within it.

An outstanding summary of current and recent thinking in the field, this book should become an essential volume for scholars and teachers in both history and the social sciences.


State Development in the Early Republic: 1775–1840
Ronald P. Formisano, University of Kentucky

The Nationalization and Racialization of American Politics: 1790–1840
David Waldstreicher, University of Notre Dame

"To One or Another of These Parties Every Man Belongs": 1820–1865
Joel H. Silbey, Cornell University

Change and Continuity in the Party Period: 1835–1885
Michael F. Holt, University of Virginia

The Transformation of American Politics: 1865–1910
Peter H. Argersinger, Southern Illinois University

Democracy, Republicanism, and Efficiency: 1885–1930
Richard Jensen, University of Illinois at Chicago

The Limits of Federal Power and Social Policy: 1910–1955
Anthony J. Badger

The Rise of Rights and Rights Consciousness: 1930–1980
James T. Patterson, Brown University

Economic Growth, Issue Evolution, and Divided Government: 1955–2000
Byron E. Shafer

"A major publishing event in American political history. The flowering of the 'new' political history in the 1970s was followed by a generation of scholarship stressing grassroots non-electoral social movements, masculinized politics and gendered social policies, 'whiteness' studies, the mediating role of civil society, and comparative state-building. Here a parade of leading scholars examines how this research has reshaped our understanding of two centuries of American self-government."--Hugh Davis Graham, author of Civil Rights and the Presidency

"A lively collection of essays that synthesizes what we know about American politics and public policy. Even while disagreeing with each other, the authors develop new ideas about American politics and point to what we don't yet know. A terrific volume."--Paula Baker, author of Moral Frameworks of Public Life

BYRON E. SHAFER is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of American Government at Oxford University. His many books include Quiet Revolution: The Struggle for the Democratic Party and the Shaping of Post-Reform Politics and The Two Majorities and the Puzzle of Modern American Politics.

ANTHONY J. BADGER is Paul Mellon Professor of American History at Cambridge University. He is the author of The New Deal: The Depression Years, 1933–1940 and coeditor, with Eric Foner, of F.D.R.: The First Hundred Days.


Facebook button