American Federalism: A Concise Introduction / Edition 1

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More About This Textbook


Understanding federalism - the form of political organization that unites separate polities within an overarching political system so that all maintain their political integrity - is central to the study of democratic government in the United States. Yet, many political scientists treat federalism as a set of abstract principles or a maze of budgetary transfers with little connection to real political life. This concise and engaging book boils the discussion down to its essence: federalism is about power, specifically the tug for power among and within the various levels of government. Author Larry N. Gerston examines the historical and philosophical underpinnings of federalism; the various "change events" that have been involved in defining America's unique set of federal principles over time; and the vertical, horizontal, and international dimensions of federalism in the United States today. The result is a book examining the ways in which institutional political power is both diffused and concentrated in the United States.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765616722
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 2/15/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 197
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Part I. Creating a New Nation; 1. The Great Political Experiment; Defining Federalism and Organized Power in the "First New Nation";
• Endless Nuances;
• The Four Characteristics of Federalism;
• Fluidity and Continuity;
• Follow the Bouncing Ball - The Uncertainties of Federalism;
• Outcomes of Federalism;
• Looking Ahead; 2. Reordering the Rules on Power and Governance; Questioning the Traditional Rules on Power and Governance;
• New Theories and the Old Regime: Sowing the Seeds of Change;
• The Articles of Confederation - First Effort at Self-Governance;
• The Constitutional Convention - Second Effort at Self-Governance;
• From the Past to the Present; Part II. Organizing a Federal System of Government; 3. The Appeal of Tradition; Tradition: The Conservative Ethic in America;
• To Trust or Not to Trust the People - Conflicting Themes;
• The Constitution: Assigned Powers and Early Interpretations;
• Pitting Liberty Against Equality?;
• Tradition, Yes, But What Tradition?; 4. Institutional Change Agents: Political Wellsprings; The Courts as Change Agents;
• The President as a Change Agent;
• Congress as a Change Agent;
• National Institutions on the March; 5. Informal Pressures on the Power Flow; Political Parties;
• Interest Groups;
• Bureaucracy: Pushing From the Periphery of Power;
• Public Opinion;
• Informal Pressures: Ambiguous but Real; Part III. The Dimensions of Modern Federalism; 6. Vertical Federalism; National/State Relations;
• National/Local Federalism;
• State/Local Relations;
• National/Private Sector Relations;
• Vertical Federalism in Perspective; 7. Horizontal Federalism: Arrangements Among the States; State Political Cultures in the Federal Framework;
• Public Opinion and Policy Differences;
• State-to-State Competition;
• Regional Cooperation;
• Horizontal Federalism in the Twenty-first Century; 8. The International Dimension of Federalism; The Many Faces of Globalization;
• Immigration;
• Security;
• International Dimensions in a Domestic Context; Part IV. Continuity and Change; 9. Explaining Federalism in the Twenty-first Century; Problem-Solving in a Defined Political Structure;
• Emerging Themes, New Directions, Unanswered Questions;
• The Future of American Federalism.
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