Arizona Politics and Government: The Quest for Autonomy, Democracy, and Development

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Arizona Politics and Government analyzes the development and operation of one of the country’s fastest-growing states. David R. Berman cogently explains the distinctive history and culture of Arizona politics, thoroughly describing the development, structure, and operation of major components of the governing system.

According to Berman, three forces have shaped the history, structure, and present character of Arizona politics: autonomy, the push for democracy, and economic development. Arizonans’ belief in autonomy, derived from the traditional western individualism of settlers, has deeply influenced the role of their government, their views of outsiders, and intergovernmental relations. Concerns about democracy produced several progressive reforms in the early twentieth century, heightened awareness of the dangers of special-interest influence and corruption, and resulted in a long struggle to open the political system. A quest for economic development has been another major force in state politics, becoming especially significant during the last few decades.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

David R. Berman is a professor of political science at Arizona State University. He is the author of Reformers, Corporations, and the Electorate: An Analysis of Arizona’s Age of Reform and American Government, Politics, and Policy Making. Daniel J. Elazar is a professor of political science at Temple University and Bar-Ilan University and the director of the Center for the Study of Federalism.
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Table of Contents

List of Tables and Maps
Series Preface
Series Introduction
Introduction 1
1 The Arizona Polity: Images, Cultures, Regimes 7
2 Constitutional Foundations: From Territory to State 24
3 Changing Regimes: Parties, Groups, Policies 41
4 Contemporary Politics: Mixing the Old and New 57
5 The Experiment in Democracy 74
6 Representative Government: Legislators and Lawmaking 92
7 The Governor: Managerial Values, Leadership, Politics 108
8 Judges, Politics, Law, and Order 126
9 Domestic Policy: Budgeting, Taxing, Spending 141
10 Foreign Policy: The Feds and Mexico 159
11 The State, Localities, and Indian Tribes 175
12 Concluding Note: The Arizona Past, Present, and Future 194
13 Further Research and Reading 198
Notes 209
Index 241
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  • Posted December 22, 2009

    Arizona Politics and Government

    This title was published as the eighteenth book of the University of Nebraska series on Politics and Government of the American States. Over twenty states have now been covered in the series, which is aimed to provide academics and general public alike with an account of the specific character of each state - its political culture, traditions and practices, constituencies and interest groups, constitutional and institutional frameworks. The work does not have a substantive account of how Arizona development related to the founding and evolution of the federal constitution, and similarly does not incorporate a general historical analysis on an international scale. The theoretical basis of the approach taken is limited to the analysis of political culture in works by Daniel J. Elazar and John Kincaid, and against this background it is asserted that 'general political culture is a synthesis of three political subcultures - individualistic, moralistic and traditionalistic.' Notwithstanding these limitations the work has a fairly detailed account of the state's history, from foundation in 1912 to the end of the last century. The Arizona constitution incorporates ideas of 'direct democracy' regarding the use of referenda and the right to recall elected officials promoted during the Progressive era in American politics. A device entitled 'the initiative' enables such matters to be put directly to the electorate by means of a petition if it is supported by from 5% to 25% of citizens who voted in the last relevant election. The petition triggers a referendum on the matter at hand such that officials can be removed from office and legislation can be nullified. Arizonians have a healthily Jeffersonian distrust for judicial aristocracy, and juries have consequently more powers than in any other state, including the right to question witnesses. Local authorities in Arizona have similarly augmented powers and enjoy greater rights to sovereignty than in most other states. Nevertheless influences of individualistic commercial greed and deference to traditionalist southern elites have conspired to allow a series of largely secretive, growth obsessed regimes to flout local sentiment and set a breakneck pace of economic growth and immigration such that much of the state's natural beauty has disappeared beneath a vast sprawl of urban development. Though acknowledging the way in which the party system itself tends to engender extremes in political culture the book has a complacent view of factional polarization, and appears to assume some sort of non existent consensus on the supposedly 'borderless' status of relations with Mexico. This unreal aspect of Berman's analysis is a function of its limited theoretical foundation.

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