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To Enlarge the Machinery of Government: Congressional Debates and the Growth of the American State, 1858-1891
     

To Enlarge the Machinery of Government: Congressional Debates and the Growth of the American State, 1858-1891

by Williamjames Hull Hoffer
 

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How did the federal government change from the weak apparatus of the antebellum period to the large, administrative state of the Progressive Era? To Enlarge the Machinery of Government explores the daily proceedings of the U.S. House and Senate from 1858 to 1891 to find answers to this question.

Through close readings of debates centered around

Overview

How did the federal government change from the weak apparatus of the antebellum period to the large, administrative state of the Progressive Era? To Enlarge the Machinery of Government explores the daily proceedings of the U.S. House and Senate from 1858 to 1891 to find answers to this question.

Through close readings of debates centered around sponsorship, supervision, and standardization recorded in the Congressional Globe and Congressional Record during this period, Williamjames Hull Hoffer traces a critical shift in ideas that ultimately ushered in Progressive legislation: the willingness of American citizens to allow, and in fact ask for, federal intervention in their daily lives. He describes this era of congressional thought as a "second state," distinct from both the minimalist approaches that came before and the Progressive state building that developed later. The "second state" era, Hoffer contends, offers valuable insight into how conceptions of American uniqueness contributed to the shape of the federal government.

Editorial Reviews

APSA Legislative Studies Section Newsletter - Matt Field
A lively and engaging account.

Civil War Book Review - D. Michael Bottoms
Hoffer has offered a provocative challenge to the standard telling of American state development and future scholars would do well to take his argument seriously.

American Historical Review - Thomas A. Upchurch
Ideally suited for constitutional scholars in history, political science, and law... Academic and law libraries should definitely add it to their collections.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781421402413
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date:
12/29/2010
Series:
Reconfiguring American Political History
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
280
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

Joel H. Silbey
An interesting and ambitious study. It will be a substantial contribution to the burgeoning fields of political development in political science and policy studies in history. It is sophisticated in its argument and recognizes that history is neither neat nor necessarily linear in the development of institutions and frames of reference.

Meet the Author

Williamjames Hull Hoffer is an assistant professor of history at Seton Hall University and coeditor of The Abortion Rights Controversy in America: A Legal Reader.

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