The American Congress: The Building of Democracy

The American Congress: The Building of Democracy

by Julian E. Zelizer
Pub. Date:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

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The American Congress: The Building of Democracy

Congress is the heart and soul of our democracy, the place where interests are brokered, laws are established, and innovation is turned into concrete action. It is also where some of democracy's greatest virtues clash with its worst vices: idealism and compromise meet corruption and bitter partisanship. The American Congress unveils the rich and varied history of this singular institution.
Julian E. Zelizer has gathered together forty essays by renowned historians to capture the full drama, landmark legislation, and most memorable personalities of Congress. Organized around four major periods of congressional history, from the signing of the Constitution to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, this volume brings a fresh perspective to familiar watershed events: the Civil War, Watergate, the Vietnam War. It also gives a behind-the-scenes look at lesser-known legislation debated on the House and Senate floors, such as westward expansion and war powers control. Here are the stories behind the 1868 vote to impeach President Andrew Johnson; the rise of Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress and a leading advocate for pacifism; and the controversy surrounding James Eastland of Mississippi, who carried civil rights bills in his pockets so they could not come up for a vote. Sidebars further spotlight notables including Huey Long, Sam Rayburn, and Tip O'Neill, bringing the sweeping history of our lawmaking bodies into sharp focus.
If you've ever wondered how Congress worked in the past or what our elected officials do today, this book gives the engaging, often surprising, answers.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780618179060
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 09/28/2004
Pages: 784
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 2.18(d)

Table of Contents

Contents contributors ix acknowledgments xi introduction xiii PART I: THE FORMATIVE ERA, 1780s–1820s 1. From the Old Congress to the New JACK N. RAKOVE 6 2. Opening Congress JOANNE BARRIE FREEMAN 25 3. Democracy, Gentility, and Lobbying in the Early U.S. Congress JEFFREY L. PASLEY 38 4. The Alien and Sedition Acts ALAN TAYLOR 63 5. The Early Impact of Slavery ROBIN L. EINHORN 77 6. The War of 1812 DONALD R. HICKEY 93 7. Congress, Internal Improvement, and the Problem of Governance JOHN LAURITZ LARSON 112 PART II: THE PARTISAN ERA, 1830s–1900s 8. Congress in a Partisan Political Era JOEL H. SILBEY 139 9. The Bank War DANIEL FELLER 153 10. Territorial Expansion BARTHOLOMEW H. SPARROW 168 11. The Slavery Issue MICHAEL F. HOLT 189 12. The Civil War MARK E. NEELY, JR. 207 13. Reconstruction BROOKS D. SIMPSON 223 14. The Press Coverage of Congress: Reporting Johnson’s Impeachment DONALD A. RITCHIE 239 15. White Supremacy JANE DAILEY 250 16. The American West WILLIAM DEVERELL 268 17. Railroad Policy K. AUSTIN KERR 285 18. Industrialization RICHARD BENSEL 298 PART III: THE COMMITTEE ERA, 1910s–1960s 19. The Transformation of the Congressional Experience ERIC RAUCHWAY 319 20. Economic Regulation in the Progressive Era ELIZABETH SANDERS 337 21. Redesigning Congress: The Seventeenth and Twentieth Amendments to the Constitution DAVID E. KYVIG 356 22. Women’s Activism ALISON M. PARKER 370 23. The Transformation of American Immigration Policy DANIEL J. TICHENOR 395 24. Prohibition THOMAS R. PEGRAM 411 25. The First World War JOSEPH A. MCCARTIN 428 26. The Forgotten New Deal Congress PATRICK MANEY 446 27. World War II: Conservatism and Constituency Politics ALONZO L. HAMBY 474 28. The Cold War RANDALL BENNETT WOODS 493 29. McCarthyism in Congress: Investigating Communism DONALD A. RITCHIE 515 30. The Second Reconstruction TIMOTHY N. THURBER 529 31. The Warren Court and the Political Process L. A. POWE, JR. 548 32. The Great Society EDWARD D. BERKOWITZ 566 33. The Vietnam War FREDRIK LOGEVALL 584 34. The Environment PAUL C. MILAZZO 601 PART IV: THE CONTEMPORARY ERA, 1970s–Today 35. Congressional Reform BARBARA SINCLAIR 625 36. Restraining the Imperial Presidency: Congress and Watergate BRUCE J. SCHULMAN 638 37. Congress and the Media MICHAEL SCHUDSON 650 38. Congress and the Budget Since 1974 ERIC PATASHNIK 668 39. War Power LOUIS FISHER 687 40. When Republicans Become Revolutionaries: Conservatives in Congress DONALD T. CRITCHLOW 703 index 732 illustration credits 766

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