The State of Democracy in America

William J. Crotty, Editor

"A thoughtful, challenging, and critical analysis of contemporary American democracy."
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In this wide-ranging assessment of democracy in America today, fifteen respected scholars of American politics chart the strengths and weaknesses of the nation’s democratic mechanisms and outline the challenges that lie ahead. They focus not on specific policies or elections but on the quality of American political life, the representativeness of its governing institutions, and the issues of racial and economic equity.

The contributors cover a broad spectrum of the American political process. Topics include the extent and nature of political participation, the relevance of political parties, political fundraising and its policy consequences, demographic change and its likely effect on the national political agenda, and the future of racial politics. Others explore how representative Congress really is today, how the market economy affects public policy, the use of impeachment as a political weapon, and the degree of corporate influence on the political process. A final chapter explores the circumstances likely to shape policy agendas over the course of the twenty-first century.

Taken together, these essays provide a clear picture of political evolution during the past fifty years and discuss possible problems and issues of the future. Written for advanced undergraduate and graduate students, the book is a thoughtful, well-documented, critical analysis of contemporary American democracy.

Table of Contents


1. Politics and Policy for a New Century
Michael S. Dukakis, Northeastern University

2. Introduction: Perspectives on an Evolving Democratic Experiment in a New Century (and Millennium)
William Crotty, Northeastern University

3. Political Mobilization in America
M. Margaret Conway, University of Florida

4. Public Support for the Party System in the United States
Diana Owen, Georgetown University; Jack Dennis, University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Casey A. Klofstad, Harvard University

5. Party Relevance over Time
William Crotty, Northeastern University

6. Does Congress Represent the American People
Donald R. Matthews, University of Washington

7. The Enduring Dilemma of Political Tolerancee in American Political History
George E. Marcus, Williams College

8. The Future of Racial Politics: Beyond: Beyond Fatalism
Edward G. Carmines, Indiana University, and Paul M. Sniderman, Stanford University

9. The Limits of the Market: New Examinations of an Old Problem
Betty Glad, University of South Carolina

10. Crossroads Blues: Business Representation, Public Policy, and Economic Growth for the Twenty-First Century
Cathie Jo Martin, Boston University

11. Blowing Smoke: Impeachment, the Clinton Presidency, and the Political Economy
Thomas Ferguson, University of Massachusetts at Boston

12. The Battle between Issue Expanders and Containers: The Elderly behind the Wheel in the Twenty-First Century
Roger W. Cobb, Brown University, and Joesph F. Coughlin, Massachusetts Institute of Technology




"A thoughtful, challenging, and critical analysis of contemporary American democracy."—Democratization

"This book brilliantly dissects the achievements and limitations of our American democracy today. A must-read for those who wish to rethink our democratic foundations."—James MacGregor Burns, Williams College


Jack Dennis Michael S. Dukakis Edward G. Carmines Roger W. Cobb M. Margaret Conway Joseph F. Coughlin William Crotty Thomas Ferguson Betty Glad Casey A. Klofstad George E. Marcus Cathie Jo Martin Donald R. Matthews Diana Owen Paul M. Sniderman

Supplemental Materials


About the Author

William J. Crotty is Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in Public Life, director of the O’Neill Center for the Study of Democracy, and professor of political science at Northeastern University. His books include The Politics of Presidential Selection (HarperCollins, 1996) and the four-volume Political Science: Looking to the Future (Northwestern University Press, 1991).

250 pp., 7 x 10

Aug 2001

250 pp., 7 x 10

ISBN: 978-0-87840-861-0
Aug 2001

250 pp.

ISBN: 978-1-58901-468-8
Aug 2001

Essential Texts in American Government series

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