In recent years, the study of American political history has experienced a remarkable renaissance. After decades during which the subject fell out of fashion and disappeared from public view, it has returned to prominence as the study of American history has shifted its focus back to politics broadly defined. In this book, one of the leaders of the resurgence in American political history, Julian Zelizer, assesses its revival and demonstrates how this work not only illuminates the past but also helps us better understand American politics today.
Governing America addresses issues of wide interest, including the rise of the welfare state, the development of modern conservatism, the history of Congress, the struggle over campaign finance, changing views about presidential power, and national security. Throughout, it addresses four big questions: How have interpretations of American political history changed over time? How have taxes and budgets constrained policymakers? How have changes in the political process defined historical eras? And how have policy and politics interacted on decisions like going to war?
Zelizer's answers to these questions are fresh and often surprising, providing compelling new perspectives on modern American politics.
Julian E. Zelizer is professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. His most recent books include Jimmy Carter, Arsenal of Democracy, and The Presidency of George W. Bush (Princeton). He is a regular contributor to CNN.com and Politico and has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and many other publications.
"This exhilarating volume deserves a broad readership. It is first and foremost invaluable to graduate students and historians exploring new approaches to American political history. Secondly, it reveals to political scientists the worth of political history, beyond furnishing the raw data for political analysis. Thirdly, it suggests ways in which public historians and policymakers might collaborate in policymaking. Finally, the essays are accessible enough to appeal to the general reader interested in the historical development of modern American politics. Above all, Zelizer's work exemplifies and validates historians' rediscovery of the importance of American politics, albeit more broadly defined than before, as well as vindicates political scientists' recent and continued interest in American history."--Eleanor Thompson, LSE Politics and Policy blog
"Governing America offers us an opportunity to observe one of the country's best political historians working at the top of his game. Zelizer's range is extraordinary, and he brings a penetrating intelligence to every topic he touches. No scholar working today has a better grasp of how the key institutions of American democracy, notably the Congress and the Presidency, have evolved over time, and how they have translated political demands emanating from society into state policy. A tour de force."--Gary Gerstle, Vanderbilt University
"Presidential power, congressional committees, national security--such are the daily bread of American political life but not the usual preoccupations of historians. Julian Zelizer has built a stunning career around probing how political institutions and policies have mattered historically. These fine essays show him singlehandedly breathing new life into political history."--Lizabeth Cohen, author of A Consumers' Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America
Table of Contents
Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Julian E. Zelizer: