Why Parties Matter: Political Competition & Democracy in the American South
Since the founding of the American Republic, the North and South have followed remarkably different paths of political development. Among the factors that have led to their divergence throughout much of history are differences in the levels of competition among the political parties. While the North has generally enjoyed a well-defined two-party system, the South has tended to have only weakly developed political parties—and at times no system of parties to speak of.
With Why Parties Matter, John H. Aldrich and John D. Griffin make a compelling case that competition between political parties is an essential component of a democracy that is responsive to its citizens and thus able to address their concerns. Tracing the history of the parties through four eras—the Democratic-Whig party era that preceded the Civil War; the post-Reconstruction period; the Jim Crow era, when competition between the parties virtually disappeared; and the modern era—Aldrich and Griffin show how and when competition emerged between the parties and the conditions under which it succeeded and failed. In the modern era, as party competition in the South has come to be widely regarded as matching that of the North, the authors conclude by exploring the question of whether the South is poised to become a one-party system once again with the Republican party now dominant.
Since its first appearance fifteen years ago, Why Parties? has become essential reading for anyone wishing to understand the nature of American political parties. In the interim, the party system has undergone some radical changes. In this landmark book, now rewritten for the new millennium, John H. Aldrich goes beyond the clamor of arguments over whether American political parties are in resurgence or decline and undertakes a wholesale reexamination of the foundations of the American party system.
Surveying critical episodes in the development of American political parties—from their formation in the 1790s to the Civil War—Aldrich shows how they serve to combat three fundamental problems of democracy: how to regulate the number of people seeking public office, how to mobilize voters, and how to achieve and maintain the majorities needed to accomplish goals once in office. Aldrich brings this innovative account up to the present by looking at the profound changes in the character of political parties since World War II, especially in light of ongoing contemporary transformations, including the rise of the Republican Party in the South, and what those changes accomplish, such as the Obama Health Care plan. Finally, Why Parties? A Second Look offers a fuller consideration of party systems in general, especially the two-party system in the United States, and explains why this system is necessary for effective democracy.
Change and Continuity in the 2012 Elections
Since its first edition in 1980, Change and Continuity has been known for offering the best analysis and explanation of voting behavior in the most recent US elections while setting those results in the context of larger trends and patterns in elections studies. Adopters appreciate how this top-notch author team meticulously explains to undergraduates the import and impact of their analysis of the NES data. The 2012 edition, with its current scholarship and its excellent use and display of data, covers the most recent presidential and Congressional elections, voter turnout, and the social forces, party loyalties, and prominent issues that affect voting behavior.
As with all books in the Change and Continuity series, the authors present election data in a straightforward, accessible manner with an array of thorough, yet student-friendly graphics.
Interdisciplinarity: Its Role in a Discipline-based Academy
At the turn of the twentieth century, colleges and universities in the U.S. and elsewhere were convulsed with change, a change induced by the creation of the modern set of academic disciplines. Their emergence at that time fundamentally altered how universities were constructed and how they did their business. It is the model on which the academy of the twenty-first century operates. Very shortly after the creation of the disciplinary-based academy, pressures began to build, both in the academy and in the society that looked to the academy to help solve pressing social problems, to develop interdisciplinary approaches to address problems that fit poorly within the disciplinary structure. These external and internal forces never fully abated, and peaked after the Second World War. They have peaked again more recently, and the contemporary college and university is therefore a rich amalgam of disciplinary and interdisciplinary units, problems, approaches, and structures. Interdisciplinarity examines the contemporary academy by connecting its disciplinary-based structure with its burgeoning interdisciplinary focus. Part I looks at the value of the disciplinary structure in the contemporary university alongside the motivations that lead to calls for greater interdisciplinary approaches. Part 2 traces the development of external forces, particularly the private and public foundation, that shaped the development of interdisciplinary scholarship in the twentieth century. The final two sections examine in detail interdisciplinary education and the organization of university-based interdisciplinary research.
Positive Changes in Political Science: The Legacy of Richard D. McKelvey’s Most Influential Writings
Richard D. McKelvey was a pioneer in the use of mathematical modeling for understanding the nature of political choices. Positive Changes in Political Science brings together his most important articles, accompanied by original essays from contemporary political scientists, some his colleagues or students, who reflect upon his contributions, their continuing relevance today, and how they are still shaping research for the future.
Improving Public Opinion Surveys:
Interdisciplinary Innovation and the American National Election Studies
The American National Election Studies (ANES) is the premier social science survey program devoted to voting and elections. Conducted during the presidential election years and midterm Congressional elections, the survey is based on interviews with voters and delves into why they make certain choices. In this edited volume, John Aldrich and Kathleen McGraw bring together a group of leading social scientists that developed and tested new measures that might be added to the ANES, with the ultimate goal of extending scholarly understanding of the causes and consequences of electoral outcomes.
The contributors–leading experts from several disciplines in the fields of polling, public opinion, survey methodology, and elections and voting behavior–illuminate some of the most important questions and results from the ANES 2006 pilot study. They look at such varied topics as self-monitoring in the expression of political attitudes, personal values and political orientations, alternate measures of political trust, perceptions of similarity and disagreement in partisan groups, measuring ambivalence about government, gender preferences in politics, and the political issues of abortion, crime, and taxes.