Princeton Encyclopedia of American Political History

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The Princeton Encyclopedia of American Political History

Bibliographic Details

  • Title: The Princeton Encyclopedia of American Political History
  • Description: Two volumes
  • Authors: Michael Kazin (Editor), Rebecca Edwards (Editor), Adam Rothman (Editor)
  • Pages: 1056
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Copyright: 2009
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691129711
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691129716

Princeton Encyclopedia of American Political History Review

For their “Princeton Encyclopedia of American Political History” Michael Kazin, Rebecca Edwards and Adam Rothman have the political history defined gratifying so far. It should not just go around what colloquially ‘politics’ is, so therefore “who gets Elected to office and what they do with the powers granted to them by voters , laws and constitutions ,” and the “endless contest of speechmaking, lawmaking, fundraising, and negotiating in which ambitious actors donating their lives struggling to come out on top ” ( I, pp. vii ) . Rather, the two volumes are also “popular ideology and consciousness, social movements, war, education, crime, sexuality and the reciprocal influence of mass culture on political thinking and behavior” (Vol. I , p viii) represent . This, programmed by its “Encyclopedia”, ask the editor a very short, but still useful outline of the development of historiographical schools in the United States, which can also see on what policy the historical foundations of the project is based and how one moves from traditional to narrow perspectives making attempts .

The Content of this Encyclopedia group the 187 entries of the “Princeton Enyclopedia” in eleven different topics . This will offer to browse the following topics:

  • periodization;
  • institutions;
  • movements;
  • political parties;
  • Ideas, philosophies and religions;
  • War and foreign policy;
  • the founding documents;
  • regions;
  • “Ethnic and racial groups”;
  • asked dispute issues ( ” issues” ) and
  • mass culture.

It is interesting to note that the categories are quite well interpreted broadly : for example, emerged the process of constitutional amendment (“amendment process” ) as well as a institution such as the impeachment proceedings ( “impeachment” ) and opinion polls ( “public opinion polls “).

The core of the “Encyclopedia” are the – marked though not explicitly as such – summary article about the articulating periods ( “Periods” ) , which on one hand prove to be highly readable era descriptions of the nature of the specific periods and on the other hand, indicate each major issues of each period.

Very good it is received and how the periodization each question comes about and how , if appropriate, the opinion research has become a period of time. Thus, readers may learn inside of this reference work , for example, that modern scholarship rated the “Gilded Age” more positive than that of the name (as gold plated, but it is not real golden age ) and the older research suggested, and also that the ( still ) such called “Era of Consensus” was characterized 1952-1964 but rather by ” continued , if at times submerged , political and economic conflict” (Vol. I , p 312). Particularly pleasing is in this context that really central lines of development are clearly stated , even ” [a ] t the risk of oversimplification ” (Vol. II , p 529) , as Maurice Isserman in his article on the ” New Deal Era, ” formulated 1932-52 (which strangely and annoyingly does not appear in the thematic table of contents ) : It is in this simplicity lies the great benefit of the article , which allow a very good first access that is just not hampered by excessive wealth of detail . Furthermore, it is positive to note that issues of “race ” and gender just not for all these products – are neglected , as treated as an afterthought , but all these aspects are all naturally woven into the texts – as so often .

In addition to the classics , which are to be expected as entries in such a reference work – founding documents , political parties and government institutions – there is also a number of rather atypical items . Articles such as “Transnational Influences on American Politics ,” ” Transportation and Politics” , “Popular Music and Politics” open up many new perspectives , change perspectives and clearly show that the desire of the editors / inside to a broad definition of political history not only lip service is , but is also held in the overall concept of the “Encyclopedia” . For example, is the importance of fiction for the political mobilization of various social reform movements in the article ” Politics in the American Novel ” out very well . There are articles in this genus , which ultimately contribute to the specific added value of the present work and lift the ” Princeton Encyclopedia” of comparable works . Together with the good cross-references to related articles, the very good , very topical references for further reading that follow the articles and annexes to that document , the Constitution and various “technical” data such as election results , cabinet members , territorial and population growth in the United States , results in an overall very positive picture.

Nevertheless, some aspects of which have been resolved unfavorably to stay. The article ” Gender and Sexuality ” , for example , is too focused on the image of women and women’s roles , the mutual dependence of the different gender roles gets caught behind. Also , the question arises why the editors / inside have decided to extract the article ” Homosexuality ” from the treatment of gender and instead let stand on its own . The combination of these two articles might have been able to bring the analytical rigor that is lacking gender – entry . Similar questions arise for the entries ” Social Security ” and “welfare ” and ” Women and Politics” and ” Woman Suffrage ” , which would not have suffered secure by merging them . Rather, these related topics would then really be treated coherently and also would not generate the impression of artificial separation of related aspects.

Not only the topics mentioned relationships have benefited from an amalgamation of the said articles , but also the “Encyclopedia” as a whole , because with all the extra space would have some weird gaps can be filled , who left the Publisher / inside in their conception of the entries. So the reviewer would , for example, articles on the subjects of ” death penalty ” and ” gun laws ” expected since these issues certainly are among the hottest and most controversial in American politics in recent decades. Similarly, would the issue of ” abortion” – according to the article ” Conservative Ascendancy , 1980-2008 ” since the judgment ” Roe v. Wade” an important issue of federal policy (Vol. I , p 188) – probably been one that its own entry deserved . Certainly, however, can such questions of taste, the overall impression as little murky as the rare Carver: So the peace treaty emerged after the War of Independence as the Peace of Ghent (Vol. II , p 827 ) , where , of course, Paris has the honor to be called as a place of peace treaty ; and the 19th Amendment, as is formulated ‘ve included a ban , “on the basis of gender” (Vol. I , p 190) exclude persons from the right to vote , it prohibits the amendment suffrage discrimination “on account of sex .” With the as ” Mrs. Robert Morse ” (Vol. II , p 892 ) referred to ” salonière ” is probably meant Mary Morris, wife of Senator and former Superintendent of Finance, Robert Morris.

Overall, however, is to say that the ” Princeton Encyclopedia” an extremely useful reference is the reliable introduced in many aspects of American political history and can be used as a really good access to help further research , despite these small grievances . Whether or not but in times of tight budgets, many ( Institute ) libraries this work, with nearly 200 , – is exceedingly ambitious priced euros , will be able to afford and want , must have , unfortunately – be doubted – even if the money would be well spent.

Review From Booklist

Assuming “an expansive definition of politics,” this encyclopedia offers accessible, thorough, and enlightening coverage of political history in the U.S. from colonial times through the “conservative ascendancy” period, which ended in 2008 with the election of Barack Obama. The 187 signed essays by academics and journalists provide historical background, context, and analysis. Each essay concludes with a bibliography and cross-references. Librarians may find the bibliographies useful for collection-assessment purposes; students will surely find inspiration for term papers among the essays and can use the cited works for more in-depth research. As outlined in the “Topical List of Entries,” the A-Z essays fall under 11 areas, including “Periods” (Era of consensus, 1952-1964; Gilded Age, 1870s-90s); “Institutions” (Think tanks, Welfare); “Movements” (Civil rights, Populism); “Political Parties” (Libertarian Party, Progressive parties); and “Mass Culture” (Internet and politics, Popular music and politics). Topics that span long time periods, such as the economy, the presidency, and the Republican Party, are broken into multiple chronological essays. Following the A-Z portion of the encyclopedia, the second volume contains the text of founding documents as well as charts listing presidential election results, members of presidential administrations, war casualties, historical party strength in Congress, and similar data. A comprehensive index concludes the set. Because there are no biographical essays in the encyclopedia, the index must be used when researching prominent individuals. The use of varying fonts and types makes the work visually appealing. Highly recommended for those interested in politics and history in public and academic libraries.
–Jan Lewis

See Also

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Detained without access to legal counsel

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