Conservatism and American Political Development

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American political development (APD) is a core subfield in American political science, and focuses on political and policy history. For a variety of reasons, most of the focus in the twentieth century APD has been on liberal policymaking. Yet since the 1970s, conservatives have gradually assumed control over numerous federal policymaking institutions. This edited book will be the first to offer a comprehensive overview of the impact of conservatism on twentieth century American political development, locating its origins in the New Deal and then focusing on how conservatives acted within government once they began to achieve power in the late 1960s. The book is divided into three eras, and in each it focuses on three core issues: social security, the environment, and education. Throughout, the authors emphasize the ironic role of conservatism in the expansion of the American state. Scholars of the state have long focuses on liberalism because liberals were the architects of state expansion. However, as conservatives increased their presence in the federal apparatus, they were frequently co-opted into maintaining of even expanding public fiscal and regulatory power. At times, conservatives also came to accept the existence of the liberal state, but attempted to use it to achieve conservative policy ends. Despite conservatives' power in the US politics and governance, the American state remains gargantuan. As Conservatism and American Political Development shows, the new right has not only helped shape the state, but has been shaped by it as well.

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About the Author:


Brian J. Glenn is an American Political Development scholar and Assistant Professor of Political Science at Emerson College. He previously taught at the University of Pennsylvania and Hamilton College, and has received awards from the New England Political Science Association, the Law & Society Association, and the American Risk and Insurance Association.

Steven Teles is Associate Professor of Politics at the University of Maryland. He is the author of The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement: The Battle for Control of the Law, and Whose Welfare?: AFDC and Elite Politics. He is currently writing a book on the role of political and historical factors in public policy analysis. He has also written articles and book chapters on Michael Oakeshott, Social Security, the international diffusion of libertarianism, federalism, and US-China policy.

Review:


"The study of APD has for too long been preoccupied with liberalism. This book makes a critical contribution to APD by brilliantly addressing the impact of conservatism. It is comprehensive in scope and displays a keen grasp of the critical, theoretical, historical, and institutional questions at stake. It is a must read for all serious students of APD."--Marc Landy, Professor of Political Science, Boston College


"In the able hands of editors Brian Glenn and Steve Teles, Conservatism and American Political Development shows exactly how crucial conservatives have been in shaping the modern state. In careful studies of three central policy areas, conservatives appear no longer as the "cardboard-cutout villains" but rather as the leading characters. Smart and fresh, this volume is a must read for understanding the character, transformation, and persistent influence of contemporary conservatism."--Meg Jacobs, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


"Glenn and Teles have compiled a highly instructive volume on the post-New Deal trajectory of public policy and political development in crucial political arenas. The authors' careful micro-studies provide an important corrective to standard accounts of liberal dominance and subsequent retrenchment--without giving conservative triumphalists much to cheer about."--Michael Greve, American Enterprise Institute


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