American Political Thought

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9780872899728: American Political Thought

In the wake of a precedent-setting presidential election and in the midst of a deepening economic recession, Dolbeare and Cummings challenge readers to examine and understand their own political beliefs in historical context. Just as the 2008 elections brought race, gender, and age to the fore, the U.S. government's response to the Wall Street collapse highlights class issues and suddenly makes socialism relevant again.

Dolbeare and Cummings ask readers to examine how the world today fits with the basic ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as well as with the accepted tenets of private and free enterprise, the rule of law, institutional checks and balances, and the people s right to revolt against oppression. Rooted firmly in the economic conditions of each era, the editors commentary highlights issues of class and the clash of economic interests, while utilizing three organizing themes to help readers understand the readings: 

  • the social and historical foundations of American political thought,
  • the key transformations in American political thought and practice, and 
  • the individual and collective political identity of Americans.

Each reading helps readers examine and understand their own political beliefs in historical context. In addition to adding a few key contributions from earlier times, the editors look purposefully toward contemporary thought, selecting readings that reflect on renewed citizen engagement, political change, and the impact of economic crisis on our notions of globalization. Are we seeing the disintegration of the conservative alliance? Can progressive change happen in a bipartisan or non-partisan fashion? Linking the transformations we are now witnessing to the ideas of the founders in a completely new Part 7, students can see the relevance that words written more than 200 years ago have for today s political world.

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About the Author:

Kenneth M. Dolbeare is a retired professor of political science who has taught at the Universities of Wisconsin, Washington, Massachusetts, and Colorado Denver. He also taught for fifteen years at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. In addition to his PhD in political science from Columbia University, he received his LLB from Brooklyn Law School and is a member of the New York Bar. He is the author of several research monographs and other books, including USA 2012: After the Middle Class Revolution. He now lives in Albuquerque, NM.

Michael S. Cummings is professor of political science and President s Teaching Scholar at the University of Colorado Denver. A graduate of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton, he received his PhD in political science from Stanford. He has published many articles and coedited two books on communal and utopian studies, as well as a 1999 book, The Transformation of U.S. Unions: Voices, Visions, and Strategies from the Grassroots. His 2001 book, Beyond Political Correctness: Social Transformation in the United States, was named the Outstanding Book in Transformational and Ecological Politics by the American Political Science Association s organized section in Ecological and Transformational Politics.

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Dolbeare K, Cummings M
Published by CQ Press (2009)
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Kenneth M Dolbeare, Michael S Cummings
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