An important addition to the reference literature of American politics, "The Encyclopedia of the Republican Party" and "The Encyclopedia of the Democratic Party" provide an authoritative survey of the history, evolution and current state of two of the most powerful institutions in the United States. Each encyclopedia is divided into four sections: history; issues and ideology; elections, conventions and platforms; and biographies. The 297 biographies feature the careers of prominent individuals associated with each party, including presidents, vice presidents, governors, senators and representatives, both winning and losing candidates. There are also brief biographies for over 5000 congresspersons and governors. Each encyclopedia, carefully cross-referenced for easy navigation, concludes with several invaluable appendixes, including the constitutions and bylaws of the party, lists of the senate and house leadership, party defectors; party convention sites and dates; names of all party chairpersons; the locations of state party committee headquarters; and a detailed index.
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Numerous reference works treat the institutions and the leadership of U.S. government. However, this is the first title to provide comprehensive treatment of the parties that supply the leadership to serve in the offices of the institutions. Thomas Jefferson wrote, "If I could not go to heaven but with a [political] party, I would not go there at all." However, when their intended destination is Congress or the White House, generations of public servants have found that joining a party is almost the only way to go. Through its parallel two-party structure, this encyclopedia covers the positions, the history, the people, and the platforms of the Republican and Democratic Parties. It treats the Republican Party in the first two volumes and the Democratic Party in the second two.
Each half follows the same structure, opening with a lengthy, in-depth history of the party's origins, evolution, and rising and falling political fortunes. The remainder of the first and third volumes is devoted to articles (about 50 in each) on defining issues of American politics and to biographies of presidents, vice presidents, losing presidential candidates, Speakers of the House, and other party notables. They conclude with alphabetical lists of members of Congress and state governors; entries on these individuals simply provide birth and death dates, years in office, and significant committee posts. The issues discussed in relation to each party are very similar. Both, for example, cover abortion, the cold war, defense, the minimum wage, states' rights, trade policy, and women. Only the Republican volume includes McCarthyism and Reaganism, and only the Democratic volume includes the Democratic Leadership Council and minority groups other than African Americans. These articles provide background information about each issue and explain the party's approach to it over the years. The historical information in many articles (e.g., public perception of parties and candidates, religion) is identical, of course. Similarly, other articles (e.g., on affirmative action, campaign finance and campaign finance reform, voting behavior), most with less historical depth, are largely duplicative. With the exception of their concluding paragraphs, the articles on immigration are identical. Given the strong similarities between the issues articles in the two halves of the set, it would have made more sense to consolidate these into one section and treat party differences within one article rather than separate them artificially. Presidential biographies (including one on the current incumbent) are comparable to those in Congressional Quarterly's Guide to the Presidency (1989) but less substantial than the in-depth treatment of Henry Graff's The Presidents [RBB S 1 96]. Period political cartoons and photographs enhance the encyclopedia's histories and biographies.
The second and fourth volumes offer capsule histories of the Republicans' and the Democrats' quadrennial political conventions, followed by the full text of all of their party platforms through 1992. Capsule summaries of the elections run on those platforms follow. This is the most accessible and thorough treatment of party conventions and platforms available. Given the length of some platform documents and their relentlessly overblown promises, many will prefer the summaries of these documents available in the second volume of James Havel's U.S. Presidential Candidates and the Elections: A Biographical and Historical Guide (Macmillan, 1996). The second and fourth volumes also carry the separate indexes (general, biographical, geographical, and minorities and women) to each half of the set.
The Jeffersonian aversion to party politics that many Americans experience every November ought not to extend to this new encyclopedia. In clear and convenient (albeit sometimes needlessly redundant) form, it provides a wealth of historical and issue-oriented information about the country's two major parties, information that is not readily accessible anywhere else.From Library Journal:
Although many fine histories of the major U.S. political parties are available, there has not been until now a standard reference work on the Republican and Democratic parties. An attempt at such a work was made with the two-volume Political Parties and Elections in the United States (LJ 8/91), though that work contained primarily only brief entries on people and events from U.S. political history. A much more comprehensive approach is provided with the timely publication of this dual four-volume encyclopedia. Each party receives equal space and treatment within an identical two-volume format. The first volume begins with a 66-page historical essay, followed by a section on "Issues and Ideology." This part consists of approximately 50 brief articles, arranged alphabetically. Most of the topics are the same for both parties?big government, campaign finance, defense, foreign policy, party discipline, and term limits. However, several unique entries are also included: for the Republicans, the Contract with America, McCarthyism, and Reaganomics, and for the Democrats, the Democratic Leadership Council and the McGovern-Fraser Commission. The next section contains brief biographical sketches of the presidents, vice presidents, losing presidential candidates, speakers of the House, and other notable Republicans/Democrats. Except for the presidential profiles, most of these entries are only one to two pages long. Additionally, there are long listings of members of Congress and all governors affiliated with each party. These sections provide only birth and death dates and years in office. Volume 2 focuses on the presidential campaign efforts of the party, offering a chronological accounting of the nominating conventions (with nearly 400 pages devoted to the text of the party platforms) and a rundown on each presidential election (with photos and examples of campaign buttons and posters). There are nine appendixes in this volume: party rules, House leaders, Senate leaders, party defections in Congress, convention sites and dates, chairs of the party's national committee, state party headquarters, House election victories, and party affiliations in Congress. Four indexes complete the encyclopedias: general, biographical, geographical, and an index of minorities and women. Although much of this material can be found in other sources, this double set will be a useful complement to other standard political reference works, such as Congressional Quarterly's latest guides to U.S. Elections (1994, 3d ed.), The Presidency (1996, 2d ed.), and Congress (1991, 4th ed.). Highly recommended.?Thomas Karel, Franklin & Marshall Coll. Lib., Lancaster, Pa.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Routledge, 1996. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M1563247291
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Book Description Taylor Francis Inc, United States, 1997. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Library Reference ed.. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. An important addition to the reference literature of American politics, The Encyclopedia of the Republican Party and The Encyclopedia of the Democratic Party provide an authoritative survey of the history, evolution and current state of two of the most powerful institutions in the United States. Each encyclopedia is divided into four sections: history; issues and ideology; elections, conventions and platforms; and biographies. The 297 biographies feature the careers of prominent individuals associated with each party, including presidents, vice presidents, governors, senators and representatives, both winning and losing candidates. There are also brief biographies for over 5000 congresspersons and governors. Each encyclopedia, carefully cross-referenced for easy navigation, concludes with several invaluable appendixes, including the constitutions and bylaws of the party, lists of the senate and house leadership, party defectors; party convention sites and dates; names of all party chairpersons; the locations of state party committee headquarters; and a detailed index. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9781563247293
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