The American Political Nation, 1838-1893

By Joel H. Silbey | Go to book overview
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Bibliographic Note

IN THIS NOTE, I have confined myself largely to discussing the scholarly literature that I have found to be the most useful in writing this book. The pioneering effort that established the alignment-critical realignment dynamic as the basic structuring impulse of American politics after 1789 was William Nisbet Chambers and Walter Dean Burnham, eds., The American Party Systems ( New York: Oxford University Press, 1967; 2d ed., 1975). The essays in Paul Kleppner et al., The Evolution of American Electoral Systems ( Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1981), develop that insight in its fullest flowering. Also important are Walter Dean Burnham, Critical Elections and the Mainspirings of American Politics ( New York: Norton, 1970); Jerome M. Clubb, William H. Flanigan, and Nancy H. Zingale, Partisan Realignment: voters, Parties and Government in American History ( Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage, 1980, 2nd ed., 1990); and David W. Brady, Critical Elections and Congressional Policy Making ( Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1988).

The notion of the 1838-93 period as a separate era is articulated and developed in Lee Benson, Joel H. Silbey, and Phyllis F. Field, "Toward a Theory of Stability and Change in American Voting Patterns: New York State, 1792-1970", in Joel H. Silbey, Allan G. Bogue, and William H. Flanigan, eds., The History of American Electoral Behavior ( Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1978), 78-105; Lee Benson and Joel H. Silbey, "American Political Eras, 1788-1984: Toward a Normative, Substantive, and Conceptual Framework for the Historical Study of American Political Behavior" (paper presented at the annual meeting of the Social Science History Association, 1978); and Joel H. Silbey, "Beyond Realignment and Realignment Theory: American Political Eras, 1789-1989" in Byron E. Shafer, ed., The End of Realignment? ( Madison, Wisc.: Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 1991), 3-23. See also Richard L. McCormick, The Party Period and Public Policy: American Politics from the Age of Jackson to the Progressive Period ( New York: Oxford University Press, 1986).

Understanding the nature and contours of the prepartisan political era and the emergence of a new political imperative begins with Michael Wallace, "Changing Concepts of Party in the United States: New York, 1815-1828", American Historical Review, 74 ( Dec. 1968): 453-91; Richard Hofstadter, The Idea of the Party System: The Rise of Legitimate Opposition in the United States 1780-1840


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