New Jersey Politics and Government: Suburban Politics Comes of Age

New Jersey Politics and Government: Suburban Politics Comes of Age

New Jersey Politics and Government: Suburban Politics Comes of Age

New Jersey Politics and Government: Suburban Politics Comes of Age

Synopsis

New Jersey, despite being the third state to enter the Union, has only recently had a genuine statewide politics or policy agenda. Overshadowed by neighboring New York and Pennsylvania and with the strong local orientation of most of its citizens, New Jersey had little reason or ability to develop vigorous state institutions. New Jersey Politics and Government shows how this situation changed radically in the second half of the twentieth century in response to problems of education, economic development, government finance, land use, transportation, and environmental quality. New Jersey's historically weak state government has adopted a more activist posture, and its strong tradition of home rule has given way to a more cosmopolitan orientation. Barbara G. Salmore and Stephen A. Salmore point out that many of these changes in New Jersey's politics reflect the growing suburbanization of the United State. With the majority of voters living in the suburbs for the first time, government institutions at all levels are adapting to the politics of a new "suburban century." As the most suburban of all the states, New Jersey politics and governmental institutions are responding in ways likely to be seen in other states. This book, offering the only comprehensive study of politics and government in New Jersey, is of special interest to those studying how our political institutions respond to social changes as well as to those interested in political developments in the American states.

Excerpt

The purpose of this series is to provide information and interesting books on the politics and governments of the fifty American states, books that are of value not only to the student of government but also to the general citizens who want greater insight into the past and present civic life of their own states and of other states in the federal union. the role of the states in governing America is among the least well known of all the 85,006 governments in the United States. the national media focus attention on the federal government in Washington dc, and local media focus attention on local government. Meanwhile, except when there is a scandal or a proposed tax increase, the workings of state government remain something of a mystery to many citizens--out of sight, out of mind.

In many respects, however, the states have been, and continue to be, the most important governments in the American political system. They are the main building blocks and chief organizing governments of the whole system. the states are the constituent governments of the federal union, and it is through the states that citizens gain representation in the national government. the national government is one of limited, delegated powers; all other powers are possessed by the states and their citizens. At the same time, the states are the empowering governments for the nation's 84,955 local governments--counties, municipalities, townships, school districts, and special districts. As such, states provide for one of the most essential and ancient elements of freedom and democracy, the right of local self-government.

Although, for many citizens, the most visible aspects of state government are state universities, some of which are the most prestigious in the world, and state highway patrol officers, with their radar guns and handy ticket books, state governments provide for nearly all domestic public services.

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