Maine Politics & Government

Maine Politics & Government

Maine Politics & Government

Maine Politics & Government

Synopsis

Remote and thinly populated, Maine has been insulated from many of the demo-graphic and economic trends of states to the south. But Maine Politics and Gov-ernment shows how rapidly this situation is changing.In the 1970s and 1980s, Maine-once dependent on agriculture, manufacturing, and maritime trades-underwent extensive commercial development. High-tech businesses and fashionable suburbs, concentrated in the southern counties, began to assert a new political force. The authors of this book view these changes in the context of the state's long history. Although Maine's population and economy have become more diversified, its public policies more complex, and its government more professionalized and centralized, there remains a remarkable degree of stability in political attitudes. And Maine still operates under its original 1819 constitution; the amendments added over time have largely maintained its original structure while allowing for changing conditions. This book illumi-nates the workings of Maine's executive, legislative, and judicial branches and its relations with the federal government, as well as local concerns, without losing sight of the Pine Tree State's uniqueness.Kenneth T. Palmer is a professor of political science and G. Thomas Taylor a professor of public administration at the University of Maine. Each has pub-lished widely in his discipline. Marcus A. LiBrizzi, a doctoral student at McGill University, has published in the Maine Historical Society Quarterly. Daniel S. Elazar is director of the Center for the Study of Federalism at Temple University.

Excerpt

John Kincaid

The purpose of this series is to provide intelligent 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 citizen who wants greater insight into the past and present civic life of his or her 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 83,217 governments in the United States. the national media focus attention on the federal government in Washington, D.C., 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 83,166 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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