The Politics of Women's Rights: Parties, Positions, and Change

By Christina Wolbrecht | Go to book overview

Acknowledgments

I ALWAYS peruse the acknowledgments first when I pick up a book, even one I have no intention of reading. I would like to think this practice reflects the natural inquisitiveness of a social scientist, but my motivations are probably less noble. As I now sit down to compose my own acknowledgments, I am overwhelmed by the task of adequately expressing my gratitude to those who have contributed to this work along the way. I accept full responsibility for all remaining errors, but given the quality of guidance and advice I have received, any commendation is necessarily shared.

This project began as my dissertation at Washington University in St. Louis, where I enjoyed an unusually challenging, stimulating, and, dare I say, pleasurable graduate school experience. My committee deserves particular recognition for their role in setting me on this course. Lee Epstein provided, and continues to provide, invaluable advice and input not only on the substance of my research, but also on all aspects of my academic career. I am most grateful. Bob Salisbury's knowledge of history, politics, and social science never cease to amaze me; I hope this work reflects in just a small way the richness of his understanding of these times, events, and processes. Finally, I am convinced that to understand what it means to be one of John Sprague's students you must experience it for yourself; it cannot adequately be described. Luckily, more than a few of us have been so blessed. For the rest of you, I can only say that John's insight, generosity, and energy know no bounds. His sage counsel, conviction that this project was worth doing and that I was the person who should and could do it, and persistent admonition (which sometimes took the form of e-mails from vessels docked off the eastern seaboard) that I write made this project not only possible, but—within reason—enjoyable.

Sadly, I am unable to express my gratitude directly to one of my most important mentors. Bob Durr signed off on my original dissertation proposal, and he and I had many conversations about this research in its earliest stages. He died in August 1996 when the project was still in its infancy. Yet as a teacher, example, co-author, and friend, Bob's influence is reflected throughout this work. This research would have been improved by his presence, but his instruction and encouragement nonetheless inspired and guided me throughout. I regret that Bob will not see this work in its final form. I regret far more the loss of a dear friend.

I benefited from other input as well. Conversations with Kevin Quinn, Andy Whitford, Kevin Corder, Bill Lowry, and Carol Kohfeld on topics from substantive interpretation to statistical modeling challenged and fo-

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The Politics of Women's Rights: Parties, Positions, and Change
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Tables xi
  • Acronyms xiii
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Chapter One - Women's Rights and the American Parties 3
  • Chapter Two - Of Presidents and Platforms 23
  • Chapter Three - Women's Rights in the House and Senate 73
  • Chapter Four - Explaining Party Issue Realignment 108
  • Chapter Five - Equilibrium Disruption and Issue Redefinition 134
  • Chapter Six - Shifting Coalitions and Changing Elites 181
  • Chapter Seven - The Politics of Women's Rights 226
  • Appendix 239
  • References 243
  • Index 259
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