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The Unwieldy American State
Administrative Politics since the New Deal

$31.99 (Z)

  • Date Published: March 2014
  • availability: Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107671119

$31.99 (Z)
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About the Authors
  • The Unwieldy American State offers a political and legal history of the administrative state from the 1940s through the early 1960s. After Progressive Era reforms and New Deal policies shifted a substantial amount of power to administrators, the federal government's new size and shape made one question that much more important: how should agencies and commissions exercise their enormous authority? In examining procedural reforms of the administrative process in light of postwar political developments, Grisinger shows how administrative law was shaped outside the courts. Using the language of administrative law, parties debated substantive questions about administrative discretion, effective governance, and national policy and designed reforms accordingly. In doing so, they legitimated the administrative process as a valid form of government.

    • Combines topics (executive organization, congressional organization and investigations, administrative law and agency politics) that are usually studied separately by historians, lawyers, political scientists and public administration scholars
    • Brings administrative law into modern political history
    • Makes administrative law accessible to non-specialists
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    Reviews & endorsements

    “In this wonderful book, Joanna Grisinger chronicles the political battles over the administrative state in postwar America. Her story of the changing critiques of the federal bureaucracy convincingly demonstrates how Americans came to accept the reality of an enormous, federal administrative apparatus, while at the same time remaining skeptical of its abilities. Grisinger tells this story with lucid prose and an eye for humor amidst the bureaucratic and political wrangling. It is a truly marvelous achievement.” – Reuel Schiller, Professor of Law, University of California, Hastings College of the Law

    “The Unwieldy American State is a smart and perceptive study of the politics of administrative law and the legal history of administrative politics. With this work, Joanna Grisinger illuminates the legal and administrative changes that helped shape the trajectories of liberalism and conservatism since World War II, changing how we think about the history of governance in modern United States history.” – Jason Scott Smith, University of New Mexico

    “Through elaborate archival inquiry and admirably broad research, Joanna Grisinger offers the authoritative account of the Administrative Procedures Act and its legacy. In a clear explanation of the mid-twentieth-century equipoise among administration, jurisprudence, and statute, The Unwieldy American State shows that bureaucratic administration co-evolves – sometimes smoothly and sometimes uneasily – with the modern rule of law and popular sovereignty.” – Daniel Carpenter, Harvard University

    "...wonderful book..." -Reuel Schiller, Law and History Review

    "Grisinger offers a thorough and important history of administrative politics in the 1940s and 1950s, a crucial period, especially given the emerging but often unsuccessful challenges to bureaucratic power from conservatives and lawyers... She marshals this more integrated approach well, laying the foundation for a promising line of research on the developments and contemporary operation on bureaucratic politics. The book is grounded in extensive archival research and is richly detailed. Summing Up: Highly recommended" - J.A. Pierceson, University of Illinois at Springfield, CHOICE Magazine

    "...makes a valuable contribution to understanding the seven-decades-long effort to retrofit the administrative state into the nation’s constitutional design." -David H. Rosenbloom, The Journal of American History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107671119
    • length: 324 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.48kg
    • availability: Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer
  • Table of Contents

    1. The war at home
    2. A 'Bill of Rights' for the administrative state
    3. Congress's watchful eye
    4. The Hoover administration and the 80th Congress
    5. The stymied transformation of administrative law.

  • Author

    Joanna L. Grisinger, Northwestern University, Illinois
    Joanna L. Grisinger is currently a senior lecturer in the Legal Studies program at Northwestern University. Her articles have been published in the Journal of Policy History. She has received fellowships and research support from Clemson University, the University of Chicago, the Miller Center of Public Affairs, the William Nelson Cromwell Foundation, the Harry S. Truman Library Institute and the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library Association.

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