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Comparative Perspectives on Inequality and the Quality of Democracy in the United States

  • Alfred Stepan (a1) and Juan J. Linz (a2)

When Jeffrey Isaac approached us to review some recent works in American politics from a comparative perspective, we gladly accepted the task, believing it important to help overcome what some see as the “splendid isolation” of American politics. Indeed, the invitation arrived at a propitious time because, after completing our most recent book, we critically reflected on the fact that we had unfortunately written almost nothing on the oldest, and one of the most diverse, democracies in the world, the United States. We thus agreed to contribute some thoughts on the matter, recognizing the limits of our knowledge of the entire field of American politics, but acknowledging, too, our belief that the current distancing of the study of America from the analysis of other democracies impoverishes modern political science.

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