Hostname: page-component-588bc86c8c-t2m8k Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-12-01T03:06:56.485Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "corePageComponentGetUserInfoFromSharedSession": true, "coreDisableEcommerce": false, "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

Congress as a Handler of Challenges: The Historical Record

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 September 2015

David R. Mayhew*
Yale University


Can the U.S. Congress address major challenges? Can Congress govern? Questions like these keep getting asked. This article addresses them by consulting the record since 1789. Given the separation-of-powers structure of the American system, such questions cannot be addressed directly. They need to be deconstructed. The presidency needs to enter the discussion, too. Also, what is a major challenge? To identify such challenges, and to supply a way of seeing how and in what respects Congress, as well as in a background frame the U.S. system more broadly, has performed, I draw on comparative analysis. How has the United States participated in thirteen major “impulses” that have invested a comparable set of nations at various times since the late eighteenth century? These challenges range from launching a new nation through building a welfare state through dealing with climate change and debt/deficit problems today.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


1. Gregory Wawro and Ira Katznelson posed these questions as an organizing charge for a recent Congress and History conference, the origin of this paper. The conference was held at Columbia University June 21–22, 2013. The phrase in the first question “at any given period” invited a canvass of history.

2. On the executive branch, see, for example, Whittington, Keith E. and Carpenter, Daniel P., “Executive Power in American Institutional Development,” Perspectives on Politics 1, no. 3 (September 2003): 495513 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

3. On American political development approaches to Congress, see Ira Katznelson, “Historical Approaches to the Study of Congress: Toward a Congressional Vantage on American Political Development,” in The Oxford Handbook of the American Congress, ed. Eric Schickler and Frances E. Lee (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), chap. 6.

4. Niccolo Machiavelli, Discourses on the First Decade of Titus Livius, translated from the Italian by Ninian Hill Thompson (London: BiblioBazaar, 2007; original copyright, 1883), Book 1, Chapter 4.

5. That is, in the spirit of Thomas Babington Macaulay's classic mid-nineteenth-century work, The History of England from the Accession of James III. There is an abridged edition: Thomas Babington Macaulay, The History of England (London: Penguin Books, 1979).

6. To allow for such a ditch interpretation is to part ways with Hegel.

7. See Lester D. Langley, The Americas in the Age of Revolution, 1750-1850 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1996), ch. 11; Robert E. Gallman, “Economic Growth and Structural Change in the Long Nineteenth Century,” chap. 1 in The Cambridge Economic History of the United States, vol. 2, The Long Nineteenth Century, ed. Stanley L. Engerman and Robert E. Gallman (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 2–6. Argentina's economy grew faster than that of the United States in the nineteenth century, although the tiny size of its population at the outset clouds comparison. One overall assessment: “The faster growth of the early United States in comparison to the growth of its northern and southern neighbors and other ‘new’ countries suggests that U.S. policies launched in the 1790s did make a difference in relative economic performance.” Richard Sylla, “Financial Foundations: Public Credit, the National Bank, and Securities Markets,” chap. 2 in Founding Choices: American Economic Policy in the 1790s, ed. Douglas A. Irwin and Richard Sylla (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011), 83. For a Western Hemisphere comparison, see also Simon, Joshua, “The Americas' More Perfect Unions: New Institutional insights from Comparative Political Theory,” Perspectives on Politics 12, no. 4 (December 2014): 808–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

8. In a historical sense, abolition of slavery was a “challenge” in the British North American colonies and elsewhere during the Enlightenment phase of the eighteenth century, but then the impulse diminished—an up-and-down trajectory famously tracked by Thomas Jefferson. A renewed challenge seems to have come a few decades later.

9. Seymour Martin Lipset, The First New Nation: The United States in Historical and Comparative Perspective (New York: Basic Books, 1979), 16–23.

10. Ron Chernow, Alexander Hamilton (New York: The Penguin Press, 2004), chaps. 15–18; Thomas K. McCraw, The Founders and Finance: How Hamilton, Gallatin, and Other Immigrants Forged a New Economy (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012), chaps. 8–11; Stanley Elkins and Eric McKitrick, The Age of Federalism: The Early American Republic, 1788-1800 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 114–31, 146–61, 223–44, chap. 9; Douglas A. Irwin and Richard Sylla, “The Significance of the Founding Choices: Editors' Introduction,” in Founding Choices, ed. Irwin and Sylla, 1–21; Sylla, Richard, Wright, Robert E., and Cowen, Donald J., “Alexander Hamilton, Central Banker: Crisis Management during the U.S. Financial Panic of 1792,” Business History Review 83 (Spring 2009): 6186 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Douglas A. Irwin, “Revenue or Reciprocity? Founding Feuds over Early U.S. Trade Policy,” chap. 3 in Founding Choices; Max M. Edling, A Hercules in the Cradle: War, Money, and the American State, 1783-1867 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014), chap. 3.

11. McCraw, Thomas K., “The Strategic Vision of Alexander Hamilton,” The American Scholar 63, no. 1 (Winter 1994): 3157 Google Scholar, quotation at 32.

12. Sylla, “Financial Foundations,” 60.

13. On taxes, see Max M. Edling, A Revolution in Favor of Government: Origins of the U.S. Constitution and the Making of the American State (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), chaps. 13, 14. On entrepreneurialism, see McCraw, Founders and Finance, 131–32; Rousseau, Peter L. and Sylla, Richard, “Emerging Financial Markets and Early US Growth,” Explorations in Economic History 42 (2005): 126 CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 13, 20–21. The quotation is from Rousseau and Sylla, “Emerging Financial Markets,” 2.

14. Gordon S. Wood, Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 201. On this onset of prosperity, see also Lindert, Peter H. and Williamson, Jeffrey G., “American Incomes before and after the Revolution,” Journal of Economic History 73, no. 3 (2013): 725–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 752; Edling, Max M. and Kaplanoff, Mark D., “Alexander Hamilton's Fiscal Reform: Transforming the Structure of Taxation in the Early Republic,” William and Mary Quarterly 61, no. 4 (October 2004): 713–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 740, 742.

15. Irwin and Sylla, “Significance of the Founding Choices,” 3–4.

16. For the economy, a discussion of counterfactuals appears in Sylla, “Financial Foundations,” 84–86.

17. See, for example, Edling, Hercules in the Cradle, 14, 87, 107, 116.

18. Elkins and McKitrick, Age of Federalism, 58–64.

19. Shepsle, Kenneth A., “Representation and Governance: The Great Legislative Trade-off,” Political Science Quarterly 103, no. 3 (Autumn 1988): 461–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar at 465. See also Jeffery A. Jenkins and Charles Stewart III, Fighting for the Speakership: The House and the Rise of Party Government (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013), 58; Leonard D. White, The Federalists: A Study in Administrative History (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1948), 73–74; Polsby, Nelson W., “The Institutionalization of the U.S. House of Representatives,” American Political Science Review 62, no. 1 (March 1968): 144–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar at 154–55. Risjord, Norman K. offers an especially detailed account in “Partisanship and Power: House Committees and the Power of the Speaker, 1789-1801,” William and Mary Quarterly 49, no. 4 (October 1992): 628–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 640–45.

20. White, The Federalists, 328–30; McCraw, Founders and Finance, 200–5, 217; Robert V. Remini, The House: The History of the House of Representatives (New York: HarperCollins, 2006), 61; Risjord, “Partisanship and Power,” 643–44.

21. Elkins and McKitrick, Age of Federalism, chap. 9; Jeffrey L. Pasley, The First Presidential Contest: 1796 and the Founding of American Democracy (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2013), chaps. 3, 4; Todd Estes, The Jay Treaty Debate, Public Opinion, and the Evolution of Early American Political Culture (Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 2006).

22. Good accounts appear in Bruce Ackerman, The Failure of the Founding Fathers: Jefferson, Marshall, and the Rise of Presidential Democracy (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2005), chaps. 2–5; John Ferling, Adams vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), chap. 12; Edward J. Larson, A Magnificent Catastrophe: The Tumultuous Election of 1800: America's First Presidential Campaign (New York: Free Press, 2007), chap. 10; Bernard A. Weisberger, America Afire: Jefferson, Adams, and the Revolutionary Election of 1800 (New York: William Morrow, 2000), 258–77; James Roger Sharp, The Deadlocked Election of 1800: Jefferson, Burr, and the Union in the Balance (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2010), chaps. 8–10.

23. Ackerman, Failure of the Founding Fathers, 93.

24. Przeworski, Adam, “Acquiring the Habit of Changing Governments through Elections,” Comparative Political Studies 48, no. 1 (2015): 101–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 102, 110.

25. Adam Przeworski, Democracy and the Market: Political and Economic Reforms in Eastern Europe and Latin America (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 10.

26. On expansion in general, see C. A. Bayly, The Birth of the Modern World, 1780-1914: Global Connections and Comparisons (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2004), chap. 12; Jürgen Osterhammel, The Transformation of the World: A Global History of the Nineteenth Century (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014), chap. 7; Adas, Michael, “From Settler Colony to Global Hegemon: Integrating the Exceptionalist Narrative of the American Experience into World History,” American Historical Review 106, no. 5 (December 2001): 16921720 CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 1712–18. On the Anglophone world, see James Belich, Replenishing the Earth: The Settler Revolution and the Rise of the Anglo-World, 1783-1939 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), chaps. 3, 4, 8; Sharp, Paul F., “Three Frontiers: Some Comparative Studies of Canadian, American, and Australian Settlement,” Pacific Historical Review 24, no. 4 (November 1955): 369–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar; McQuilton, John, “Comparative Frontiers: Australia and the United States,” Australasian Journal of American Studies 12, no. 1 (July 1993): 2646 Google Scholar; C. D. Rowley, The Destruction of Aboriginal Society: Aboriginal Policy and Practice, vol 1 (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1970).

27. Belich, Replenishing the Earth, 522–29.

28. Rowley, Destruction of Aboriginal Society, chap. 3; Belich, Replenishing the Earth, chap. 8; Bayly, The Birth of the Modern World, 439–40.

29. On the Canadians, see Sharp, “Three Frontiers,” 373–74.

30. Troy Bickham, The Weight of Vengeance: The United States, the British Empire, and the War of 1812 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), chap. 3.

31. On the Louisiana Purchase, see D. W. Meinig, The Shaping of America: A Geographical Perspective on 500 Years of History, vol. 2, Continental America, 1800–1867 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1993), chap. I–1. On the Gadsden Purchase, see John Ashworth, Slavery, Capitalism and Politics in the Antebellum Republic, vol. 2, The Coming of the Civil War, 1850–1861 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 383. On Alaska, see Walter Nugent, Habits of Empire: A History of American Expansion (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008), 237–51. For Congress, the Alaska purchase was a hard sell.

32. Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815–1848 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), 658–72, 677–82, 698–700.

33. Amy S. Greenberg, A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2012), chaps. 4, 5, 12, 13. On congressional hostility, see 260–61.

34. Meinig, The Shaping of America, chaps. I–2, I–5; Nugent, Habits of Empire, chap. 4; Howe, What Hath God Wrought, 74–77, 97–111; Walter Johnson, River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013), chap. 1; Heidler, David S., “The Politics of National Aggression: Congress and the First Seminole War,” Journal of the Early Republic 13, no. 4 (Winter 1993): 501–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

35. On Jefferson, see Meinig, The Shaping of America, 79–80; Ronald N. Satz, American Indian Policy in the Jacksonian Era (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2002); Jon Meacham, Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power (New York: Random House, 2012), 392. On Jackson, see Howe, What Hath God Wrought, 98–107, 342–57; Satz, American Indian Policy, chaps. 1, 4.

36. Howe, What Hath God Wrought, 347. See also Satz, American Indian Policy, 19.

37. Cave, Alfred A., “Abuse of Power: Andrew Jackson and the Indian Removal Act of 1830,” The Historian 65, no. 6 (December 2003): 1330–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Howe, What Hath God Wrought, 414–23.

38. Howe, What Hath God Wrought, 356–57. For Howe's and other reasons I have sidestepped casting the customary “Jacksonian democracy” as a free-standing category in this study. The other reasons are: 1) The U.S. expansion of democracy came chiefly at the state and local, not national, levels. 2) Recent scholarship has placed the expansion of U.S. voter participation earlier in time, not particularly in the 1830s, at least for subpresidential elections—not a surprise for a decentralized system. See Robertson, Andrew W., “Afterword: Reconceptualizing Jeffersonian Democracy,” Journal of the Early Republic 33, no. 2 (Summer 2013): 317–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 317–21; Engerman, Stanley L. and Sokoloff, Kenneth L., “The Evolution of Suffrage Institutions in the New World,” Journal of Economic History 65, no. 4 (September 2005): 891921 CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 895–909; Ratcliffe, Donald, “The Right to Vote and the Rise of Democracy, 1787–1828,” Journal of the Early Republic 33, no. 2 (Summer 2013): 219–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Ratcliffe reports that new data collected by Philip Lampi “confirm the huge expansion of popular participation within two decades or so of the adoption of the United States Constitution.” Also, “This expansion was possible because the right to vote had always been extraordinarily widespread—at least among adult white males [even before U.S. independence].” Quotations at 220.

39. Sources on the administration include McCraw, Founders and Finance, chap. 12; Malcolm J. Rohrbough, The Land Office Business: The Settlement and Administration of American Public Lands, 1789-1837 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1968), chaps. 2–4, 10, 14. Albert Gallatin as treasury secretary during 1801–1813 was an impressive administrator, but by the 1830s the General Land Office was far from a model bureaucratic unit; see Daniel P. Carpenter, The Forging of Bureaucratic Autonomy: Reputations, Networks, and Policy Innovation in Executive Agencies, 1862-1928 (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2001), 56–57. The dominant role of Congress pervades these sources and others cited below.

40. James C. Scott, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998), 49–51; Rohrbough, Land Office Business, chap. 1; John Opie, The Law of the Land: Two Hundred Years of American Farmland Policy (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1987), chap. 1; Everett Dick, The Lure of the Land: A Social History of the Public Lands from the Articles of Confederation to the New Deal (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1970), chap. 3.

41. There are several fine sources on the politics of land assignment: Rohrbough, Land Office Business (he reports 375 laws passed through 1837, 295); Opie, Law of the Land, chaps. 1–5; Dick, Lure of the Land, chaps. 1, 2, 5, 8–10; Jeremy Atack, Fred Bateman, and William N. Parker, “Northern Agriculture and the Westward Movement,” chap. 7 in The Cambridge Economic History of the United States, vol. 2, The Long Nineteenth Century, ed. Engerman and Gallman, 287–302.

42. On foregone revenue, see McCraw, Founders and Finance, 251. On squatters, see Rohrbough, Land Office Business, 202–3. On easy credit, see Opie, Law of the Land, 53.

43. Richard Sylla, “Experimental Federalism: The Economics of American Government, 1789–1914,” chap. 12 in The Cambridge Economic History of the United States, vol. 2, The Long Nineteenth Century, ed. Engerman and Gallman, 515; Nugent, Habits of Empire, 231; Lance E. Davis, Richard A. Easterlin, and William N. Parker, et al., American Economic Growth: An Economist's History of the United States (New York: Harper and Row, 1972), 106.

44. On slave plantations, see Johnson, River of Dark Dreams, 31–34; Adam Rothman, Slave Country: American Expansion and the Origins of the Deep South (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005), chap. 1. On economic growth, see Davis, Easterlin, and Parker, et al., American Economic Growth, 105, 654.

45. Graham G. Dodds, Take Up Your Pen: Unilateral Presidential Directives in American Politics (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013), 72–78, 88, 97–104, 144–50.

46. The transnational move to abolish slavery could be treated as a challenge all by itself, but I am attracted by certain comparative works, notably E. J. Hobsbawm's and C. A. Bayly's interpretations (see below), that fold it into a larger impulse. The call could go either way.

47. Although not so much in Britain and France, where many of the aspirations discussed here were already in place.

48. In general, see E. J. Hobsbawm, The Age of Capital, 1848–1875 (New York: Scribner's Sons, 1975), 1 and chaps. 4–9. Hobsbawm draws a cross-national analogy that includes the United States (182–83): “For one reason or another three types of agrarian enterprise were under particular pressure: the slave plantation, the serf estate, and the traditional non-capitalist peasant economy. The first was liquidated in the United States and most parts of Latin America . . . . The second was formally liquidated in Europe between 1848 and 1969.” Peter Kolchin compares the trajectories of Russian serfdom (abolished in 1861) and American slavery in Unfree Labor: American Slavery and Russian Serfdom (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1990); and Rexamining Southern Emancipation in Comparative Perspective,” Journal of Southern History 81, no. 1 (February 2015): 740 Google Scholar.

Deudney, Daniel H., in “The Philadelphian System: Sovereignty, Arms Control, and Balance of Power in the American States-Union, circa 1787–1861,” International Organization 49, no. 2 (Spring 1995): 191228 CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 219, draws a comparison between nineteenth-century institutional instability in the United States and, entailing the Concert of Europe, Europe as a whole. “The Concert gradually declined in the middle and later years of the nineteenth century” partly because “the domestic regime types of the members (absolutist monarchical versus constitutional monarchical) lay in opposition, a situation analogous to the slavery conflict in America.”

49. Hobsbawm, Age of Capital, chap. 3.

50. On Germany, Italy, and Hungary, see Hobsbawm, Age of Capital, 71–78, 82–83, 88–90, 104–5. (To Hungary came, whatever else, a new quasi-sovereignty and independent parliament resting on Magyar nationalism.) Regarding Jewish emancipation in Germany, George M. Fredrickson points out: “When Germany was unified by Bismarck, full citizenship was granted to Jews, first throughout the North German Federation in 1869 and then in the entire Reich in 1871.” George M. Fredrickson, Racism: A Short History (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2002), 76–77. On Japan, see Hobsbawm 83–84, 146–54. On Mexico, see Hobsbawm, 119–20; Jan Bazant, “Mexico from Independence to 1867,” chap. 10 in The Cambridge History of Latin America, vol. 3, From Independence to c. 1870 ed. Leslie Bethell (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985). On Argentina, see John Lynch, “The River Plate Republics from Independence to the Paraguayan War,” chap. 15 in Cambridge History of Latin America, ed. Bethell, 615–58.

51. Bayly, Birth of the Modern World, 161–65, quotation at 162.

52. Deudney, “Philadelphian System,” 220. Deudney uses the term “states-union” to refer to the somewhat loose confederation short of a consolidated nation-state that prevailed until the 1860s. See also Danilo Petranovich, “Lincoln's New Nationalism,” The Writings of Abraham Lincoln, ed. in Steven B. Smith (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012), 437–48.

53. See Eric Foner, Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party Before the Civil War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1970). Second quotation from Richard Franklin Bensel, Yankee Leviathan: The Origins of Central State Authority in America, 1859–1877 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 2.

54. Hobsbawm emphasizes the wars: Age of Capital, chap. 4.

55. Lincoln was also compared to Bismarck and Cavour: Hobsbawm, Age of Capital, 4; Carl N. Degler, “One Among Many: The United States and National Unification,” chap. 4 in Lincoln, the War President: The Gettysburg Lectures, ed. Gabor S. Boritt (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992). He was also compared to Bismarck and, later, Lenin: see Edmund Wilson, Patriotic Gore: Studies in the Literature of the American Civil War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1962), xvi-xix. In Lincoln there is also a flavor of Simon Bolivar of the earlier Latin American wars for independence if, as is emphasized in a recent work, winning the American Civil War required a mobilization of the slave population into the Union Army and, as a consequence, into political life. See Bruce Levine, The Fall of the House of Dixie: The Civil War and the Social Revolution That Transformed the South (New York: Random House, 2013).

56. See Fergus M. Bordewich, America's Great Debate: Henry Clay, Stephen A. Douglas, and the Compromise That Preserved the Union (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2012). The congressional “fiscal cliff” deal of January 1, 2013, had a similar inventive oddity.

57. Merrill D. Peterson, The Great Triumvirate: Webster, Clay, and Calhoun (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987).

58. On Adams, see William Lee Miller, Arguing About Slavery: The Great Battle in the United States Congress (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996); and Daniel Walker Howe, The Political Culture of the American Whigs (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979), chap. 3. On Wilmot, see Foner, Eric, “The Wilmot Proviso Revisited,” Journal of American History 56 (1969): 262–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar. On Sumner, see David Donald, Charles Sumner and the Coming of the Civil War (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1967), 227–39, 254–56, chap. 11, 352–65; and Thomas C. Leonard, The Power of the Press: The Birth of American Political Reporting (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), 84–86.

59. See, for example, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Imperial Presidency (New York: Mariner Books, 2004; earlier eds. 1973, 1989), 58–60.

60. Charles R. Morris, The Dawn of Innovation: The First American Industrial Revolution (New York: Public Affairs, 2012), xiii.

61. Morris, Dawn of Innovation, quote, 269; Sylla, “Experimental Federalism,” 532–34. On the enactment of the Morrill Land Grant College Act of 1862, see Williamjames Hull Hoffer, To Enlarge the Machinery of Government: Congressional Debates and the Growth of the American State, 1858–1891 (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Press, 2007), chap. 2.

62. Robert P. Sharkey, Money, Class, and Party: An Economic Study of Civil War and Reconstruction (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1959), chap. 6.

63. David Herbert Donald, Lincoln Reconsidered: Essays on the Civil War Era, 3rd ed. (New York: Vintage, 2001), 133–37, quotations at 136, 137. Lincoln did press Congress on matters relating to the war or slavery—famously the Thirteenth Amendment.

64. Edling, Hercules in the Cradle, 185–96, 204–15, quotation at 205.

65. Stuart Bruchey, The Wealth of the Nation: An Economic History of the United States (New York: Harper & Row, 1988), 67–69; Morris, Dawn of Innovation, 269–72.

66. Morris, Dawn of Innovation, 272. Morris compares the nineteenth-century economic trajectories of Britain and the United States in chap. 8. See also Monica Prasad, The Land of Too Much: American Abundance and the Paradox of Poverty (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012), 58–64.

67. See, for example, High, Jack, “Economic Theory and the Rise of Big Business in America, 1870–1910,” Business History Review 85 (Spring 2011): 85112 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Wright, Gavin, “The Origins of American Industrial Success, 1879–1940,” American Economic Review 80, no. 4 (September 1990): 651–68Google Scholar; and Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1977).

68. Richard Franklin Bensel, The Political Economy of American Industrialization, 1877–1900 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), 4–11, 518–20.

69. On interstate markets, see Bensel, Political Economy, 321–49.

70. On the gold standard and the crises, see Hugh Rockoff, “Banking and Finance, 1789–1914,” chap. 14 in Cambridge Economic History of the United States, vol. 2, The Long Nineteenth Century, ed. Engerman and Gallman; Bensel, Political Economy, 366–73; “The only factor that prevented the United States from switching from gold to silver or paper currency as the monetary standard was the unflinching position of the executive branch” (Bensel, 371). At the presidential level, Democratic as well as Republican leaders, notably the Democratic presidential nominees Samuel Tilden and Grover Cleveland, shied away from silver.

71. Rockoff, “Banking and Finance,” 663; Bensel, Political Economy, 366–73. “Congress was at best indifferent toward the maintenance of the gold standard and often outright hostile” (Bensel, 371). On the politics of the late-nineteenth-century tariff, see Bensel, , chap. 7.

72. E. E. Schattschneider, Politics, Pressures, and the Tariff: A Study of Free Private Enterprise in Pressure Politics, as Shown in the 1929–1930 Revision of the Tariff (New York: Prentice-Hall, 1935), 283–84. This book centers on the Smoot-Hawley tariff of 1930, but its logic extends back in time, as its author surely knew.

73. See, for example, Allen, Robert C., “American Exceptionalism as a Problem in Global History,” Journal of Economic History 74, no. 2 (June 2014): 309–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 339; James MacDonald, When Globalization Fails: The Rise and Fall of Pax Americana (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015), 28–30.

74. Among other things, the tariff was a Republican revenue program, see Hansen, John Mark, “Taxation and the Political Economy of the Tariff,” International Organization 44, no. 4 (Autumn 1990): 527–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar. But it also figured in the Republicans' general principle of “neo-mercantilism.” See John Gerring, Party Ideologies in America, 1828-1896 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 64–78; Calhoun, Charles W., “Political Economy in the Gilded Age: The Republican Party's Industrial Policy,” Journal of Policy History 8, no. 3 (1996): 291309 CrossRefGoogle Scholar, 294–99.

75. Robert E. Lipsey, “U.S. Foreign Trade and the Balance of Payments, 1800–1913,” chap. 15 in Cambridge Economic History of the United States, vol. 2, The Long Nineteenth Century, ed. Engerman and Gallman, 727; Stanley L. Engerman and Kenneth L. Sokoloff, “Technology and Industrialization, 1790–1914,” chap. 9 in Cambridge Economic History of the United States, vol. 2, The Long Nineteenth Century, ed. Engerman and Gallman, 398–401.

76. Gregory J. Wawro and Eric Schickler, Filibuster: Obstruction and Lawmaking in the U.S. Senate (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006), chap. 6.

77. On Congress dominating the process, see Lawrence H. Chamberlain, The President, Congress and Legislation (New York: Columbia University Press, 1946), chap. 3.

78. See David Karol, “Congress, the President and Elite Opinion in Historical Perspective,” paper presented at Congress and History Conference, Columbia University, June 21–22, 2013, 27–31. Accounts of the White House's distinctive free-trade bent, at least during recent times, appear in Keech, William R. and Pak, Kyoungsan, “Partisanship, Institutions, and Change in American Trade Politics,” Journal of Politics 57, no. 4 (1995): 1130–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 1136–40; Kirshner, Orin, “Superpower Politics: The Triumph of Free Trade in Postwar America,” Critical Review 19, no. 4 (2007): 523–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

79. Calhoun makes this case in “Political Economy in the Gilded Age,” quotation at 292.

80. Howe, Political Culture of the American Whigs, ch. 6; Peterson, The Great Triumvirate; J. Joseph Huthmacher, Senator Robert F. Wagner and the Rise of Urban Liberalism (New York: Atheneum, 1968). For the prominence of Sherman as a congressional actor, see David R. Mayhew, America's Congress: Actions in the Public Sphere, James Madison Through Newt Gingrich (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000), 62–64, 168–71.

81. Sherman's take on these matters can be found in his John Sherman's Recollections of Forty Years in the House, Senate and Cabinet: An Autobiography, vols. 1 and 2 (Chicago: Werner Company, 1895). He hops around. The best nuggets are in vol. 1, chaps. 11–13, 15, 17, 20, 22, 24–26; vol. 2, chaps. 32, 36, 57, 63, 64. On Sherman's role in the 1860s and 1870s, see also Sharkey, Money, Class, and Party.

82. Milton Friedman argues that denying an alternative silver standard in the much-assailed Coinage Act of 1873 may have been a policy mistake—too much deflation ensued. See The Crime of 1873,” Journal of Political Economy 98, no.6 (December 1990): 1159–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Friedman opts for mistake, not crime. The pro-gold forces of the late nineteenth century had “sincere believers that the gold standard was the only satisfactory pillar for a financially stable society” (1178).

83. Wells, Wyatt, “Rhetoric of the Standards: The Debate Over Gold and Silver in the 1890s,” Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 14 (2015): 4968 CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 56–59. This article, a current reassessment of the old silver–gold question, pulls no punches: “For historians intent on rehabilitating the late nineteenth century's many movements for currency reform, silverite ignorance of finance represents a major obstacle (59).”

84. Quotation from Prasad, Land of Too Much, xii.

85. On the size of the firms, see Prasad, Land of Too Much, 75–76.

86. Hobsbawm, Age of Empire, chap. 5.

87. The story is told in Prasad, Land of Too Much, 74–76, 89–90, 103–9; Elizabeth Sanders, Roots of Reform: Farmers, Workers, and the American State, 1877–1917 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999), chaps. 6–8; Ronald L. Feinman, Twilight of Progressivism: The Western Republican Senators and the New Deal (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981), chap. 1; and David A. Horowitz, Beyond Left and Right: Insurgency and the Establishment (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1997), chaps. 1, 3. Horowitz carries the story through the 1920s. In fact, the American agricultural sector had gained economically over the years, but the farmers nonetheless suffered from market volatility and deflation. See Horowitz, 5–6. For a matching non-American instance of this brand of mobilization, a good bet might be New Zealand in the late nineteenth century. See Coleman, Peter J., “New Zealand Liberalism and the Origins of the American Welfare State,” Journal of American History 69 (1982): 372–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

88. By the late 1880s, a “pervasive antitrust sentiment” seems to have invited a public reckoning with the new giant corporations. See Letwin, William L., “Congress and the Sherman Antitrust Law: 1887–1890,” University of Chicago Law Review 23, no. 2 (Winter 1956): 221–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar, quotation at 226. See also Prasad, Land of Too Much, 188–90. Rounded discussions of the politics of railroad regulation, the pioneer cause of the time, appear in Stephen Skowronek, Building a New American State: The Expansion of National Administrative Capacities, 1877–1920 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1982), chap. 5; Robert Dawson Kennedy, Jr., “The Statist Evolution of Rail Governance in the United States, 1830–1986,” chap. 5 in Governance of the American Economy, ed. John L. Campbell, J. Rogers Hollingsworth, and Leon N. Lindberg (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 154–64; and Robert E. Gallamore and John R. Meyer, American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014), chap. 2.

89. The United States “was unique in relying on regulatory agencies,” which “accrued autonomous power and applied rules in a legalistic manner unseen in any other country … . They are the American version of the Weberian bureaucratic state.” Prasad, Land of Too Much, 184.

90. The U.S. revenue package then was a good deal more progressive than those of France and Sweden. Britain is a closer call. See Morgan, Kimberly J. and Prasad, Monica, “The Origins of Tax Systems: A French-American Comparison,” American Journal of Sociology 114, no. 5 (March 2009): 1350–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Prasad, Land of Too Much, 16–18; and Sven Steinmo, Taxation and Democracy: Swedish, British, and American Approaches to Financing the Modern State (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1993), chap. 2.

91. Quoted in Anne Lowrey, “For Two Economists, the Buffett Rule Is Just a Start,” New York Times, April 16, 2012.

92. The contrast is drawn in Michael McGerr, “Progressivism, Liberalism, and the Rich,” a paper presented at the conference “The Progressives' Century: Democratic Reform and Constitutional Government in the United States,” Yale University, November 1–2, 2013. The reformers' take-them-down script continued into the 1930s. See Joseph J. Thorndike, “'The Unfair Advantage of the Few’: The New Deal Origins of ‘Soak the Rich’ Taxation,” chap. 2 in The New Fiscal Sociology: Taxation in Comparative Historical Perspective, ed. Isaac William Martin, Ajay K. Mehrotra, and Monica Prasad (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009).

93. On the record in business regulation in general, see Prasad, Land of Too Much, chap. 7; Sanders, Roots of Reform, chap. 6. On railroad regulation, see Chamberlain, President, Congress and Legislation, chap. 11.

94. Chamberlain, President, Congress and Legislation, 414. Cleveland just signed the bill.

95. Sanders, Roots of Reform, 272. See also Chamberlain, President, Congress and Legislation, 30–32.

96. Sanders, Roots of Reform, 208.

97. On the Hepburn Act, see Sanders, Roots of Reform, 198–202; and Jeffrey K. Tulis, The Rhetorical Presidency (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1987), chap. 4. On the Pure Food and Drugs Act, which also rested on the decades-long effort of a Department of Agriculture official, see James Harvey Young, Pure Food: Securing the Federal Food and Drugs Act of 1906 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1989), chaps. 1, 3, 7–11.

98. Jeong, Gyung-Ho, Miller, Gary J., and Sobel, Andrew C., “Political Compromise and Bureaucratic Structure: The Political Origins of the Federal Reserve System,” Journal of Law, Economics and Organization 25, no. 2 (2008): 472–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar, quotations at 473, 479.

99. William G. Whittaker, “The Davis-Bacon Act: Institutional Evolution and Public Policy,” CRS Report for Congress, November 30, 2007, A lame-duck Republican Congress passed this act.

100. On the Norris-La Guardia Act, see Christopher L. Tomlins, “Labor Law,” chap. 11 in The Cambridge Economic History of the United States, vol. 3, The Twentieth Century, ed. Stanley L. Engerman and Robert E. Gallman (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 669–70.

101. Huthmacher, Senator Robert F. Wagner, 146–48, 158–71, 189–98; Chamberlain, President, Congress and Legislation, chap. 4. See also Tomlins, “Labor Law,” 670–75; Skocpol, Theda, Finegold, Kenneth, and Goldfield, Michael, “Explaining New Deal Labor Policy,” American Political Science Review 84, no. 4 (December 1990): 12971315 CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 1298–1300.

102. Huthmacher, Senator Robert F. Wagner, 197.

103. Huthmacher, Senator Robert F. Wagner, 163, 166, 190, 195–98.

104. On the record in progressive taxation in general, see Prasad, Land of Too Much, 125–29; Steinmo, Taxation and Democracy, 68–79; David E. Kyvig, Explicit and Authentic Acts: Amending the U.S. Constitution, 1776–1995 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1996), 201–4. On Bryan, see David D. Anderson, William Jennings Bryan (Boston: Twayne, 1981), 65–67; and Paul W. Glad, The Trumpet Soundeth: William Jennings Bryan and His Democracy, 1896–1912 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1960), 86. On President Cleveland, see Steinmo, Taxation and Democracy, 71; John F. Witte, The Politics and Development of the Federal Income Tax (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1985), 71.

105. Steinmo, Taxation and Democracy, 74–76; John D. Buenker, The Income Tax and the Progressive Era (New York: Garland, 1985), chap. 2. The final state ratification of the amendment followed in 1913.

106. Witte, Politics and Development of the Federal Income Tax, 75–79; Buenker, The Income Tax, chap. 8. The House result is said to have stemmed from the interaction of three groups—leadership Democrats, radical dissenter Democrats, and Progressive Republicans. Buenker, 338.

107. W. Elliot Brownlee, “Tax Regimes, National Crises, and State-Building in America,” chap. 2 in Funding the Modern American State, 1941–1995: The Rise and Fall of the Era of Easy Finance, ed. Brownlee (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 60–66; Brownlee, W. Elliot, “Wilson and Financing the Modern State: The Revenue Act of 1916,” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 129, no. 2 (June 1985): 173210 Google Scholar, quotation at 177; Sanders, Roots of Reform, 230.

108. For commentary on the political value of such a presentation, see David R. Mayhew, “Legislation,” chap. 5 in Law and the Social Sciences, ed. Leon Lipson and Stanton Wheeler (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1986), 276–77.

109. An earlier instance was 1812, vis-à-vis Britain. James L. Sundquist singles out the 1812 and 1898 examples in The Decline and Resurgence of Congress (Washington, DC: Brookings Press, 1981), 94.

110. Fareed Zakaria, From Wealth to Power: The Unusual Origins of America's World Role (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1998), chap. 3; Moore, Colin D., “State Building Through Partnership: Delegation, Public-Private Partnerships, and the Political Development of American Imperialism, 1898–1916,” Studies in American Political Development 25 (April 2011): 2755 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; John J. Tierney, Jr., Chasing Ghosts: Unconventional Warfare in American History (Washington, DC: Potomac Books, 2006), chaps. 10–12; Horowitz, Beyond Left and Right, 40–42; Nugent, Habits of Empire, 256–63, 276.

111. On Versailles, see William C. Widenor, Henry Cabot Lodge and the Search for an American Foreign Policy (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980). On the World Court, see Horowitz, Beyond Left and Right, 163–64.

112. Wayne S. Cole, Senator Gerald P. Nye and American Foreign Relations (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1962), quotation at 73; Horowitz, Beyond Left and Right, chap. 8; Feinman, Twilight of Progressivism, chap. 9; Lynne Olson, Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America's Fight over World War II, 1939-1941 (New York: Random House, 2013), chaps. 4, 18, 22, 23.

113. See Kesselman, Mark, “Presidential Leadership in Congress on Foreign Policy: A Replication of a Hypothesis,” Midwest Journal of Political Science 9, no. 4 (March 1965): 401–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

114. On Indochina, see Thomas M. Franck and Edward Weisband, Foreign Policy by Congress (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979), chap. 1 (“The Legislated Peace: Congress Ends U. S. Involvement in Indochina”).

115. Regarding the Dominican Republic, the Versailles Treaty, the Caribbean basin, and Vietnam, respectively.

116. Zakaria, From Wealth to Power, 88.

117. The measure offered independence with a ten-year transitional lag.

118. Theodore Friend, Between Two Empires: The Ordeal of the Philippines, 1929–1946 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1965), chaps. 7, 8, 11; H. W. Brands, Bound to Empire: The United States and the Philippines (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), 149–57. Passage was complicated. Congress overrode Hoover's veto, but the Philippine colonial government bucked for a better deal, thus requiring a rewrite.

119. For a discussion of the United States in this regard, see Stephen D. Krasner, Defending the National Interest: Raw Materials Investments and U.S. Foreign Policy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1978), chap. 1.

120. Robert A. Dahl, Congress and Foreign Policy (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1950), 3.

121. For a textured discussion of Congress's role during the interwar era, see David A. Lake, Entangling Relations: American Foreign Policy in Its Century (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999), chap. 4.

122. Chettle, John, “The American Way: Or How the Chaos, Unpredictability, Contradictions, Complexity, and Example of Our System Undid Communism and Apartheid,” The National Interest 41 (Fall 1995): 318 Google Scholar.

123. Ira Katznelson, Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time (New York: Liveright, 2013), Part I.

124. Randall E. Parker, ed. The Economics of the Great Depression: A Twenty-First Century Look Back at the Economics of the Interwar Era (Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, 2007), 25–28 (first quotation by Parker at 26), 45 (second quotation by Peter Temin at 45), 53–54, and 66 (comments by Ben Bernanke), 154 (comment by Barry Eichengreen); Michael D. Bordo, Claudia Goldin, and Eugene N. White, “The Defining Moment Hypothesis: The Editors' Introduction,” in The Defining Moment: The Great Depression and the American Economy in the Twentieth Century (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), 10; Charles W. Calomiris and David C. Wheelock, “Was the Great Depression a Watershed for American Monetary Policy?” chap. 1 in The Defining Moment, ed. Bordo, Goldin, and White, 27–32; Romer, Christina D., “What Ended the Great Depression?” Journal of Economic History 52, no. 4 (December 1992): 757–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 759, 773, 781. For this judgment about going off gold, see also Kim Quaile Hill, Democracies in Crisis: Public Policy Responses to the Great Depression (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1988), 69. On FDR's monetary moves, see also Liaquat Ahamed, Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World (New York: Penguin, 2009), chap. 1. For countries in general, the gold standard seems to have worked reasonably well before World War I, but poorly after that time. See Parker, Economics of the Great Depression, 18–21.

125. For this familiar package, see, for example, Alonzo L. Hamby, For the Survival of Democracy: Franklin Roosevelt and the World Crisis of the 1930s (New York: Free Press, 2004), chap. 4; Anthony J. Badger, FDR: The First Hundred Days (New York: Hill and Wang, 2008); Parker, Economics of the Great Depression, 25–28; Calomiris and Wheelock, “Was the Great Depression,“27–32; David M. Kennedy, Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929–1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), chap. 5.

126. Christine M. Bradley, “A Historical Perspective on Deposit Insurance Coverage,” FDIC Banking Review 13, no. 2,, 1–25, at 5–7. “It is significant that Federal Deposit Insurance … originated in Congress.” Wilfred E. Binkley, President and Congress, 3rd ed. (New York: Vintage Books, 1962), 307.

127. It ballooned later, see Edwin Amenta, Bold Relief: Institutional Politics and the Origins of Modern American Social Policy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1998).

128. Parker, Economics of the Great Depression, 25, 27–28 (comments by Parker); 54–55, 66 (comments by Ben Bernanke), 90–91, 100 (comments by Robert Lucas), 105–6 (comment by Lee Ohanian), 125 (comment by Christina Romer). See also the historians Hamby, For the Survival of Democracy, 164–74, 418; Kennedy, Freedom From Fear, 177–89. A recent interpretation more favorable to the NIRA is Gauti Eggertsson, B., “Was the New Deal Contractionary?” American Economic Review 102, no. 1 (2012): 524–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

129. See, for example, Kenneth Finegold and Theda Skocpol, State and Party in America's New Deal (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1995), chap. 3; Chamberlain, The President, Congress and Legislation, 58.

130. See, for example, the brief comment by James Hamilton in Parker, Economics of the Great Depression, 80, and the interpretation in Hamby, For the Survival of Democracy, 90, 284–86, 300–303, 313–14, 356–58. On antitrust, see Alan Brinkley, The End of Reform: New Deal Liberalism in Recession and War (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995), chap. 6.

131. Hill, Democracies in Crisis, 57; “[F]iscal policy contributed little to the [U.S.] recovery, and certainly could have done much more.” This is a summary of the views of several economists. Parker, Economics of the Great Depression, 26.

132. Romer, “What Ended the Great Depression?” 781.

133. Hill, Democracies in Crisis, chaps. 4, 5.

134. Hamby, For the Survival of Democracy, 64–75, chaps. 4, 5, 7.

135. The Keynes story is reported in Hamby, For the Survival of Democracy, 359; and Kennedy, Freedom From Fear, 357–58.

136. Hamby, For the Survival of Democracy, 418.

137. Comments by Christina Romer and James Butkiewicz in Parker, Economics of the Great Depression, 131, 184–85. The instrument was the Glass-Steagall Act of that year (not to be confused with the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933).

138. Badger, FDR, 72–73.

139. A new, comprehensive account is Stephen R. Ortiz, Beyond the Bonus March and GI Bill: How Veteran Politics Shaped the New Deal Era (New York: NYU Press, 2010). On the politics of the bonus in the 1920s and 1930s, see Key, V. O. Jr., “The Veterans and the House of Representatives: A Study of a Pressure Group and Electoral Mortality,” Journal of Politics 5, no. 1 (1943): 2740 CrossRefGoogle Scholar. On congressional influence in two antiausterity areas: “[W]hen the blocs in the two houses worked together they obtained the additional veterans' benefits and the silver legislation they were seeking.” Binkley, President and Congress, 308.

140. Ortiz, Beyond the Bonus March, 39, chap. 6 (see also 96 regarding a 1934 veto override); Brown, E. Cary, “Fiscal Policy in the Thirties: A Reappraisal,” American Economic Review 46, no. 5 (1956): 857–79Google Scholar; Telser, Lester G.,“The Veterans' Bonus of 1936,” Journal of Post Keynesian Economics 26, no. 2 (2004): 227–43Google Scholar. On the 1936 bonus: “The average bonus per person exceeded 30 percent of the mean household income for the veterans' age bracket. The June 1936 Federal deficit set a peacetime record of nearly one percent of the annual gross national product. In two weeks that June, veterans cashed in 46 percent of their total bonus. The economic recovery in 1936 was more than 2.5 times greater than in the preceding two years.” Telser, “Veterans' Bonus,” abstract.

141. Ortiz, Beyond the Bonus March, 176.

142. On, variously, the lateness and leanness of U.S. social spending, see Lindert, Peter H., “The Rise of Social Spending, 1880–1930,” Explorations in Economic History 31 (1994): 137 CrossRefGoogle Scholar at 1; Jacob S. Hacker, The Divided Welfare State: The Battle over Public and Private Social Benefits in the United States (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 7; Martha Derthick, Policymaking for Social Security (Washington, DC: Brookings, 1979), 10; Ann Shola Orloff and Theda Skocpol, “Why Not Equal Protection? Explaining the Politics of Public Social Spending in Britain, 1900–1911, and the United States, 1880–1920,” chap. V.2 in Britain and America: Studies in Comparative History, 1760-1970, ed. David Englander (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997), 242; Stabile, Mark and Thompson, Sarah, “The Changing Role of Government in Financing Health Care: An International Perspective,” Journal of Economic Literature 52, no. 2 (2014): 480518 CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 481.

143. See Skowronek, Building a New American State, chap. 3, especially 56–59, 64–67, 69, 73, 74, 78 (an exception to the generalization), 80–81, quotation at 81.

144. Theda Skocpol, Protecting Soldiers and Mothers: The Political Origins of Social Policy in the United States (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992), chaps. 1, 5. See also Orloff and Skocpol, “Why Not Equal Protection?” 266–69, quotation at 268.

145. Skocpol, Protecting Soldiers and Mothers, chap. 2.

146. Charles Francis Adams, “The Civil-War Pension Lack-of-System: A Four-Thousand-Million Record of Legislative Incompetence Leading to General Political Corruption,” dated 1912, reprinted from The World's Work. The pension system had a Republican edge to it, yet in Adams's account, somewhat at odds with Skocpol's, it looks more like a congressional phenomenon than a party phenomenon. On the interest-group ingredient, see Ainsworth, Scott, “Electoral Strength and the Emergence of Group Influence in the late 1800s: The Grand Army of the Republic,” American Politics Quarterly 23, no. 3 (July 1995): 319–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Ainsworth, Scott, “Lobbyists as Interest Group Entrepreneurs: The Mobilization of Union Veterans,” American Review of Politics 16 (Summer 1995): 107–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar. In the House, nearly all the Republicans, plus very healthy majorities of the northern Democrats, voted for final passage of the major Civil War veterans' benefits measures of 1879, 1887, 1890, 1907, and 1912 (although in 1887 the northern Democrats later successfully backed up President Cleveland's veto). Three of these measures emerged from a Democratic-controlled House. Veterans of the Union, but not the Confederate, army could receive benefits.

147. Prasad, Land of Too Much, xi–xiv, 122–24, 147–53, 170–71.

148. Ikenberry, G. John and Skocpol, Theda, “Expanding Social Benefits: The Role of Social Security,” Political Science Quarterly 102, no. 3 (Autumn 1987): 389416 CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 405.

149. Clinton did win his narrower Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), as George W. Bush won his Medicare Part D. The drives by the postwar presidents through 2000 are covered in David Blumenthal and James A. Morone, The Heart of Power: Health and Politics in the Oval Office (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010). Perhaps Eisenhower belongs on the list of losers (chap. 3). Dissonance exists about the relative roles of Johnson and Mills on Medicare. Blumenthal and Morone are in the Johnson corner. One account more on the Mills side is Julian E. Zelizer, Taxing America: Wilbur D. Mills, Congress, and the State, 1945–1975 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998), chap. 7. Standard accounts of Medicare include Theodore R. Marmor, The Politics of Medicare (Chicago: Aldine, 1973).

150. Derthick, Policymaking for Social Security, 38.

151. On 1939, see Hacker, Divided Welfare State, 108–12. On 1968–1972. see Hacker, 142–45; Derthick, Policymaking for Social Security, chap. 17.

152. Charles Homans, “Marathon Man,” Washington Monthly, May–June 2009. See also Shanna Rose, Financing Medicaid: Federalism and the Growth of America's Health Care Safety Net (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 20, 110–13, 117–19, 123–28, 133.

153. On 1912 and 1921, see Skocpol, Protecting Soldiers and Mothers, chap. 9. On disability benefits, see Derthick, Policymaking for Social Security, chap. 15. On SSI, see Edward D. Berkowitz and Larry DeWitt, The Other Welfare: Supplemental Security Income and U.S. Social Policy (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2013), chap. 1. On EITC, see Christopher Howard, The Hidden Welfare State: Tax Expenditures and Social Policy in the United States (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997), chap. 3.

154. Huthmacher, Senator Robert F. Wagner, 224–28; Binkley, President and Congress, 307.

155. On 1944, see Nancy Beck Young, Why We Fight: Congress and the Politics of World II (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2013), 226–29. On 1984 and 2008, see “GI Bill Education Benefits Expanded,” Congressional Quarterly Almanac 2008,

156. Hacker, Divided Welfare State, 115–21, 238–43; Prasad, Land of Too Much, 153–59; Howard, Hidden Welfare State, 115–21.

157. Hacker, Divided Welfare State, 163–72, 238–43; Howard, Hidden Welfare State, chap. 6; James A. Wooten, The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974: A Political History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004).

158. Kimberly J. Morgan and Andrea Louise Campbell, The Delegated Welfare State: Medicare, Markets, and the Governance of Social Policy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 7–8, 35, 46–47.

159. This section borrows heavily from David R. Mayhew, “The Long 1950s As a Policy Era,” chap. 2 in The Politics of Major Policy Reform in Postwar America, ed. Jeffery A. Jenkins and Sidney M. Milkis (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014). Accessible at

160. Charles S. Maier, “The Politics of Productivity: Foundations of American Economic Policy after World War II,” International Organization 31, no. 4 (Autumn 1977): 607–33, quotation at 609.

161. M. Stephen Weatherford and Lorraine M. McDonnell, “Macroeconomic Policy Making Beyond the Electoral Construct,” in The Presidency and Public Policy Making, ed. George C. Edwards III, Steven A. Shull, and Norman C. Thomas, 95–113 (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1985).

162. M. M. Postan, An Economic History of Western Europe, 1945–1964 (London: Methuen, 1967), 25. See also Mark Mazower, Dark Continent: Europe's Twentieth Century (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1999), pp. 292-98 (“The Miracle of Growth”).

163. Brinkley, The End of Reform, 245–64; Katznelson, Fear Itself, 373–81; John W. Jeffries, “The ‘New’ New Deal: FDR and American Liberalism, 1937–1945,” Political Science Quarterly 105, no. 3 (Autumn 1990): 397–418. On the enactment of the Employment Act of 1946, see the classic Stephen Kemp Bailey, Congress Makes a Law: The Story Behind the Employment Act of 1946 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1950).

164. Benn Steil, The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013). The slight role of Congress and its members appears at 206–7, 211, 213, 222, 245, 255–60.

165. See Bailey, Congress Makes a Law. On the executive location of post-1946 economic management, see, for example, Herbert Stein, Presidential Economics: The Making of Economic Policy from Roosevelt to Reagan and Beyond (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984), chap. 3.

166. Dwight D. Eisenhower, The White House Years: Mandate for Change, 1953–1956 (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1963), 388 and 548 (site of quotation).

167. The growth aim of this tax cut is brought out in Herbert S. Parmet, JFK: The Presidency of John F. Kennedy (New York: Dial Press, 1983), 94; Theodore C. Sorensen, Kennedy (New York: Harper and Row, 1965), 429–30; Allen J. Matusow, The Unraveling of America: A History of Liberalism in the 1960s (New York: Harper and Row, 1984), 49–59.

168. Interesting recent work on some of these enactments includes Schapsmeier, Edward L. and Schapsmeier, Frederick H., “Eisenhower and Agricultural Reform: Ike's Farm Policy Legacy Appraised,” American Journal of Economics and Sociology 51, no. 2 (April 1992): 147–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Flanagan, Richard M., “The Housing Act of 1954: The Sea Change in National Urban Policy,” Urban Affairs Review 33, no. 2 (November 1997): 265–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Eric M. Patashnik, Putting Trust in the US Budget: Federal Trust Funds and the Politics of Commitment (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000), chap. 6 (“Highways”).

169. See Aschauer, David Alan, “Is Public Expenditure Productive?” Journal of Monetary Economics 23, no. 2 (March 1989): 177200 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Gramlich, Edward M., “Infrastructure Investment: A Review Essay,” Journal of Economic Literature 32, no. 3 (September 1994): 1176–96Google Scholar; Morrison, Catherine J. and Schwartz, Amy Ellen, “State Infrastructure and Productive Performance,” American Economic Review 86, no. 5 (December 1996): 10951111 Google Scholar; Fernald, John G., “Roads to Prosperity? Assessing the Link between Public Capital and Productivity,” American Economic Review 89, no. 3 (June 1999): 619–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

170. Robert J. Shiller, “Inspiring Economic Growth,” Project Syndicate, May 18, 2015,, 3.

171. On the war's impact in the United States, see Philip A. Klinkner and Rogers M. Smith, The Unsteady March: The Rise and Decline of Racial Equality in America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999), chap. 6. On President Truman's groundbreaking leadership on the matter in 1946, see Bloom, Joshua, “The Dynamics of Opportunity and Insurgent Practice: How Black Anti-colonialists Compelled Truman to Advocate Civil Rights,” American Sociological Review 80, no. 2 (2015): 391415 CrossRefGoogle Scholar. In a little-known event, Alaska seems to have set a postwar precedent in abolishing its Jim Crow laws in 1945. Alaska's native population, still large today, was proportionately larger then. See Cole, Terrence M., “Jim Crow in Alaska: The Passage of the Alaska Equal Rights Act of 1945,” Western Historical Quarterly 23, no. 4 (November 1992): 429–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

172. Michael Lind, What Lincoln Believed: The Values and Convictions of America's Greatest President (New York: Random House, 2004), 231–32.

173. On Canada, see “Canada's First Nations Peoples Given Voting Rights: March 31, 1960,” On Australia, see Stephen Castles, Bill Cope, Mary Kalantzis, and Michael Morrissey, Mistaken Identity: Multiculturalism and the Demise of Nationalism in Australia (Sydney: Pluto Press, 1988), 21.

174. On the United States, see, for example, Robert Mann, The Walls of Jericho (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1996), chap. 18. On Canada, see Richard J. F. Day, Multiculturalism and the History of Canadian Diversity (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000), 186–87. On Australia, see John Chesterman, Civil Rights: How Indigenous Australians Won Formal Equality (St. Lucia: University of Queensland Press, 2005), chap. 2.

175. Gwenda Tavan, The Long, Slow Death of White Australia (Melbourne: Scribe, 2005), 115.

176. On Australia, see Castles et al., Mistaken Identity, 51–55; On Canada, see Day, Multiculturalism, 185–86. On New Zealand, see Jock Phillips, “History of Immigration,” Te Ara—the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated August 21, 2013,

177. Walsh, James, “Navigating Globalization: Immigration Policy in Canada and Australia, 1945–2007,” Sociological Forum 23, no. 4 (December 2008): 786813 CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 796. For three of the Anglophone countries, the similarity of immigration policy change in the 1960s is discussed in Jill Vickers and Annette Isaac, The Politics of Race: Canada, the United States, and Australia, 2nd ed. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012), 104–6.

178. On the Labor Party's turnaround, see Tavan, Long, Slow Death of White Australia, 18–19, 35, 116, 127–28, 155, 191–92, 198–202. On the Left parties pressing universalistic rights in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States after World II, see Thomas Janoski, The Ironies of Citizenship: Naturalization and Integration in Industrialized Countries (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 247.

179. Another British settler colony, in part, South Africa, with its preponderant black population, reformed later, but the Sharpeville massacre that triggered a long mobilization occurred in 1960.

180. The analogy is drawn in Fairclough, Adam, “Was the Grant of Black Suffrage a Political Error? Reconsidering the Views of John W. Burgess, William A. Dunning, and Eric Foner on Congressional Reconstruction,” Journal of the Historical Society 12, no. 2 (June 2012): 155–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 173–74.

181. See, for example, Bruce Ackerman, We the People, vol. 3., The Civil Rights Revolution (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2014).

182. For one elaboration of this analysis, see David R. Mayhew, Partisan Balance: Why Political Parties Don't Kill the U.S. Constitutional System (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2011), 98–101. On the Southern resistance in the Senate, see Keith M. Finley, Delaying the Dream: Southern Senators and the Fight against Civil Rights, 1938–1965 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2008).

183. See John David Skrentny, The Ironies of Affirmative Action: Politics, Culture, and Justice in America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), chaps. 4–6; Sunita Parikh, The Politics of Preference: Democratic Institutions and Affirmative Action in the United States and India (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1997), chaps. 4, 5; Hugh Davis Graham, Collision Course: The Strange Convergence of Affirmative Action and Immigration Policy in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), chap. 4; Dean J. Kotlowski, “Richard Nixon and the Origins of Affirmative Action,” The Historian 60, no. 3 (March 1998): 523–41. Anthony S. Chen, The Fifth Freedom: Jobs, Politics, and Civil Rights in the United States, 1941–1972 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009), chap. 5. Chen assigns a leadership role to the courts, too.

184. Skrentny brings out the public order theme in Ironies of Affirmative Action, chap. 4 (“Crisis Management through Affirmative Action”).

185. Graham, Collision Course, 88–92, quotation at 88. See also Parikh, Politics of Preference, 124–25.

186. A recent study dates the faltering of Eastern Europe. The “productivity performance[s]” of Czechoslovakia and Britain are compared in a time series running from 1921 to 1991. The two countries' series ran in parallel until 1980 or so, an apparent inflection point, and then Eastern Europe diverged downward. Autarkic, mass-production factories were no longer a match for the developing “flexible production technology” of the West. Broadberry, Stephen and Klein, Alexander, “When and Why Did Eastern European Economies Begin to Fail? Lessons from a Czechoslovak/UK Productivity Comparison, 1921–1991,” Explorations in Economic History 48 (2011): 3752 CrossRefGoogle Scholar, quotations at 37, 38, chart at 45. See also Sargent, Daniel, “The Cold War and the International Political Economy in the 1970s,” Cold War History 13, no. 3 (2013): 393425 CrossRefGoogle Scholar at 418–25.

187. On the influence of the economists' ideas: Hugh Rockoff, “By Way of Analogy: The Expansion of the Federal Government in the 1930s,” chap. 4 in Bordo, Goldin, and White, The Defining Moment, 148–50; Martha Derthick and Paul J. Quirk, The Politics of Deregulation (Washington, DC: Brookings, 1985), chap. 2; Vietor, Richard H. K., “Contrived Competition: Airline Regulation and Deregulation, 1925–1988,” Business History Review 64, no. 1 (Spring 1990): 61108 CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 74–83.

188. Castles, Francis G., “The Dynamics of Policy Change: What Happened to the English-Speaking Nations in the 1980s,” European Journal of Political Research 18 (1990): 491513 CrossRefGoogle Scholar. In New Zealand, it was the Labour Party that carried the neoliberal reforms. Yet the Anglophones were not alone. See, for example, Fourcade-Gourinchas, Marion and Babb, Sarah L., “The Rebirth of the Liberal Creed: Paths to Neoliberalism in Four Countries [Chile, Britain, Mexico, France],” American Journal of Sociology 108, no. 3 (November 2002): 533–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

189. On Reagan's role, see, for example, Prasad, Monica, “The Popular Origins of Neoliberalism in the Reagan Tax Cut of 1981,” Journal of Policy History 24, no. 3 (2012): 351–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Robert J. Samuelson, The Great Inflation and Its Aftermath: The Past and Future of American Affluence (New York: Random House, 2008), chap. 4.

190. Robert J. Samuelson, The Great Inflation and Its Aftermath: The Past and Future of American Affluence (New York: Random House, 2008), chap. 4.

191. Derthick and Quirk, Politics of Deregulation, 53.

192. Vietor, “Contrived Competition,” 81.

193. Gallamore and Meyer, American Railroads, chap. 9, quotation at 235. See also Mark H. Rose, Bruce E. Seely and Paul F. Barrett, The Best Transportation System in the World: Railroads, Trucks, Airlines, and American Public Policy in the Twentieth Century (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2006), chaps. 7, 8.

194. David Vogel, Fluctuating Fortunes: The Political Power of Business in America (New York: Basic Books, 1989), 169–72; Richard H. K. Vietor, “Government Regulation of Business,” chap. 16 in The Cambridge Economic History of the United States, vol. 3, The Twentieth Century, ed. Stanley L. Engerman and Robert E. Gallman (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000), at 995–1008.

195. Michael J. Graetz, The End of Energy: The Unmaking of America's Environment, Security, and Independence (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2011), 104–15, 147–50; Richard H. K. Vietor, Energy Policy in American since 1945: A Study of Business-Government Relations (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1984), 258–70, 306–11; R. Douglas Arnold, The Logic of Congressional Action (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1990), 231–41, 248–59.

196. Vogel, Fluctuating Fortunes, 174–76, quotation at 174. This 1978 measure “dramatically reversed the reform orientation of the 1969 and 1976 revenue acts and thereby laid the groundwork for the even more sweeping changes in federal tax policy that took place in 1981.” See also Judith Stein, Pivotal Decade: How the United States Traded Factories for Finance in the Seventies (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2010), 192–204. It wasn't just Congress: Quickly evolving ideas within the executive branch were one root of the result. See Weatherford, M. Stephen, with Mayhew, Thomas B., “Tax Policy and Presidential Leadership: Ideas, Interests, and the Quality of Advice,” Studies in American Political Development 9 (Fall 1995): 287330 CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 314–20.

197. See Prasad, “The Popular Origins.” Note also the victory of California's Proposition 13 in 1978, which slashed property taxes.

198. Derthick and Quirk, Politics of Deregulation, chaps. 3–5, 7; Vietor, “Contrived Competition,” 74–83; Rose, Seely, and Barrett, Best Transportation System in the World, chaps. 7–8; Gallamore and Meyer, American Railroads, chap. 9. In the airlines case, the executive branch's CAB leadership swung into advocacy for deregulation.

199. Vietor, “Contrived Competition,” 82; Derthick and Quirk, Politics of Deregulation, 147.

200. Vogel, David, “The Hare and the Tortoise Revisited: The New Politics of Consumer and Environmental Regulation in Europe,” British Journal of Political Science 33, no. 4 (2003): 557–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar, quotation at 557.

201. David Vogel, “The ‘New’ Social Regulation in Historical and Comparative Perspective,” in Regulation in Perspective: Historical Essays, ed. Thomas K. McCraw (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1981); Richard A. Harris, “A Decade of Reform,” chap. 1 in Remaking American Politics, ed. Richard A. Harris and Sidney M. Milkis (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1989); Prasad, Land of Too Much, 19; David R. Mayhew, Divided We Govern: Party Control, Lawmaking, and Investigations, 1946–2002 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2005), 85–87 and Table 4.1; Vietor, “Government Regulation of Business,” 988–95.

202. See Vogel, “The Hare and the Tortoise,” 578 for the “regulatory laggard” phrase. Similarly, a 2005 study rich in statistical comparisons across a range of regulatory areas found that “Europe became relatively more precautionary [that is, regulatory] during the 1990s and the early 2000s.” This finding was notably true for “ecological risk.” Hammitt, James K., Wiener, Jonathan B., Swedlow, Brendon, Kall, Denise, and Zhou, Zheng, “Precautionary Regulation in Europe and the United States: A Quantitative Comparison,” Risk Analysis 25, no. 5 (October 2005): 1215–28CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed, with reference at 1224–26, quotation at 1224.

203. Soon afterward, President Clinton signed the protocol. Why was that? In a recent study based on interviews with expert Kyoto participants, the leading explanation is a flourish of noninstrumental—or at least noninstrumental in immediate formal terms—position-taking by the Clinton White House. Hovi, Jon, Sprinz, Detlef F., and Bang, Guri, “Why the United States Did Not Become a Party to the Kyoto Protocol: German, Norwegian, and US Perspectives,” European Journal of International Relations 18, no. 1 (March 2012, first published on December 7, 2010): 129–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

204. Insightful discussions appear in David Vogel, “The Transatlantic Shift in Health, Safety, and Environmental Risk Regulation, 1960 to 2010,” paper presented at the annual conference of the American Political Science Association, 2011; David Vogel, The Politics of Precaution: Regulating Health, Safety, and Environmental Risks in Europe and the United States (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2012), 34–42, 134–42, 151–52.

205. See, for example, Justin Gillis, “What to Make of a Warming Plateau,” New York Times, June 11, 2013; Hayley Dixon, “Global Warming? No, Actually We're Cooling, Claim Scientists,” Telegraph, September 8, 2013,

206. See Cass R. Sunstein, “People Don't Fear Climate Change Enough,” BloombergView, For a rounded discussion of the difficulties, see Bernauer, Thomas, “Climate Change Politics,” Annual Review of Politics 16 (2013): 421–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 423–26.

207. Kvaløy, Berit, Finseraas, Henning, and Listhaug, Ola, “The Publics' Concern for Global Warming: A Cross-National Study of 47 Countries,” Journal of Peace Research 49, no. 1 (2012): 1122 CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 16. See also Vogel, “The Transatlantic Shift,” 27–28; William Nordhaus, The Climate Casino: Risk, Uncertainty, and Economics for a Warming World (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2013), chap. 25; Rebecca Riffkin, “Climate Change Not a Top Worry in U.S.,” Gallup, March 12, 2014,

208. Margaret Sullivan, “After Changes, How Green Is the Times?” New York Times, November 24, 2013, SR12.

209. Vogel, “The Transatlantic Shift,” 23–28.

210. Gerring, Party Ideologies in America, 111–16, 152–55.

211. On Europe's ambitious standards, see Vogel, Politics of Precaution, 134–42, 147–52. On the difficulties in implementing them, see Stephen Castle, “European Union Proposes Easing of Climate Rules: Binding Goals May End,” New York Times, January 23, 2014, A1, A13; Vanessa Mock, “Climate Goals to Fall Short of Europe Ambitions,” Wall Street Journal, January 18–19, 2014, A7.

212. Enrico Botta and Tomasz Koźluk, “Measuring Environmental Policy Stringency in OECD Countries: A Composite Index Approach,” OECD Economic Department Working Papers, no. 1177 , Paris: OECD Publishing, 2014), chart of index values as of 2012 at 26.

213. See, for example, “Sovereign Doubts: Stimulus v. Austerity,” The Economist, September 28, 2013, 72–73. See also Lawrence Summers, “America's Problem Is Not Political Gridlock,” Financial Times, April 14, 2013.

214. Steven L. Taylor, Matthew S. Shugart, Arend Lijphart, and Bernard Grofman, A Different Democracy: American Government in a Thirty-One-Country Perspective (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2014), 326–27.

215. See, for example, Niall Ferguson, “The Shutdown Is a Sideshow: Debt Is the Threat,” Wall Street Journal, October 5–6, 2013, A11.

216. Cheibub, José Antonio, “Presidentialism, Electoral Identifiability, and Budget Balances in Democratic Systems,” American Political Science Review 100, no. 3 (August 2006): 353–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar, quotation at 353. See also Roubini, Nouriel and Sachs, Jeffrey D., “Political and Economic Determinants of Budget Deficits in the Industrial Democracies,” European Economic Review 33 (May 1989): 903–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 922–26.

217. On Reagan through George W. Bush, see Iwan Morgan, The Age of Deficits: Presidents and Unbalanced Budgets from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2009), chaps. 4–7.

218. First study: Armingeon, Klaus, “The Politics of Fiscal Responses to the Crisis of 2008–2009,” Governance 25, no. 4 (October 2012): 543–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 549. Second: Raess, Damian and Pontusson, Jonas, “The Politics of Fiscal Policy During Economic Downturns, 1981–2010,” European Journal of Political Research 54 (2015): 122 CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 7.

219. On the arithmetic of the Budget Control Act, see Naftali Bendavid and Carol E. Lee, “Leaders Agree on Debt Deal,” Wall Street Journal, August 1, 2011, A1; CQ Staff, “Highlights of Budget Control Act,” Congressional Quarterly Weekly, August 8, 2011, 1761–62. Since August 2011, the “sequestration” agreement has largely stuck. On the “fiscal cliff” measure yielding the $600 billion bite, see Jonathan Weisman, “Tentative Accord Reached to Raise Taxes on Wealthy,” New York Times, January 1, 2013, A1, A12; Zachary A. Goldfarb, “Tuesday's Tax Increase Is the Biggest in Decades,” .

220. It seems to have dwarfed the sizable deals of 1990 and 1993.

221. “A Happy New Year,” The Economist, January 3, 2015, 21. These figures include all federal revenue and outlays.

222. Summers, “America's Problem.”

223. On the theory side, see Kenneth A. Shepsle and Barry R. Weingast, “Legislative Politics and Budget Outcomes,” in Federal Budget Policy in the 1980s, ed. Gregory B. Mills and John L. Palmer (Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press, 1984), 343–68.

224. See Fisher, Louis, “Presidential Budgetary Duties,” Presidential Studies Quarterly 42, no. 4 (December 2012): 754–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 768–70; James A. Thurber, “The Dynamics and Dysfunction of the Congressional Budget Process: From Inception to Deadlock,” chap. 13 in Congress Reconsidered, 10th ed., ed. Lawrence C. Dodd and Bruce I. Oppenheimer (Thousand Oaks, CA: CQ Press, 2013), at 334–39.

225. Paul E. Peterson, “The New Politics of Deficits,” chap. 13 in The New Direction in American Politics, ed. John E. Chubb and Paul E. Peterson (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 1985), quotation at 396. See also the concurring discussion in Arnold, Logic of Congressional Action: “The result is that Congress enacts fiscal policies that appear remarkably similar to those which presidents propose” (191). Helpful for thinking about this interbranch question are the magisterial Richard F. Fenno, Jr., The Power of the Purse: Appropriations Politics in Congress (Boston: Little, Brown, 1966); D. Roderick Kiewiet and Mathew D. McCubbins, The Logic of Delegation: Congressional Parties and the Appropriations Process (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), chap. 8; and Hahm, Sung Deuk, Kamlet, Mark S., and Mowery, David C., “Postwar Deficit Spending in the United States,” American Politics Research 25, no. 2 (April 1997): 139–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

226. This jibes with the logic and findings of Cheibub, “Presidentialism.”

227. Inman, Robert P. and Fitts, Michael A., “Political Institutions and Fiscal Policy: Evidence from the U.S. Historical Record,” Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization 6 (1990): 79132 CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 96–99, 104–9, 114–22, 124.

228. Morgan, Age of Deficits.

229. On 1994, see Jacobson, Gary C., “The 1994 House Elections in Perspective,” Political Science Quarterly 111 (1996): 203–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

230. Karol, “Congress, the President and Elite Opinion,” 18–27.

231. See James L. Sundquist, Politics and Policy: The Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson Years (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 1968), 29–34; Edward R. Tufte, Political Control of the Economy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1978), 8, 15–18; May, Ann Mari, “President Eisenhower, Economic Policy, and the 1960 Presidential Election,” Journal of Economic History 50, no. 2 (June 1990): 417–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

232. Richard M. Nixon, Six Crises (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1962), 309–11. Unemployment was too high in October 1960: “All the speeches, television broadcasts, and precinct work in the world could not counteract that one hard fact” (310–11).

233. See Bartels, Larry M. and Zaller, John, “Presidential Vote Models: A Recount,” PS: Political Science and Politics 34 (2001): 920 Google Scholar, at 15: “Clinton may have displayed more fiscal discipline than political sense in spurning Republican proposals for a tax cut.”

234. There is a twist. Both the congressional Democrats of the late 1950s and the House Republicans of 2000 seem to have been acting against the electoral interests of the presidential wings of their own parties. But there is an aroma of position taking. The matter is complicated. These congressional parties could win immediate points for the fiscal-imbalancing positions they took, but they perhaps also expected the incumbent presidents to guard the Treasury and thus incidentally forego for their successor nominees Nixon and Gore the electoral benefits of short-term economic stimulus jolts. At the time, both Eisenhower and Clinton were term-limited and retiring.

235. Arnold, as of his careful analysis in 1990, was unconvinced. See Logic of Congressional Action, chap. 7.

236. Juan J. Linz, “Presidential or Parliamentary Democracy: Does It Make a Difference?” chap. 1 in The Failure of Presidential Democracy, ed. Juan J. Linz and Arturo Valenzuela (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994). Linz does not see the United States's particular presidential system to be fragile.

237. Matthew Soberg Shugart and John M. Carey, Presidents and Assemblies: Constitutional Design and Electoral Dynamics (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992), chaps. 7, 8, esp. 154–58. The United States is a high-side outlier among presidential systems in the powers of its national legislature.

238. See Wawro and Schickler, Filibuster, 76–87; Gregory Koger, Filibustering: A Political History of Obstruction in the House and Senate (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010), 74, 118–19, 123, 154–57.

239. On the Reconstruction era, see Richard M. Valelly, The Two Reconstructions: The Struggle for Black Enfranchisement (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004), chaps. 2, 3.

240. Some relevant material appears in Mayhew, Divided We Govern, 119–35, 221–23.

241. The date for the last item is January 1, 2013, although this “fiscal cliff” deal was a last-gasp act by the Congress elected in November 2010.

242. For example, see James MacGregor Burns in 1963: “We are mired in governmental deadlock, as Congress blocks or kills not only most of Mr. Kennedy's bold proposals of 1960, but many planks of the Republican platform as well.” The Deadlock of Democracy: Four-Party Politics in America (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1963), 2.

243. See, for example, Mayhew, Partisan Balance, chap. 2, for material on many of the relevant Congresses.

244. See the discussion in Chafetz, Josh, “The Phenomenology of Gridlock,” Notre Dame Law Review 88, no. 5 (June 2013): 2065–87Google Scholar.

245. See Howard, The Hidden Welfare State; Steinmo, Taxation and Democracy.

246. Robert A. Dahl, A Preface to Democratic Theory (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1956), 128.

247. See the excellent discussion in Martha Derthick, Agency Under Stress: The Social Security Administration in American Government (Washington, DC: Brookings, 1990), chap. 4.

248. See Richard F. Fenno, Jr., Congressmen in Committees (Boston: Little, Brown, 1973), 5–9, 35–45, 64–69, 90–91, 110–14, 135–37, 139–40, 152, 170–71, 180–84, 242–55, 281–83.

249. The accounts are sketchy, but see Kennedy, “The Statist Evolution,” 164–65; Gallamore and Meyer, American Railroads, 56–63; Rose, Seely, and Barrett, Best Transportation System in the World, 3–4; Craig, Douglas B., “'Don't You Hear All the Railroad Men Squeak?’: William G. McAdoo, the United States Railroad Administration, and the Democratic Presidential Nomination of 1924,” Journal of American Studies 48, no. 3 (2014): 777–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar. This issue could use more investigation.