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This book develops a general explanation for party polarization in America from both historical and contemporary perspectives. Prior polarization studies focused exclusively on the modern era, but this work traces party polarization from the constitutional convention of 1787 to the present. Using such a broad historical perspective shows that what was unusual in American history was the period of low polarization from the Great Depression through 1980, rather than the period of high polarization of the modern era. Polarization is the norm of the American system, not the exception, and is likely to persist in the future. More theoretically, party polarization in America has been due to class-based conflict and rent-seeking by the patrician and plebian classes in various historical eras, rather than conflict over cultural values. As in earlier historical eras, modern party polarization has largely been elite-driven, with party entrepreneurs cunningly and strategically using polarization to their advantage.Read more
- Develops a comprehensive theory of why party polarization exists in America, rooted in historical and quantitative analysis
- Attributes party polarization in America to class-based conflict and rent-seeking by the patrician and plebian classes in various historical eras
- Resolves modern debates over whether the modern electorate is polarized and why
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- Date Published: August 2017
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9781107195929
- length: 388 pages
- dimensions: 236 x 158 x 26 mm
- weight: 0.67kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. Theoretical perspectives on party polarization in America
2. Establishing the founders' social contract from the constitutional convention through George Washington
3. The consequences of the founders' social contract from reconstruction to the Great Depression
4. Forging the new deal social contract from the Great Depression through World War II
5. The new deal social contract through the 1970s
6. Polarization over the new deal social contract from the 1970s to present
7. Are Americans ideologically polarized?
8. Elite polarization and democratic representation
9. Polarization as the norm of the American system.
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