America's Three Regimes : A New Political History: A New Political History

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, USA, 2007 M09 26 - 384 pages
When historians take the long view, they look at "ages" or "eras" (the Age of Jackson, the Progressive Era). But these time spans last no longer than a decade or so. In this groundbreaking new book, Morton Keller divides our nation's history into three regimes, each of which lasts many, many decades, allowing us to appreciate, as never before, the slow steady evolution of American public life. Americans like to think of our society as eternally young and effervescent. But the reality is very different. A proper history of America must be as much about continuity, persistence, and evolution as about transformation and revolution. To provide this proper history, Keller groups America's past into three long regimes--Deferential and Republican, from the colonial period to the 1820s; Party and Democratic, from the 1830s to the 1930s; and Populist and Bureaucratic, from the 1930s to the present. This approach yields many new insights. We discover, for instance, that the history of colonial America, the Revolution, and the Early Republic is a more unified story than usually assumed. The Civil War, industrialization, and the Progressive era did relatively little to alter the character of the democratic-party regime that lasted from the 1830s to the 1930s. And the populist-bureaucratic regime in which we live today has seen changes in politics, government, and law as profound as those that occurred in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. As Keller underscores the sheer staying power of America's public institutions, he sheds light on current concerns as well: in particular, will the current political polarization continue or will more moderate forces prevail. Here then is a major contribution to United States history--an entirely new way to look at our past, our present, and our future--packed with provocative and original observations about American public life.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Really more of a history of the develoment of American political parties,Keller takes an interesting, if unorthodox, new look at American politics in general. You may not agree with everything he says, but the book is thought provoking.
I haven't been able to find any good, comprehensive history of the rise and fall of political parties in the U.S., but this would be the closest so far.
 

Selected pages

Contents

Old Ways and New
10
The Republican Revolution
22
From Factions to Parties
41
THE PARTYDEMOCRATIC REGIME The Democratic Polity
66
The Culture of Democratic Party Politics
70
Governing a Democratic Polity
87
Crisis
104
THE PARTYDEMOCRATIC REGIME The Industrial Polity
132
The Progressive Interlude
173
THE POPULISTBUREAUCRATIC REGIME
200
The Rise of the PopulistBureaucratic Regime
206
Bureaucracy and Democracy
230
Populism and Party
258
Today and Tomorrow
280
Notes
300
Index
320

The Age of the Politicos
134
A State of Parties and Courts
150

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 122 - It forces us to ask, Is there in all republics this inherent and fatal weakness? Must a government of necessity be too strong for the liberties of its own people, or too weak to maintain its own existence?
Page 84 - The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do at all, or cannot so well do. for themselves, in their separate and individual capacities.
Page 62 - However our present interests may restrain us within our own limits, it is impossible not to look forward to distant times, when our rapid multiplication will expand itself beyond those limits, and cover the whole northern, if not the southern continent, with a people speaking the same language, governed in similar forms, and by similar laws; nor can we contemplate with satisfaction either blot or mixture on that surface.
Page 36 - American revolution with those of the late American war. The American war is over; but this is far from being the case with the American revolution. On the contrary, nothing but the first act of the great drama is closed. It remains yet to establish and perfect our new forms of government, and to prepare the principles, morals, and manners of our citizens, for these forms of government, after they are established and brought to perfection.
Page 1 - Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
Page 16 - ... our allegiance binds us not to the laws of England any longer than while we live in England, for the laws of the parliament of England reach no further, nor do the king's writs under the great seal go any further; what the orders of state may belongs not in us to determine.
Page 96 - The power we allude to is rather the police power, the power vested in the legislature by the constitution to make, ordain, and establish all manner of wholesome and reasonable laws, statutes, and ordinances, either with penalties or without, not repugnant to the constitution, as they shall judge to be for the good and welfare of the commonwealth, and of the subjects of the same.
Page 120 - No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize, or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.
Page 40 - In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights, to illuminate our understandings...
Page 69 - The people have now more general objects of attachment with which their pride and political opinions are connected. They are more Americans ; they feel and act more as a nation ; and I hope that the permanency of the Union is thereby better secured.

Bibliographic information