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Encyclopedia of U.S. Political History

Encyclopedia of U.S. Political History

Seven Volume Set

April 2010 | 4 000 pages | CQ Press

Unparalleled coverage of U.S. political development through a unique chronological framework

Encyclopedia of U.S. Political History explores the events, policies, activities, institutions, groups, people, and movements that have created and shaped political life in the United States. With contributions from scholars in the fields of history and political science, this seven-volume set provides students, researchers, and scholars the opportunity to examine the political evolution of the United States from the 1500s to the present day.

With greater coverage than any other resource, the Encyclopedia of U.S. Political History identifies and illuminates patterns and interrelations that will expand the reader’s understanding of American political institutions, culture, behavior, and change. Focusing on both government and history, the Encyclopedia brings exceptional breadth and depth to the topic with more than 100 essays for each of the critical time periods covered.

With each volume covering one of seven time periods that correspond to key eras in American history, the essays and articles in this authoritative encyclopedia focus on the following themes of political history:

  • The three branches of government
  • Elections and political parties
  • Legal and constitutional histories
  • Political movements and philosophies, and key political figures
  • Economics
  • Military politics
  • International relations, treaties, and alliances
  • Regional histories 

Key Features

  • Organized chronologically by political eras
  • Reader’s guide for easy-topic searching across volumes
  • Maps, photographs, and tables enhance the text
  • Signed entries by a stellar group of contributors

Colonial Beginnings through Revolution
Volume Editor: Andrew Robertson, Herbert H. Lehman College

The colonial period witnessed the transformation of thirteen distinct colonies into an independent federated republic. This volume discusses the diversity of the colonial political experience—a diversity that modern scholars have found defies easy synthesis—as well as the long-term conflicts, policies, and events that led to revolution, and the ideas underlying independence.

The Early Republic
Volume Editor: Michael A. Morrison, Purdue University

No period in the history of the United States was more critical to the foundation and shaping of American politics than the early American republic. This volume discusses the era of Confederation, the shaping of the U.S. Constitution, and the development of the party system.

Expansion, Division, and Reconstruction
Volume Editor: William Shade, Lehigh University (emeritus)

This volume examines three decades in the middle of the nineteenth century, which witnessed: the emergence of the debate over slavery in the territories, which eventually led to the Civil War; the military conflict itself from 1861 until 1865; and the process of Reconstruction, which ended with the readmission of all of the former Confederate States to the Union and the “withdrawal” of the last occupying federal troops from those states in 1877.

From the Gilded Age through the Age of Reform
Volume Editor: Robert Johnston, University of Illinois at Chicago

With the withdrawal of federal soldiers from Southern states the previous year, 1878 marked a new focus in American politics, and it became recognizably modern within the next 40 years. This volume focuses on race and politics; economics, labor, and capitalism; agrarian politics and populism; national politics; progressivism; foreign affairs; World War I; and the end of the progressive era.

Prosperity, Depression, and War
Volume Editor: Robert Zieger, University of Florida

Between 1921 and 1945, the U.S. political system exhibited significant patterns of both continuity and change in a turbulent time marked by racist conflicts, the Great Depression, and World War II. The main topics covered in this volume are declining party identification; the “Roosevelt Coalition”; evolving party organization; congressional inertia in the 1920s; the New Deal; Congress during World War II; the growth of the federal government; Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency; the Supreme Court’s conservative traditions; and a new judicial outlook.

Postwar Consensus to Social Unrest
Volume Editor: Thomas Langston, Tulane University

This volume examines the postwar era with the consolidation of the New Deal, the onset of the Cold War, and the Korean War. It then moves into the 1950s and early 1960s, and discusses the Vietnam war; the era of John F. Kennedy; the Cuban Missile Crisis; the Civil Rights Act; Martin Luther King and the Voting Rights Act; antiwar movements; The War Powers Act; environmental policy; the Equal Rights Amendment; Roe v. Wade; Watergate; and the end of the Vietnam War.

The Clash of Conservatism and Liberalism
1976 to present
Volume Editor: Richard Valelly, Swarthmore College

The troubled Carter Administration, 1977–1980, proved to be the political gateway for the resurgence of a more ideologically conservative Republican party led by a popular president, Ronald Reagan. The last volume of the Encyclopedia covers politics and national institutions in a polarized era of nationally competitive party politics and programmatic debates about taxes, social policy, and the size of national government. It also considers the mixed blessing of the change in superpower international competition associated with the end of the Cold War. Stateless terrorism (symbolized by the 9/11 attacks), the continuing American tradition of civil liberties, and the broad change in social diversity wrought by immigration and the impact in this period of the rights revolutions are also covered.


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