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Restoring Politics to Political History

Kousser, J. Morgan (1982) Restoring Politics to Political History. Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 12 (4). pp. 569-595. ISSN 0022-1953.

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If history ever was simply the study of past politics, it is no longer. Dissatisfied with narratives of Great Men, more interested in analyzing the impact of larger forces and in tracing out patterns of the lives of the masses of people, skeptical that a recounting of election campaigns and a counting of votes reveals much about social thought or action, strongly affected by currents of opinion which have long run deep in France, American historians have turned increasingly to social history. Others, perhaps those more comfortable with mathematics, have concentrated on economic history. Even most practitioners of the "new political history" have focused chiefly on the effect of social forces on politics or have used votes as a measure of society's opinions. Political history is in danger of becoming a mere branch of social history.

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Additional Information:© 1982 by The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the editors of The Journal of Interdisciplinary History. Reprinted in Robert I. Rotberg, ed., Politics and Political Change (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2001), 19-46. In earlier guises, this article was presented in the Harvard Political Economy Lecture Series and at the Social Science History Association meeting (1980). Tables 1 and 2 are drawn from Kousser, "Progressivism-for Middle-Class Whites Only," Journal of Southern History, XLVI (1980), 169-194. The author thanks those kind enough to comment on previous versions for their assistance and Sanford Higginbotham of the Journal of Southern History for permission to use the tables.
Issue or Number:4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130830-111548763
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Official Citation: J. Morgan Kousser The Journal of Interdisciplinary History , Vol. 12, No. 4 (Spring, 1982), pp. 569-595 Published by: The MIT Press Article Stable URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:41033
Deposited By: SWORD User
Deposited On:03 Sep 2013 15:27
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 05:45

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