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The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States [Book Review]

Kousser, J. Morgan (2001) The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States [Book Review]. Journal of American History, 88 (3). pp. 1044-1046. ISSN 0021-8723 . https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20131010-095057518

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Abstract

Alexander Keyssar's largely intellectual history of suffrage throughout the nation's history and Mark Lawrence Kornbluh's largely quantitative analysis of the transition from nearly universal male political participation in the late 1800s to the much less active polity of the twentieth century underscore a simple but of- ten neglected lesson: Because words and behavior are sometimes at variance, scholars should study both. The division of labor between these two books leads to contradictory conclusions. Despite mentions of low con- temporary voter turnout and unequal political power at the beginning and end of his book, Keyssar's is mainly a hopeful story of the sometimes reversed but eventually successful dismantling of class, race, and gender barriers to voting, in that unusual order of emphasis. Kornbluh's is explicitly a story of decline, from a late-nineteenth-century polity in which nearly every man, at least in the North, not only voted but argued, marched, and often organized for his party, to a deferential, interest group-and expert-dominated political system in the twentieth. In one, democracy flowers; in the other, it withers


Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
http://www.jstor.org/stable/2700407PublisherBook Review
http://www.perseusbooksgroup.com/basic/book_detail.jsp?isbn=0465005020PublisherBook Publisher "The Right to Vote"
http://nyupress.org/books/book-details.aspx?bookId=6181#.UmGqpFe5QpoPublisherBook Publisher "Why America Stopped Voting"
Alternate Title:Why America Stopped Voting: The Decline of Participatory Democracy and the Emergence of Modern American Politics [Book Review]
Additional Information:© 2001 Oxford University Press. Book review of: The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States. By Alexander Keyssar. New York: Basic Books, 2000. xxiv, 467 pp., ISBN 0-465-02968-X. Book review of: Why America Stopped Voting: The Decline of Participatory Democracy and the Emergence of Modern American Politics. By Mark Lawrence Kornbluh. New York: New York University Press, 2000. xvi, 242 pp., ISBN 0-8147-4708-6.
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20131010-095057518
Persistent URL:https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20131010-095057518
Official Citation:The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States by Alexander Keyssar; Why America Stopped Voting: The Decline of Participatory Democracy and the Emergence of Modern American Politics by Mark Lawrence Kornbluh Review by: J. Morgan Kousser The Journal of American History , Vol. 88, No. 3 (Dec., 2001), pp. 1044-1046 Published by: Organization of American Historians Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2700407
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:41861
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: SWORD User
Deposited On:18 Oct 2013 21:43
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 05:52

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