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The Current Crisis in American Politics [Book Review]

Kousser, J. Morgan (1985) The Current Crisis in American Politics [Book Review]. Social Science History, 9 (2). pp. 215-227. ISSN 0145-5532.

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Conventional political historians tell colorful stories of particular politicians or election campaigns or analyze the appeals of what they claim are the underlying ideologies of groups or of eras. Basing their accounts on the impressions of interested observers as recorded in letters and newspapers, they usually shun open and self-conscious theorizing and straightforward, falsifiable conclusions, and they pay scant attention to election returns, legislative roll calls, and other quantifiable data. Social scientific political historians, on the other hand, specify their assumptions and models, focus more on countable than on "lettristic" evidence, examine electoral systems or strings of elections, and aim to generalize. For traditionalists, questions about trends in voting turnout simply do not arise. The publication of these two books demonstrates both how much the newer approach has changed the research agenda of political history and how important questions of turnout have become. Yet reflection on their analysis suggests that the abandonment of the focus on the particulars of single elections and candidates may not be a wholly unmixed blessing for political history.

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Alternate Title:Who Voted? The Dynamics of Electoral Turnout, 1870-1980 [Book Review], Review essay: voters, absent and present
Additional Information:© 1985 Duke University Press. Book review of: Walter Dean Burnham, The Current Crisis in American Politics. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982, 322 pp., ISBN: 9780195032192. Book review of: Paul Kleppner, Who Voted? The Dynamics of Electoral Turnout, 1870-1980. New York: Praeger, 1982, 206 pp., ISBN: 9780275906610.
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20131010-100323660
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Official Citation:The Current Crisis in American Politics by Walter Dean Burnham; Who Voted? The Dynamics of Electoral Turnout, 1870-1980 by Paul Kleppner Review by: J. Morgan Kousser Social Science History , Vol. 9, No. 2 (Spring, 1985), pp. 215-227 Published by: Duke University Press on behalf of the Social Science History Association Article Stable URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:41865
Deposited By: SWORD User
Deposited On:21 Oct 2013 16:26
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 05:52

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