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Toward "Total Political History"

Kousser, J. Morgan (1986) Toward "Total Political History". Social Science Working Paper, 581. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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How is the segmented and disoriented world of contemporary historical scholarship, in particular, that of American political history, to be reintegrated and revived? Instead of imposing a substantive synthesis, which would narrow the discipline's focus by excluding many interesting topics, I propose that historians adopt a common approach--rational choice theory--that has proven useful in economics and political science. Using notions drawn from rational choice and examples primarily from the American Civil War and Reconstruction period, I examine the assumptions behind and arguments for three theories in intellectual/cultural history--republicanism, "political culture," and positive/negative liberalism. I then try to spell out some of the implications of rational choice models for the study of electoral, legislative, judicial, and administrative behavior.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Discussion Paper)
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Alternate Title:Toward "Total Political History": A Rational-Choice Research Program
Additional Information:Revised. Original dated to September 1985. Several friends have taken the time to give me very helpful readings of previous drafts of this essay: David Hollinger, Martin Ridge, Darrett Rutman, Allan Spitzer, Charles Tilly, and Louise Tilly. I have benefited from their suggestions as well as from those of the audiences at the 16th International Congress of Historical Sciences, Stuttgart, Germany, August, 1985, and the University of Maryland, College Park, where earlier versions were delivered. Published as Kousser, J. Morgan. "Toward" Total Political History": A Rational-Choice Research Program." The Journal of Interdisciplinary History 20.4 (1990): 521-560.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Subject Keywords:Political science, Political history, Political parties, Political elections, Slavery, Voting, Rational choice theory, Political candidates, Voting behavior, Social choice
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:581
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170914-164531615
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:81470
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:15 Sep 2017 17:01
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:43

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