America's Three Regimes

America's Three Regimes : A New Political History

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When historians take the long view, they look at "ages" or "eras" (the Age of Jackson, the Progressive Era). But these time spans last no longer than a decade or so. In this groundbreaking new book, Morton Keller divides our nation's history into three regimes, each of which lasts many, many decades, allowing us to appreciate, as never before, the slow steady evolution of American public life. Americans like to think of our society as eternally young and effervescent. But the reality is very different. A proper history of America must be as much about continuity, persistence, and evolution as about transformation and revolution. To provide this proper history, Keller groups America's past into three long regimes--Deferential and Republican, from the colonial period to the 1820s; Party and Democratic, from the 1830s to the 1930s; and Populist and Bureaucratic, from the 1930s to the present. This approach yields many new insights. We discover, for instance, that the history of colonial America, the Revolution, and the Early Republic is a more unified story than usually assumed. The Civil War, industrialization, and the Progressive era did relatively little to alter the character of the democratic-party regime that lasted from the 1830s to the 1930s. And the populist-bureaucratic regime in which we live today has seen changes in politics, government, and law as profound as those that occurred in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. As Keller underscores the sheer staying power of America's public institutions, he sheds light on current concerns as well: in particular, will the current political polarization continue or will more moderate forces prevail. Here then is a major contribution to United States history--an entirely new way to look at our past, our present, and our future--packed with provocative and original observations about American public life.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 348 pages
  • 160.02 x 233.68 x 30.48mm | 725.74g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195325028
  • 9780195325027
  • 1,728,087

About Morton Keller

Morton Keller is Spector Professor of History Emeritus at Brandeis University.show more

Review quote

"Brilliant and original...In America's Three Regimes, Morton Keller has not only provided a striking new way of thinking about American politics but also written an engaging narrative that can be read with profit by the general public as well as academic specialists. I would hazard a guess that Americas Three Regimes will find a place on the small and exclusive shelf of classics of American political history."--Michael Lind, The Forum"Uniformly challenging and thought-provoking."--Mark J. Stern, American Historical Review"Few will fail to be impressed by the scope of Keller's magisterial synthesis--a fitting capstone to an illustrious career."--Richard J. Ellis The Journal of American History"A thought-provoking book, and anyone interested in US history or politics will want to be familiar with it. Highly recommended."--G.Eow, CHOICE"One of the most engaging and accessible portraits of America's political evolution of recent years...[I]f I were asked to name the single best book written in recent years on the sweep of American political history, I'd answer America's Three Regimes.--New York Times Book Review"He is breezy without being glib, and original without being eccentric. Even if you don't find the idea of Mr. Keller's three regimes illuminating, his book is. Never misty-eyed, he keeps finding the right anecdote to support his view of American exceptionalism...[H]is book is a feast to enjoy."--The Economist"A masterful and fresh account of U.S. politics...[A] well-constructed and fast-paced historical narrative with a powerful analytic model make for a book that will provoke and engage specialists while providing less seasoned readers in the United States and abroad with a very useful and accessible introduction to the development of U.S. politics."--Foreign Affairs"For students of American history, a thesis worth exploring."--Kirkus Reviews"Professor Morton Keller of Brandeis has performed an important service with this brilliant, engaging new book...In America's Three Regimes, Morton Keller has produced a valuable, highly readable survey of American political history that answers many of the questions about government and the people that we ask today. This is the epitome of pleasurable reading...Kudos to Professor Keller and congratulations to those lucky enough to encounter his book."--the Weekly Standard"This uncommonly ambitious book confirms Morton Keller's standing in the front rank of American political historians. Few scholars can match Keller's depth of knowledge about the entirety of America's political development, or his ability to weave such a rich and colorful narrative tapestry. America's Three Regimes is a book that compels us to re-think much that we have thought we understood about the American political tradition. This is history in the grand style--creatively conveived and magisterially executed."--David M. Kennedy, author of Freedom from Fear"A sweeping history of American political institutions that stresses continuity as much as change, America's Three Regimes is a reminder of the importance of understanding the political past when grappling with the partisan present."--Joanne B. Freeman, author of Affairs of Honor"An informative and enjoyable read. Every political scientist will learn from this magisterial account by one of America's foremost political historians."--Morris Fiorina, Stanford University"Keller has written a highly original and compelling account of the American polity. Maintaining a brisk pace from the colonial era to the present, he shows how politics and government in the United States have been shaped by three enduring regimes that have wrestled with the profound challenges of emancipating the country from Great Britain, providing self-government on a grand scale, and upholding the rights of the individuals and groups in a complex, unforgiving commercial society. Combining rich narrative and keen insight, America's Three Regimes is a fascinating retrospective on the country's enduring problems and its impressive resiliency."--Sidney M. Milkis, Unversity of Virginia"This study is an ambitious work; it is a sweeping political history of the United States from the colonial period to the present...In an engaging, fast-paced manner, the author narrates how the United States advanced from a colonial network, to a young republic, to a democracy with a strong two-party system, to the current populist-bureaucratic state in which many citizens define themselves by issues rather than political parties."--The Historianshow more

Table of contents

Introduction: The American Polity and Its Regimes; PART ONE: THE DEFERENTIAL-REPUBLICAN REGIME; Ch. 1 Old Ways and News; Ch. 2 The Republican Revolution; Ch. 3 From Factions to Parties; PART TWO: THE PARTY-DEMOCRATIC REGIME: THE DEMOCRATIC POLITY; Ch. 4 The Culture of Party Politics; Ch. 5 Governing a Democratic Polity; Ch. 6 Crisis; PART THREE: THE PARTY-DEMOCRATIC REGIME: THE INDUSTRIAL POLITY; Ch. 7 The Age of the Polticos; Ch. 8 A State of Parties and Courts; Ch. 9 The Progressive Challenge; PART FOUR: THE BUREAUCRATIC-POPULIST REGIME; Ch. 10 The Rise of the Bureaucratic-Populist Regime; Ch. 11 Bureaucracy and Democracy; Ch. 12 Populism and Party; Conclusion: Today and Tomorrowshow more

Rating details

34 ratings
3.08 out of 5 stars
5 6% (2)
4 24% (8)
3 53% (18)
2 9% (3)
1 9% (3)
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