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American Political History: A Very Short Introduction

Donald Critchlow

25 December 2014

ISBN: 9780199340057

168 pages

In Stock

Very Short Introductions

Price: £8.99



American Political History: A Very Short Introduction captures the richness of American political history, focusing primarily on national politics. The book explores the nature of the two-party system, key turning points in American political history and explains representative presidential and congressional elections. It also highlights the struggles to expand the electorate, critical social protest and third-party movements.

  • Offers a short, dynamic overview of American political history
  • Captures the drama of American politics
  • Explores the two-party system
  • Provides a balanced argument on the robust nature of American democracy

About the Author(s)

Donald Critchlow, Professor of History, Arizona State University, Tempe

Donald T. Critchlow is Professor of History at Arizona State University. He is the author of When Hollywood Was Right: How Movie Moguls, Film Stars, and Big Business Remade American Politics to be published by Cambridge University Press. In addition, he has authored and edited many other books including The Conservative Ascendancy: How the GOP Made Political History (Harvard, 2007; revised 2011, Kansas); Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism (Princeton, 2005; paper 2007); and Intended Consequences: Birth Control, Abortion, and the Federal Government (Oxford, 1999, pap. 2001). He is currently working on a book American Democracy Now and Its Future, a data-driven book. He is editor of the Journal of Policy History, an interdisciplinary quarterly published by Cambridge University Press.

Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    Chapter 1 The Politics of the Constitution, 1787-89
    Chapter 2 Contentious People and Factious Parties in the Early Republic, 1789-1824
    Chapter 3 The Age of Democracy, 1816-1844
    Chapter 4 The Politics of Slavery: Prelude to the Civil War, 1844-1860
    Chapter 5 Politics in War and Reconstruction, 1861-1876
    Chapter 6 Gilded Age Frustration and the Progressive Response, 1877-1918
    Chapter 7 Affluence, Depression, and World War, 1920-1945
    Chapter 8 Early Cold War Politics, 1946-74
    Chapter 9 America Divided, 1974-present
    Further reading


"This Very Short Introduction is a concise, readable narrative of American political history. Critchlow has done a particularly good job at illustrating transitions in elite political culture." - Reviews in History, Mark Power Smith