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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:54343
Doc. No:TL24297
Call number:‭3294788‬
Main Entry:Robert Patrick Saldin
Title & Author:War and American political development: Parties, state building, and democratic rights policyRobert Patrick Saldin
College:University of Virginia
Date:2008
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2008
Page No:370
Abstract:Political scientists studying the United States usually limit their explanatory variables to those that can be found within the nation's borders. This standard approach omits an important causal factor: foreign wars. The under-appreciation of major U.S. wars as a causal variable in the domestic realm limits our understanding of American politics and government. My dissertation argues that international conflicts have strong effects on American political parties, elections, state building and institutional development, and policy making. The project examines major foreign conflicts beginning with the Spanish-American War and concluding with the current engagement in Iraq. First, I argue that wars affect the party system in two ways. On-going or recently concluded wars recast the political landscape and, as a result, are pivotal factors in elections, influencing both elite and mass behavior. This conclusion suggests that the general thrust of the elections literature is incomplete in its assertion that American elections are more or less single-handedly driven either by party identification, social characteristics, or the state of the economy. In addition, because wars reshape the political landscape, political parties are compelled to alter their ideologies. In other words, wars force the dimension of international relations into the ideological package. Second, I argue that major wars expose and highlight problems requiring governmental solutions or necessitating emergency action. The response to these problems usually involves state building and institutional development that goes beyond the national security state. Finally, despite some well known curtailments of civil liberties, wars often enhance democracy by drawing attention to the contributions of previously marginalized groups and facilitating the extension of fuller citizenship rights to them. My project specifically highlights the role wars have played in the extension of new rights to women, African-Americans, and youths.
Subject:Social sciences; American political development; American politics; Democratic rights; Elections; Political development; Political parties; State building; State-building; War; Political science; 0615:Political science
Added Entry:J. W. Ceaser
Added Entry:University of Virginia