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The Rise of the States

Evolution of American State Government

Jon C. Teaford

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In The Rise of the States, noted urban historian Jon C. Teaford explores the development of state government in the United States from the end of the nineteenth century to the so-called renaissance of states at the end of the twentieth. Arguing that state governments were not lethargic backwaters that suddenly stirred to life in the 1980s, Teaford shows instead how state governments were continually adapting and expanding throughout the past century. While previous historical scholarship focused on the states, if at all, as retrograde relics of simpler times, Teaford describes how states...

In The Rise of the States, noted urban historian Jon C. Teaford explores the development of state government in the United States from the end of the nineteenth century to the so-called renaissance of states at the end of the twentieth. Arguing that state governments were not lethargic backwaters that suddenly stirred to life in the 1980s, Teaford shows instead how state governments were continually adapting and expanding throughout the past century. While previous historical scholarship focused on the states, if at all, as retrograde relics of simpler times, Teaford describes how states actively assumed new responsibilities, developed new sources of revenue, and created new institutions.

Teaford examines the evolution of the structure, function, and finances of state government during the Progressive Era, the 1920s, the Great Depression, the post–World War II years, and the post–reapportionment era beginning in the late 1960s. State governments, he explains, played an active role not only in the creation, governance, and management of the political units that made up the state but also in dealing with the growth of business, industries, and education. Not all states chose the same solutions to common problems. For Teaford, the diversity of responses points to the growing vitality and maturity of state governments as the twentieth century unfolded.

Reviews

Reviews

This very thoughtful volume details the institutional restructuring, refinancing, and rethinking of the purposes of state government. A solid chronicle of the evolution of state government in the US.

Teaford, a respected urban historian, turns his attention to the history of state government and provides a long overdue framework for debate. One can only hope that this book will find as wide an audience among historians as it deserves... The value of The Rise of States is that it presents a bold argument for the aiding strength of state government in the federal system.

Efficiency, rationality, and 'scientific management' were leitmotifs of the twentieth century from its start, and the states, Teaford argues, were better positioned than the fettered giant in Washington to partake of the experimental spirit of the age... Teaford commendably serves a calming role for the caricature-prone conversation over the states' place within American governance.

State governments, in Teaford's account, were resilient and entrepreneurial regimes throughout the twentieth century... An outstanding book. For years to come, it will surely be a standard reference and starting point for those seeking to understand the history of state government.

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Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
280
ISBN
9780801877025
Table of Contents

Contents:
1 A Flawed Prognosis
2 A New Era in State Government
3 Financing the Emerging State
4 Restructuring State Government
5 Adapting to the Automobile Age
6 Economic Depression and Accelerated Change
7

Contents:
1 A Flawed Prognosis
2 A New Era in State Government
3 Financing the Emerging State
4 Restructuring State Government
5 Adapting to the Automobile Age
6 Economic Depression and Accelerated Change
7 Working in the Shadows
8 Reform and Recognition

Epilogue: The Continuing Evolution
Notes
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Jon C. Teaford

Jon C. Teaford is professor emeritus of history at Purdue University. He is the author of Rough Road to Renaissance: Urban Revitalization in America, 1940–1985, The Metropolitan Revolution: The Rise of Post-Urban America, and The American Suburb: The Basics.