Panels and Abstracts for Western Political Science Association Meetings, 1998

Section 7 .......... ABSTRACTS

 

Panel 7. 1. Race and Citizenship in American Politics (Thursday, 8:15)

Chair: Paul Frymer, UCLA

 Roberta Haines, Political Science Department, UCLA

 Phil Klinker, Department of Government, Hamilton College

 John McCullough, Government Department, UT Austin

 Julie Novkov, Dept. of Political Science, University of Oregon

 Discussant: Paul Frymer, Dept. of Political Science, UCLA

 

Panel 7.2. Women's Politics Before and After Suffrage (Saturday, 8:30)

 Chair: Gretchen Ritter, Govt. Dept., U.T. Austin

 Jacqueline R. Braitman, UCLA

 Sue Davis, University of Delaware

 Donna C. Schuele, UC Berkeley

Linda Van Ingen, University of California, Riverside

Discussant: Carole Pateman, Dept. of Political Science, UCLA

 

 Panel 7.3. Changing Values in American Political Thought and Rhetoric (Thursday, 3:30)

 Chair: Jeffrey Tulis, Government Dept., UT Austin

 Yash Holbrook, University of Colorado at Denver

 Kimberly K. Smith, Tuskegee University

 R. Claire Snyder, Rutgers University

 Discussant: David F. Ericson, Department of Political Science, Wichita State University

  

Panel 7.4. Public Policy and the American State (Friday, 2:30)

 Chair: Dave Robertson, Department of Political Science, University of Missouri - St. Louis

 George A. Gonzalez, Dept. of Political Science, University of Minnesota

 Stuart Shulman, Dept. of Political Science, University of Oregon

 Bartholomew Sparrow, Government Dept, UT Austin

 Discussant: Kenneth Finegold, Eastern Washington University

 

Panel 7.5. Legislatures and Parties in American Politics (Thursday, 1:30)

 Chair: Bartholomew Sparrow, Govt Dept., UT Austin

 Linda Kowalcky, University of Missouri, St. Louis

 Kenneth Finegold, Eastern Washington University

Elaine Swift, Eastern Washington University

 Daniel Wirls, UC Santa Cruz

 Discussant: Scott James, Department of Political Science, UCLA

  

Panel 7.6. Ideology, Revolutions, and Political Authority in Comparative Perspective (Friday, 8:00)

 Chair: Benjamin Smith, Near and Middle East Studies, University of Washington

 James Henson, Dept. of History and Government, Northeast Louisiana University

 Kristina Mao, Dept. of Political Science, Providence College

 Robert Pirro, Georgia Southern University

 Discussant: Oz Frankel, Dept. of History, UC Berkeley

 

Panel 7.7. Roundtable on Gender and American Political Development (Saturday, 10:30)

Gretchen Ritter, Govt. Dept., University of .Texas

Carole Pateman, Dept. of Political Science, UCLA

Eileen McDonagh, Dept. of Political Science, Northwestern University

Gwendolyn Mink, Dept. of Political Science, University of California -- Santa Cruz


ABSTRACTS

 

Racial Constructions: The Legal Regulation of Miscegenation in Alabama

Julie Novkov, Department of Political Science, University of Oregon

 After the Civil War, the nation had to address the implications of having created an entire class of new citizens out of former slaves. Racists quickly sought to reimpose the subordination of blacks that had existed previously. These concerns combined with growing fears about the white race's future, fears connected to the rise of eugenics. Many states quickly passed and began to enforce vigorously statutes barring blacks and whites from intermarrying or living together in sexualized partnerships. My paper examines prosecutions for miscegenation in the state of Alabama as a means of blocking the push for social equality. These prosecutions provided a key interpretive site for the articulation of a philosophy of complete racial separation and social subordination for black citizens. I focus on the arguments the state's attorneys general made to justify the statute's existence in the face of the Fourteenth Amendment's command of equality. The Alabama statutes reached the state Supreme Court on eight separate occasions, more than any other state's statutes. I also review popular communications revealing social attitudes regarding miscegenation. This enables me to develop a general sense of the relationship between attitudes regarding race and attitudes regarding miscegenation.

This project articulates the relationship between the law and legal language and extra-legal activities as means of social control. The key figure in the project is the mixed-race child, who threatened to disrupt the post-bellum social and political order because of her symbolic disruption of the sociolegal categories of "white" and "black."

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 The Traditional Political Culture Facilitated Mao Zedong's Personal Legitimacy

 Kristina Mao, Dept. of Political Science, Providence College

As the leader of the Chinese communist revolution, Mao became the first Chairman of the People's Republic of China. Instead of Marxism-Leninism, Mao's personal legitimacy was invested mainly in the Chinese traditional cultural values that were still very alive in the minds of the Chinese people of his time. Not only to the ordinary Chinese citizens, but also to Mao's ministers and generals, Mao was the "first emperor" of a new dynasty.

Mao was deeply influenced by Chinese traditional culture. From his childhood reading of classic novels on historical events to a life long study of serious imperial state crafts, Mao trained himself to rule China as an emperor. His personal ambition and his personality also helped him to fulfil his contemplation as the "first emperor" especially in his old age. This research found abundance of evidence on how Mao manipulated both popular and elite traditional Chinese cultures to his advantage.

According to Max Weber's typology of authority legitimacy, Mao's "first emperor" image increased his personal authority in both traditional and charismatic types of legitimacy. Although he was the leader of a modern political system, Mao never ruled China as a modern man.

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Public Policy, Private Culture: Transportation and the Early Republic

Bartholomew H. Sparrow, Department of Government, The University of Texas at Austin

 The paper addresses a puzzle in American political history: the contradiction between the activist role of the U.S. national governments and those of the several states, and the passive, laissez-faire image of the government with respect to economic development. The paper proceeds in three parts. The first part reviews the (somewhat contested) history of the early public policy with respect to roads, canals, and the railroads: a careful reading of the history reveals the significant initiative on the part of government in American economic development even as a number of political scientists, political sociologists, and economists (e.g., Bensel, Dobbin, Huntington, McDonald, Skocpol, Skowronek) minimize or neglect this record of governmental activism for the deliberate ends of economic growth and national expansion. The second part considers the intellectual evolution of the "laissez-faire" ideology thought to obtain in the United States. The third and concluding part of the paper juxtaposes these two records and attempts to explain how it is that one interpretation (government minimalism) was able to dominate others in an explanation of the complex and ambivalent record of governmental policymaking in the late eighteenth and early and mid-nineteenth centuries.

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The Multiple Traditions In Elizabeth Cady Stantonís Political Thought

Sue Davis, University of Delaware

This paper employs Rogers M. Smithís Multiple-Traditions Thesis to analyze the ideas of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who was a leader in the womanís rights movement from 1848 until the end of the nineteenth century and is generally considered to have been the philosopher of the movement. The Multiple-Traditions Thesis challenges the conventional wisdom about the nature of the American political tradition and makes clear that the portrait of a singularly liberal tradition cannot provide an adequate explanation of the complexities of American political culture. My examination of Cady Stantonís work demonstrates that the three traditions of liberalism, republicanism, and ascriptive forms of Americanism run through her arguments. I argue that attempts to understand her political thought by locating it within the confines of one overarching label are inadequate to the task of revealing the rich texture of her ideas. Efforts to demonstrate that her views developed along a one-dimensional plane over time are similarly flawed. Using the framework of the Multiple-Traditions Thesis to analyze Cady Stantonís work has several advantages. It does not insist that one dominant set of ideas be identified as the defining characteristic of her work but, instead, encourages a search for disparate strands of ideas. It promotes the notion that evidence of contradictory traditions in Cady Stantonís work does not in any way detract from the quality of her political thought. Moreover, Multiple-Traditions Thesis facilitates the task of systematically examining her work in the context of a changing political environment and a shifting climate of ideas.

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Reviewing the Scopes Trial:
Redefinitions of Higher Education and Public Values in the Early Twentieth Century

R. Claire Snyder, Rutgers University

The huge transition that occurred in the institution of American higher education at the end of the nineteenth century entailed an epistemological shift from religion to the sciences that directly challenged public values. Higher education traditionally taught a knowledge of the classics -- Truth as known through the humanistic tradition and through religion -- and strove to instill in students an excellence of character. However, with the development of science, the emergence of the professions, and the rise of industrialization, higher education had to be redefined so that it would prepare students for their place in an increasingly scientific world. Consequently, universities became a "way station in life where the old ways could be discarded and the new acquired" (Ricci). Thus, going to college began the process of questioning the traditional values of the local community.

The epistemological shift from religion to science, and in particular the increasing hegemony of Darwinism, profoundly challeged the traditional Christian values that dominated American civil society. Consequently, large sectors of the public reacted in the 1920s, by launching a massive crusade against teaching evolution in the public schools. These traditional Americans opposed teaching children about evolution because they saw it as teaching them to question the moral authority of the Bible as the basis of Truth. (This same issue arose in the 1970s in the debate over "secular humanism," as well as in long-standing debates about sex education.)

The typical story of the Scopes Trial portrays it as being about the importance of scientific truth, individual liberty, and secularism. With this framing of the issue, all opposed to teaching evolution in the schools are simply ignorant, anti-democratic, and irrational. And in fact, the Scopes Trial was viewed by Walter Lippmann and others as evidence that the public was incapable of governing itself.

However, what was at stake for those opposed to teaching evolution in the public schools was moral values and a way of life: What values do we want to embrace as a society? What values should we teach our children? And who should decide what gets taught in the public schools? These are the same issues we deal with today. Furthermore, during this same time period Social Darwinism was being used to justify a capitalist system which was exacting a great cost from large sectors of the public. That is why William Jennings Bryan took up the anti-evolutionist cause. And finally, anti-evolutionists also saw Darwinism as a justification for eugenics, which they feared and opposed.

This paper argues that whether or not one is sympathetic to the Christian fundamentalists who opposed teaching about evolution, we must not simply dismiss them. Like Christian fundamentialists today, they feared that the elimination of Christian values from public life would result in the deterioration of our way of life. To engage them in a democratic conversation, we must address their underlying concerns with a discussion of values. And to be convincing, we must offer secular democratic values compatible with a multicultural society as an alternative to Christian ones.

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Countersubversive Rhetoric, The Drug War and The Racialization of National Identity:
An Historical Analysis

Jay McCullough, University of Texas - Austin

This paper will argue that a rhetoric of "countersubversion" has significantly shaped US policy responses to illegal drug use. This rhetoric has defined the nature of the problem of illicit drugs in such a way that they become intimately linked to questions of the national identity and the character of the nation. I will argue further that both of these categories are racialized, and become more so through the policy responses that are prescribed by the initial framing of the problem. What the rhetoric of the drug war represents is an example of a discourse on law and order being able to express and represent the national identity. In the case of the drug war however, this is followed, both in rhetoric and in practice on the ground, with the creation of racially identified crime and criminals. I will suggest that this provides a way to examine the process of the racialization of national identity, here the conflation of whiteness with American, in a concrete case study.

In order to do this, I will undertake an historical comparison of US drug policy. I will analyze both the problem framing and the policy responses of the US in the Progressive Era a well as in the current drug war. Additionally, I will examine counter narratives from minority communities, here including both conspiracy theories and anti-crime approaches. Illicit drugs in both periods, as well as in current and contemporary counter narratives are described in terms of a rhetoric of countersubversion. Similarly our response to drugs has been explicitly implicated in terms of the identity of the nation. This has also been true of criticisms of the official positions. What we see in all of these cases is a crime problem being described and responded to in such a way that the protection of law and order becomes a defense of the nation itself from a threatening foreign menace. As the crime and criminals in question are described in explicitly racialized terms, both in the 1920ís as well as currently, the character of the nation being protected also becomes racialized. I will argue that examining the drug war provides a lens through which to view the process of construction of a racialized national identity occurs.

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The Farm Press and Farm Credit, 1912-1916

Stuart Shulman, University of Oregon

This paper sets up a framework for understanding the role of Progressive era farm press in the formulation of agrarian finance policy agenda at the national level. An interdisciplinary agenda-setting framework, focusing on issue salience, content and framing in the farm press, is developed to help explain the creation of a quasi-public set of national farm finance institutions through the Federal Farm Loan Act (FFLA) of 1916. Agenda-setting hypotheses look for evidence that through the institutions of mass communication, the press agenda becomes the basis for the public agenda, which in turn influences the policy agenda. Part one of the paper is a first cut aimed at explaining the relevance of the agenda-setting approach when applied to historical analysis, particularly to a period prior to the establishment of public opinion survey research. The second part of the paper presents a qualitative, over-time survey of issue salience, content and framing in the farm press coverage of the 1910s farm credit debate. Agenda-setting theory provides a good framework for examining the policy cycle that turned latent Progressive era preferences for a better agricultural economy into the focus of national public policy efforts. The findings include evidence that six broad themes (rates and terms for credit, farm profitability, cost of living, education in scientific farming, soil fertility and class relations) were the most salient issues on the agenda driving the rural credit reform debate.

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The People's Chamber: Petition Activity and Citizen Influence
on Legislation in the House of Representatives, 1800-1820

Linda Kowalcky, University of Missouri - St. Louis

The First amendment right of petition was a central feature of legislative life in Congress and state legislatures during the 19th century. Petitions were offered by individuals, groups, commercial interests, and governments, providing an early source of information on public opinion on a wide range of policy issues. Institutionally, the petitions were important influences in the development of the standing committee structure in Congress. This paper traces the history of petition rights in the United States and examines 2,668 petitions presented to the House of Representatives from 1800-1820 for information on the individuals and groups who initiated them as well as the subject matters they addressed. In addition to the inevitable pension claims to Congress, these petitions show considerable organized activity within communities and commercial groups on issues and infrastructure development of the new nation. They also provide evidence of the early institutionalization within the House of Representatives, as standing committees and rules of referral and procedure developed to facilitate the management of petitions.

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 "Before the Vote:
Campaigning, Officeholding and Political Partisanship of Women in Pre-Suffrage California"

Donna C. Schuele, University of California - Berkeley

This paper examines women's officeholding, campaigning and political partisanship during the post-bellum/Gilded Age period, particularly in California. Unlike with the right to vote, state constitutions were often silent as to the right of women to hold office, thus women's rights activists took advantage of this vacuum in asserting that right. Women's interest in holding appointive office was often quite ultilitarian - they were seeking paid employment. However, obtaining appointive office required women to "acquire influence," which meant asserting mainstream partisan credentials. Women most often did this by citing their family's loyalty to a political party or by citing their own sacrifice in having lost a male member of the family in war. Women's interest in seeking elective office was additionally fueled by the idea that it could open the door to female suffrage. Here women also had to pay attention to partisan politics, however women seeking elective office most often ran under the banner of third parties. In California, the issue of female officeholding came to a head in 1874, as the legislature considered a bill to make women eligible to hold school offices. Opponents of the bill correctly saw it as an opening wedge to woman suffrage, but it passed nonetheless. The bill's success was due to a coalition composed of legislators who were women's rights supporters, as well as legislators who were political pragmatists. The pragmatists realized that it was becoming difficult to get men to run for these offices, and those who did often used the office as a springboard to higher office, rather than fulfilling the duties of the school position. California women seized this new-found opportunity, and ran for school offices throughout the state. It was not unusual for women to win these elections, particularly outside of the major urban areas.