What is American government like today? How has it changed—and how has it remaind the same—over the course of the century now coming to a close. Taking Stock seeks to provide the fullest and most thoughtful answers yet offered to these questions. This work brings together eminent historians and political scienties to examine the past experience, current state, and future prospects of five major American public issues: trade and tariff policy, immigration and aliens, conservation and environmentalism, civil rights, and social welfare. Never before have these major public policy issues been explored so deeply, and with such insight, in a collaborative effort crossing disciplinary borders.


Michael J. Lacey

1. Taking Stock
Morton Keller

Part I: Trade and Tariff Policy
2. Trade Policy in Historical Perspective
Morton Keller
3. The Triumph of Liberal Trade: American Trade Policy in the Postwar Period
David Vogel

Part II: Immigrants and Aliens
4. The Progressive State and the Legacy of Collective Immigrant Identities
Reed Ueda
5. The Racialization of Immigration Policy
Peter Skerry

Part III: Conservation and Environmentalism
6. The Many Faces of Conservation: Natural Resources and the American State, 1900-1940
Donald J. Pisani
7. Risky Business: Government and the Environment after Earth Day
R. Shep Melnick

Part IV: Civil Rights
8. Since 1964: The Paradox of American Civil Rights Regulation
Hugh Davis Graham
9. You Win Some, You Lose Some: Explaining the Pattern of Success and Failure in the Second Reconstruction
Jennifer L. Hochschild

Part V: Social Welfare
10. From Beginning to End: Has Twentieth-Century U.S. Social Policy Come Full Circle?
Theda Skocpol
11. Conclusion: Governing More but Enjoying It Less
R. Shep Melnick


"The essays are uniformly well written and insightful. Taking Stock should be of interest to a wide range of scholars including political scientists, historians, students of American studies, sociologists, and scholars interested in public policy."—Choice

"[P]ermeated with interesting questions...thought provoking and informative...deserves to be widely read."—Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare

"The editiors have rigorously imposed high standards.... Each of the contributions serves as a reliable and clearly written introduction to each of the five main issues; taken as whole, the book provides a careful examination of government throughout the twentieth century.... Reasonable, balanced, and fair to both sides of an emotionally charged issue.... excellent, highly readable."—American Historical Review