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The Unsustainable American State$
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Lawrence Jacobs and Desmond King

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195392135

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195392135.001.0001

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The Resilient Power of the States across the Long Nineteenth Century

The Resilient Power of the States across the Long Nineteenth Century

An Inquiry into a Pattern of American Governance

Chapter:
(p.61) 3 The Resilient Power of the States across the Long Nineteenth Century
Source:
The Unsustainable American State
Author(s):

Gary Gerstle

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195392135.003.0003

Political and social historians in the last twenty years have challenged the accuracy of the interpretation that the 19th century was an era of laissez-faire which then transcended to an era of interventionist public rule during the 20th century. However, understanding the American state between these two centuries has proceeded slowly due to the increasing complexity of American state, thus, generalizing and charting its institutional and functional character and change over time has become more complicated. This chapter focuses on the continuing importance of federalism in constituting the American state and the roles played by state governments in 19th-century economic development and regulation. The chapter likewise examines the considerable role of state governments in the regulation of race, sexuality, and morality.

Keywords:   laissez-faire, interventionist public rule, American state, federalism

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