One Nation...Indivisible?

By Sara S. Chapman & Ursula S. Colby

Subjects: Political Parties
Paperback : 9780791448380, 247 pages, February 2001
Hardcover : 9780791448373, 247 pages, January 2001

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Table of contents


Introduction: Democracy American Style

Part I Organizing Government in America

1 What's at Stake?
2 A Nation of States: Creating the Constitution
3 The Union Challenged
4 Organizing Government in the Twentieth Century

Part II Government, the Economy, and Citizens

5 What's at Stake?
6 Hands-Off (Mostly)
7 Abiding Issues for Government in a “Free” Economy
8 Your Money: How Does Government Spend It?
9 FDR's New Deal and the Fortunes of Capitalism Reconsidered
10 The Clinton Years
11 Government and the Global Economy: New Questions

Part III Foreign Policy: The “Indispensable Nation”?

12 What's at Stake?
13 The United States and Globalization
14 Current Debates
15 Reaching the Present: Foreign Policy Through the World Wars
16 What Next?

Part IV Can the Center Hold?
A Case in Point: Immigration and Immigrants

17 What's at Stake?
18 Issues in Immigration Policy
19 Bottom Lines: Economic and Labor Issues
20 Immigrant Policy: Where Are We Now? Why Does It Matter?
21 California and Beyond


A no-holds barred look at how ideology-based partisan politics is altering the Framers' vision of government and alienating Americans.


A wake-up call to all Americans, One Nation...Indivisible? urges all informed citizens to take action to protect our fragmenting democratic union. The authors claim that the U. S. has strayed too far from the Founders' and the Constitution's vision of federalist government, and that the government—now virtually paralyzed by ideological conflict, partisan extremism, single-issue politics and unprincipled decision-making—is unable to address the people's issues. Chapman and Colby charge Republican Conservatives with particular, though not exclusive, responsibility for weakening our national government just when we most need its strengths to protect Americans' freedom and opportunities in a constantly changing world.

Juxtaposing history and history-in-the-making, One Nation...Indivisible? tells the story of early challenges the new nation withstood and probes current failures in several key policy areas: the national and global economy, international relations, and immigration and immigrants. It demonstrates the urgency of returning to our original aims to govern respectively, collaboratively, and deliberately. The authors show that government is not the enemy; divisiveness, the loss of center, is.

Sara S. Chapman, former President of The Sage Colleges, wrote this book during her terms as Visiting Research Scholar in the Harvard University Graduate School of Education and as a Fellow in the Radcliffe Public Policy Institute. She is the author of Henry James's Portrait of the Artist as a Hero. Ursula S. Colby is former Academic Dean of Russell Sage College.


"One Nation...Indivisible? is a wonderful, clearly written, easy to grasp, sensible and scholarly book that takes us on a trip through American history and politics. The book helps us understand how we got where we are today. Central to the book is an understanding of American Federalism. What is remarkable about this work is the focus not only on our politics and history but on America's place in the world. In American politics, where getting to the center is everything, the authors argue that there is a price to be paid." — Alan Chartock , University at Albany, State University of New York