The Politics of Ideas

Intellectual Challenges Facing the American Political Parties

Edited by John Kenneth White & John C. Green

Subjects: Democracy
Paperback : 9780791450444, 184 pages, August 2001
Hardcover : 9780791450437, 184 pages, August 2001

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Table of contents

1. The Politics of Ideas: Introduction
John C. Green

2. The Search for a Public Philosophy
Wilson Carey McWilliams

3. Reviving the Political Parties: What Must Be Done?
John Kenneth White

4. On the Need for Parties “Strong” and “Great”: A Dissent
Everett Carll Ladd

5. Intellectual Challenges Facing the Republican Party
John J. Pitney Jr.

6. Democratic Party Ideology in the 1990s: New Democrats or Modern Republicans?
Philip Klinker

7. Political Parties and Democracy's Citizens
Stephen F. Schneck



Essays on the need for a more dynamic public philosophy in American politics.


This collection addresses the importance of ideas, and ideas of importance, to American politics at the beginning of a new century. On the one hand, the contributors find a distressing absence of ideas in American politics and a parallel rise of the power of political identities, interests, and other detrimental influences. On the other hand, many of the ideas that are present are superficial and unproductive. The contributors debate the role of the major political parties in developing and promoting better ideas to reenergize American politics in the next century, and address the search for a workable public philosophy, party responsibility, party policy among Republicans and Democrats, and democratic citizenship.

John Kenneth White is Professor of Politics at Catholic University of America. He is the author of several books, including The New Politics of Old Values; Still Seeing Red: How the Cold War Shapes the New American Politics; and with Daniel M. Shea, New Party Politics: From Jefferson and Hamilton to the Information Age. John C. Green is Director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics and Professor of Political Science at the University of Akron. He is the editor of Financing the 1996 Election and coeditor, with Daniel M. Shea, of State of the Parties: The Changing Role of Contemporary American Politics.


"White and Green have broken new ground with this volume. There are many books and articles about the necessity to reform American political parties and the electoral system, but none are framed within the context of intellectual challenges." — Melanie J. Blumberg, Kent State University