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American government evolved over the generations since the mid-19th century. The changing character of these institutions is a critical part of the history of the United States. This engaging survey focuses on the evolution of public policy and its relationship to the constitutional and political structure of government at the federal, state, and local levels. A new chapter in this revised and updated edition examines the debate about "big government" over the last 20 years.
I have read scores of books in this area. This one is at the very top. If you are interested in what government did and didn't do in citizens' lives in the times covered here, how it paid (or didn't pay) for that, and what the legal-governmental (and behind that, philosophical) frameworks for all of it were, look no further. The explanations are lucid and well-chosen. This book brings heaps of insight. And that helps us find benchmarks for our decisions today. One great disabling problem the American public has, in my opinion, is a lack of depth in precisely the things this book explains. And we are all paying for that, daily and dearly.