1st Edition

The Promise of Democratic Equality in the United States

ISBN 9781138555594
Published March 23, 2018 by Routledge
150 Pages

USD $44.95

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Book Description

The Promise of Democratic Equality in the United States explores the ways in which the American political system fails to fully respect political equality.

Douglas D. Roscoe argues these deficiencies are not necessarily failures of justice, but often reflect attempts to balance important but competing principles and values. He analyzes the balance among these competing values in a variety of contexts, including congressional representation, the Electoral College, voting regulations, campaign finance, lobbying, the Senate filibuster rules, and protections for civil rights and liberties. A diverse set of methodological approaches is employed to carefully evaluate whether the limits placed on political equality are reasonable and necessary.

Using a rigorous normative framework, while leaning heavily on high-quality quantitative evidence and social science research, this book provides students of democratic theory and American politics with a compact and manageable review of the degree to which democratic equality is supported in the United States.

Table of Contents

1. Created Equal

2. Unequal By Design

3. One Person, One Vote; Two People, One Voter

4. One Dollar, One Vote

5. Free or Equal

6. Regulating the Marketplace of Ideas

7. The Heavenly Chorus

8. Minority Rule

9. Failure or Fairness?

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Douglas D. Roscoe is Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. His research focuses on the dynamics of the electoral process and how interest groups and parties shape law making and public policy through electoral politics. He is the co-author of Local Party Organizations in the 21st Century.


'This is a highly original and very thoughtful book. Anybody interested in political equality will have to read, indeed study, this book.' - Amitai Etzioni, author of The New Golden Rule

'Roscoe provides a careful examination of the contested meaning of equality in American politics.' - David C. Kimball, Professor of Political Science, University of Missouri St. Louis


'In the wake of the 2016 election, as well as a host of other big changes, many have begun to explore America's democratic character. Roscoe's new book merges notions of equality and the actual operation of government into a novel, important analysis. His finding -- that there is a balancing act among competing values -- will advance the conversation. This is a must-read volume for budding students of contemporary American politics.' - Daniel M. Shea, Colby College