pp. 182-184

Broken Trust: Dysfunctional Government and Constitutional Reform, Stephen M. Griffin

Reviewed by Emily Zackin





Stephen M. Griffin has helped redefine the study of constitutional development by calling scholars’ attention to transformations in the fundamental structures and processes of governance. These changes often escape notice because they tend to occur outside the courts and without a formal announcement, yet Griffin demonstrates that to ignore them is to miss crucial features of our constitutional order and its development. His most recent book, Broken Trust: Dysfunctional Government and Constitutional Reform, continues this important project.

In Broken Trust, Griffin sets out to demonstrate that a late twentieth-century decline in American citizens’ trust in government (mis)shaped America’s governing institutions and that we should understand this decline as a constitutional problem. He argues that representative government cannot operate effectively in an atmosphere of citizen distrust and that Americans’ lack of trust in the federal government is ultimately responsible for the dysfunctional condition of American politics today.

In the first chapter after the introduction, Griffin joins scholars such as Sandy Levinson (author of the book’s interesting foreword) in urging Americans to overcome their instinctive veneration of the federal Constitution in order to grapple with its problems. The chapter explo

To continue reading, see options above.

More by This Author

About PSQ's Editor

Demetrios James Caraley

Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.

From the Archives

Developments in Beijing

The Varieties of Collective Financial Statecraft: The BRICS and China

Chinese Thinking on the South China Sea and the Future of Regional Security

Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues


Coming in Winter 2017-18

Disruption, Demonization, Deliverance, and Norm Destruction: The Rhetorical Signature of Donald J. Trump

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON and DORON TAUSSIG examine Donald Trump’s rhetoric during the presidential campaign and through his first 100 days in office. They argue that Trump’s “rhetorical signature,” which distinguishes him from his predecessors, certified Trump’s authenticity as a candidate of change and now complicate his ability to govern.


Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

New APS Book

Continuing Issues in U.S. National Security Policy   CONTINUING ISSUES IN U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected
newsstand locator
About APS