In the American system of government, the relationship between the states and the national government has always been complex. Zachary Callen, in Railroads and American Political Development, demonstrates the enduring truth that federalism is an inescapable aspect of our political system by showing how it shaped the early development of our nation's infrastructure.
Callen's work opens with a straightforward presentation of infrastructure policy in the early republic. Until passage of the Land Grant Act of 1850, which provided federal land to the states for railroad construction, there was nothing resembling a centralized infrastructure program in the United States. Prior to that time, there were sporadic state-level efforts with minimal coordination and only occasional national efforts. Callen argues that federalism fundamentally structures these kinds of policy issues, as failures of state-led policy eventually encourage pressure for national action. As states found themselves unable to complete railroads on their own, political leaders turned to Congress. Importantly, Callen links this particular issue to the broader debate over how American governance developed and shows how federalism can in fact lead to the growth of the national government, and not just present obstacles that inhibit national action.
Chapters 2 and 3 of the boo
To continue reading, see options above.
Legacies of Losing in American Politics, Jeffrey K. Tulis and Nicole Mellow Reviewed by William D. Adler
Building the New American Nation: Economic Development, Public Goods, and the Early U.S. Army, William D. Adler and Andrew J. Polsky
Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.
The Powell Doctrine
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 Wilsonview additional issues
Articles | Book reviews
PERSPECTIVES ON PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS, 1992–2020
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.
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.