There are nearly 20,000 general-purpose municipal governments—cities—in the United States, employing more people than the federal government. About twenty of those cities received charters of incorporation well before ratification of the U.S. Constitution, and several others were established urban centers more than a century before the American Revolution. Yet despite their estimable size and prevalence in the United States, city government and politics has been a woefully neglected topic within the recent study of American political development.
The volume brings together some of the best of both the most established and the newest urban scholars in political science, sociology, and history, each of whom makes a new argument for rethinking the relationship between cities and the larger project of state-building. Each chapter shows explicitly how the American city demonstrates durable shifts in governing authority throughout the nation’s history. By filling an important gap in scholarship the book will thus become an indispensable part of the American political development canon, a crucial component of graduate and undergraduate courses in APD, urban politics, urban sociology, and urban history, and a key guide for future scholarship.
"Dilworth's book is a revelation. Placing the study of cities within the literature on American political development is a very smart idea that vastly expands the boundaries of the field of urban politics."
—Dennis Judd, University of Illinois, Chicago
"This is a uniquely strong edited volume. Dilworth has assembled an impressive and remarkable range of the very smartest scholars working on the topic today. There is no book or article currently available that does what this book does, and the intellectual impact of this volume will be quite profound. This book has the potential to challenge and transform both APD and urban studies."
—Dorian T. Warren, Columbia University
"By asking, ‘What is a city?’ the contributors to this volume claim a prominent role for urban centers in explaining American political development."
—Richard Bensel, Cornell University
Introduction: The City in American Political Development Richardson Dilworth Part 1: American Exceptionalism and the City 1. The City and the State in American Political Development: A Comparative Perspective on Urbanization Robert Lieberman 2. Non-Durable Authority: Intercurrence and Urban Power in Britain and the United States Jerome Hodos 3. Town and Country in the Redefinition of State-Federal Power: Canada and the United States, 1630-2005 Jason Kaufman Part 2: Urban Politics, HIstoricized and Institutionalized 4. Challenging the Machine-Reform Dichotomy: Two Threats to Urban Democracy Jessica Luce Trounstine 5. Power, Pluralism, and Urban Political Development: Modernization Reconsidered Clarence Stone and Robert Whelan Part 3: City, Space, and Nation 6. Spatial Institutionalism: The Case of Cities in American Political Development Philip Ethington and David Levitus 7. Urbanization and the Geographies of Statehood: Methodological and Substantive Reflections on the US Case Neil Brenner Part 4: The National Significance of Urban Ethnic and Racial Politics 8. Riots as Critical Junctures in Urban Policy Michael Jones-Correa 9. Learning to Lobby and Litigate: Baltimore’s Contributions to the Civil Rights Movement Matthew Crenson 10. Immigration and Institutional Change: The Urban Origins of US Postal Savings Banks Alethia Jones 11. Conclusion Ira Katznelson