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On Capitol Hill


  • Page extent: 376 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.72 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 328.73/076
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: JK1041 .Z45 2004
  • LC Subject headings:
    • United States.--Congress--Reform--History--20th century
    • United States--Politics and government--20th century

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521801614 | ISBN-10: 0521801613)

Thirty years after the 'Watergate Babies' promised to end corruption in Washington, Julian Zelizer offers a major history of the demise of the committee era Congress and the rise of the contemporary legislative branch. Based on research in over 100 archival collections, this 2004 book tackles one of the most enduring political challenges in America: barring a wholesale evolution, how can the institutions that compose representative democracy be improved so as best to fulfill the promises of the Constitution? While popular accounts suggest that major scandals or legislation can transform how government works, Zelizer shows that reform is messy, slow, multidimensional, and involves many institutions. This moment of reform in the 1970s revolved around a coalition that had worked for decades, the slow reconfiguration of the relationship between institutions, shifts in the national culture, and the ability of reformers to take advantage of scandal and elections.

• Research based on over 100 archival collections • First major history of congresional reform since World War II (written by a historian, rathan than a political scientist) • Offers insights into today's political challenges


1. Transforming Congress; 2. The Southern Gettysburg; 3. Bombthrowing liberals; 4. Into the political thicket; 5. Exposing Congress; 6. A window of opportunity; 7. Money in politics; 8. Reforming the future; 9. Watergate babies; 10. Scandal without reform; 11. Congress in the era of cable television; 12. The contemporary era; 13. Epilogue.


'All members of the Legislative Studies Section should read this book … When asked, 'where can I find a good narrative history of the modern Congress?' we now have an answer.' Ron Peters, APSA Legislative Studies Section Newsletter

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