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The Divided States of America: Why Federalism Doesn't Work

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  20 ratings  ·  6 reviews
Why federalism is pulling America apart--and how the system can be reformed

Federalism was James Madison's great invention. An innovative system of power sharing that balanced national and state interests, federalism was the pragmatic compromise that brought the colonies together to form the United States. Yet, even beyond the question of slavery, inequality was built into
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Hardcover, 240 pages
Published March 10th 2020 by Princeton University Press
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Bryan Alkire
May 25, 2021 rated it did not like it
Waste of time. This political polemic deserves to be swept into the dustbin of history and either forgotten or mocked by future pundits. It is repetitive and poorly written. It is dull. It is one sided as it blames the states for virtually everything in the past twenty years. There is nothing positive in this book. Can’t recommend.
Dylan Matthews
Jan 18, 2021 rated it it was ok
I really wanted this to be good! But alas.

There is space for a really excellent polemical book about federalism and this book just kept … not being that. It doesn't deal with the most compelling critique of federalism: that people vote based on the national mood, and so local accountability is impossible. It doesn't even reference the canonical studies on that. It doesn't deal with the most compelling defense of federalism in anything more than glancing fashion: that it allows a deeply divided p
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Jacopo Quercia
Jun 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
'The Divided States of America' by Dr. Donald F. Kettl (LBJ School of Public Affairs) was published just one week before the first stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19 and two months before the senseless killing of George Floyd. As such, it is impossible to read this history on the shortcomings of federalism without wondering whether Dr. Kettl's warnings have tragically arrived too late. Was federalism doomed for failure? If so, are we experiencing its inevitable demise in the form of pandemic, p ...more
Howard
Apr 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, non-fiction
While the content here is of vital importance to anyone living today in the United States of America, the presentation is in sore need of further editing. The ideas are complex and deserve a fair amount of repetition in the text. However, it is overly repetitive to the point where I repeatedly found myself skimming passages that I was sure I had read ten or twenty or fifty pages earlier.

That said, it is important that the evaluation of the problem covered in this book be distributed far and wide
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Oktay Yagiz
May 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
THE DIVIDED STATES OF AMERICA
Donald F. Kettl

The Divided States of America is a fresh take on past and current debates on US federalism. It is a warning call for all to wake up to the corrosive effects of federalism on American democracy. Federalism, skillfully crafted by Madison into the American constitution to safeguard the division of power between the national government and the states, has devolved from being a debilitating structure into a paralyzing force threatening political harmony and
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Natalie
Apr 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars. I have to knock the rating down because of a bit of repetitiveness, but overall I have to say I found the book very interesting and thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
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“In his original draft, Jefferson indicted George III for his complicity in the slave trade: [H]e has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it’s most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither.… [D]etermined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce.9 Of course, there was profound irony in the harsh denunciation of a king who had not personally bought or sold slaves on the North American continent, in a document whose author had.” 0 likes
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