The Journal of Libertarian Studies

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Religion, Politics, and the American Polity: A Dynamic View of Relationships

The Journal of Libertarian Studies

Tags Media and CulturePolitical Theory

07/30/2014Paul Kleppner

For generations, political historians used "the thought of the palace" to describe politics and party battles. They consciously borrowed the words of articulate political leaders and (perhaps) unconsciously adopted their mind sets to depict election contests as struggles over the specific contours of national policy. They pictured millions of citizens trooping to the polls to record their views on such subjects as the Kansas-Nebraska Act, Civil Service Reform, currency inflation, and the latest change in some arcane tariff schedule. The citizens who marched through the pages of these traditional historical accounts were deeply interested in politics, attentive to current events, informed of party and candidate differences on the issues of the day, and motivated to cast their ballots accordingly.

While these accounts accorded well both with rational models of voter behavior and with what high school civics texts argued the electoral process ought to be like, the reality of "the public square" was another matter.

Volume 6, Number 3 (1982)

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Kleppner, Paul. "Religion, Politics, and the American Polity: A Dynamic View of Relationships." Journal of Libertarian Studies 6, No. 3 (1982): 349–358.

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