Introduction II: An Overview of American Political History
We continue our introductory lectures with a whirlwind historical survey of American public policy. Major policy innovations, as we shall see, have often come in response to economic challenges—including patterns of growth (industrialization), moments of national crisis (World Wars I and II), and economic downturns (most notably the Great Depression). We will consider patterns of constitutional change (including the shifting definition of the “commerce clause,” as well as key historical moments (especially the “big bang” of policy innovation during the New Deal of the 1930s).
Colin GordonProfessor and Chair, Department of History, University of Iowa
Professor Gordon’s research interests focus on public policy and political economy in the United States since 1920. He has published three books in this area, including Dead on Arrival: The Politics of Health in Twentieth Century America, which reviews the history of health care policy in the United States during that period. He is also a senior research consultant at the Iowa Policy Project (IPP), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization founded in 2001 to produce research and analysis to engage Iowans in state policy decisions. He is the author of several IPP reports on health coverage, economic development, and wages and working conditions, including the biennial State of Working Iowa series. Dr. Gordon received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is currently serving as Chair of the University of Iowa Department of History. To visit Dr. Gordon's web page, click here.