Open Spaces? The Green State and American Political Development

Posted: 22 Feb 2011  

David Sousa

affiliation not provided to SSRN


The American political development school has not given adequate attention to the developmental consequences of the rise of the new politics of environmental concern in the 1960s and 1970s. We saw the passage of new laws generating new policy commitments, new institutions layered atop old institutions, the reordering of federal-state relations, courts thrust into critical roles at points of contact between the old and the new, and halting efforts to reorient established agencies imbued with the values of the lords of yesterday. There have been few developmental moments in domestic politics larger than this since the 1930s. Current debates over the legacies of the golden era environmental laws and mainstream environmentalism's political strategies echo long-running arguments over the meaning of the genesis and meaning of the Wagner Act and the role and strategies of unions in the New Deal era. We have a hundred APD studies of the Wagner Act. Now we need some APD work on the Endangered Species Act! The paper contends that students of APD will find great value in the study of the evolution of the American green state, that their tools generate useful insights into the state of environmental politics. Students of environmental policy and politics will benefit greatly from applying concepts and categories from APD as they try to understand the limits and possibilities of environmental policymaking in the United States.

Suggested Citation

Sousa, David, Open Spaces? The Green State and American Political Development. Western Political Science Association 2011 Annual Meeting Paper . Available at SSRN:

David Sousa (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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