Chapter

William H. Riker and the Federal Bargain

Michael Burgess

in In Search of the Federal Spirit

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199606238
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191752476 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199606238.003.0005
William H. Riker and the Federal Bargain

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The chapter provides a brief intellectual biography of Riker and examines in detail his major contribution to the study of federalism. His distinctive approach to and understanding of federalism is revealed and a textual exegesis of his major works on federalism is conducted. This shows his scholarly work and interest in federalism to have been surprisingly patchy and short-lived but it also identifies him as having made a significant theoretical contribution to federalism in the empirical tradition of political science as a science. Riker’s references to and uses of the federal spirit were therefore idiosyncratic and the chapter carefully presents his interpretation of it in a manner consistent with his uncompromising social scientific approach. It exposes the normative assumptions and values that lie at the core of his analysis which are very much in the American liberal democratic tradition.

Keywords: federalism; rational choice; federal bargain; comparative study of federalism; constitutional bargain; federal theory; the US federal model

Chapter.  19236 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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