The American (national) political tradition emphasizes three major strands of thought (Smith 1993, 1997). Grasping the importance, interrelationships, and potential tensions of these multiple traditions is central to understanding American politics, and perhaps especially so concerning issues of racial equality. This article first delineates the philosophical traditions as they are manifested in major research on American state politics. It then examines the consequences of those traditions, especially the two generally viewed as the most prominent in American politics - civic republicanism and liberalism - for several indicators of public policy that directly address racial equality. The evidence considered strongly suggests that research emerging from the two major traditions overlooks an important side of American politics, that concerning racial inequality (ascriptive hierarchy). Also, the argument underscores the importance of proper attention to multiple traditions, generally, and race, specifically, in American (state) politics.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science