"That's Not What We Meant to Do": Reform and Its Unintended Consequences in Twentieth-Century America

by Steven M. Gillon

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You might think these were sweeping legal reforms that greatly improved American society. Or perhaps you view them as stopgap measures intended to right some grave social injustice. What all these instances of reform share, however, whether sponsored by Democrats or Republicans, is wildly unforeseen consequences--occasionally positive, often regrettable. With a shrewd eye for historical absurdity, Steven M. Gillon takes us on a tour of this century's reforms and legal innovation -- federal welfare policy, community mental health, immigration, and campaign finance reform, to name an additional few--and describes the unintended consequences of their enactment. The result is a brisk, instructive, and disturbing study that will be required reading for all students of government and society, and for anyone who wishes to avoid the perils that stalk any legislative body.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393978667
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 12/10/2001
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: American Exceptionalism and the Promise of Unintended Consequences17
Chapter 1The Irony of Reform: The Origins of Federal Welfare Policy, 193543
Chapter 2The Politics of Deinstitutionalization: The Community Mental Health Act of 196387
Chapter 3The Strange Career of Affirmative Action: The Civil Rights Act of 1964120
Chapter 4Still the Golden Door?: The Immigration Act of 1965163
Chapter 5The Politics of Campaign Finance Reform: The Federal Election Campaign Finance Reform Act of 1974200
Conclusion: A Few Final Observations235

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