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The Imprint of Congress$
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David R. Mayhew

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780300215700

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300215700.001.0001

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Impulses and Imprints

Impulses and Imprints

(p.10) 1 Impulses and Imprints
The Imprint of Congress

David R. Mayhew

Yale University Press

This chapter traces the performance of Congress in a transnational perspective, which requires U.S. comparisons with peer countries. It explores patches of performance that have entailed large considerations of regime legitimacy, order, responsiveness, welfare, prosperity, fairness, state-building, and national survival or expansion in an often hostile international world. U.S. participation in large political or intellectual impulses has been occurring transnationally since 1789. Resorting to transnational focus has two uses: it guides the selection of realms of performance to look at, and it paves the way to appraisals. It can offer clues to relative performance—the United States versus the rest—albeit not clues of a quality that would admit to score-keeping or quantification.

Keywords:   Congress, transnationalism, regime legitimacy, state-building, national survival, international world

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