27.2 Struggles of Democracy

Gaining influence and representation in American politics
Jaargang 27, nummer 2, september 2012.


Every four years the eyes of the world are fixed upon the United States as Americans and their politicians prepare themselves for new presidential elections. Due to the interests at stake and the money involved, the tone and tenacity of debates, and the uncompromising rivalry between Republicans and Democrats, few other elections receive as much attention. We are now, of course, in the middle of the build-up towards the next presidential elections that are being held on November 6th. Leidschrift regards the publication of its latest edition as the perfect opportunity to complement the extensive media coverage with an edition focused on providing a historical perspective on the mechanisms of U.S.-politics.

However, instead of discussing the peculiarities of American ideologies or the relationship between the two main political parties, we have tried to shed light on what all politics in the U.S. seems to have in common: the use of lobbying. It may occur out in the open, with broad moral aims endorsed by many, or in the darker alleys of Washington, D.C., but since the very beginning, some form of organization has been necessary to make oneself heard in American politics.

For the paradoxes this creates we refer you to the introduction by dr. Eduard van de Bilt, of the department of History at Leiden University. We are furthermore proud to say that once again we can provide our readers with a large variety of articles, written by both established scholars and promising young historians. They provide a broad and interesting historical overview of the different ways lobby and pressure groups have tried to influence politics. From, for instance, African-American interest groups looking for recognition and neoconservatives trying to affect foreign policy, to the role of the Supreme Court – again very relevant in the recent health care debate.

Finally, we would like to draw your attention to the last article in this edition. Recently the Leidschrift editorial board decided to reserve a place in every issue for an article by a young historian or promising student, not necessarily related to the theme of the issue at hand. This time we have chosen to publish an article by Frank de Hoog, student at Leiden University, on the interesting process of the Reformation in the Dutch town of Naaldwijk.

We hope you will enjoy reading this issue, and that it might provide some useful insights into American politics – something that might come in useful in the next couple of months!




  • Eduard van de BIlt, 'Introduction: Lobbying for Democracy'
  • Mark C. Miller, 'The Supreme Court as an Issue in Presidential Campaigns in the United States'
  • Mark Leon de Vries, 'Promoting the Present Danger - The Neoconservative Push for Militant Containment'
  • Inez Schippers, 'One nation under God: the influence of the Religious Right on the American elections'
  • Sabrina A. Otterloo, '‘From the Ballot to the Bullet’, The Counter-Reconstruction of the Louisiana Red River Valley Press'
  • Laura Visser-Maessen, 'We Didn't Come For No Two Seats: The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and the 1964 Presidential Elections'
  • Johanna C. Kardux, 'Slave Heritage and Black Civic Activism: Memorializing the African Burial Ground in New York and the President's House in Philadelphia'
  • Frank de Hoog, 'Niet goedschiks, dan kwaadschiks! De opkomst en vestiging an de gereformeerde gemeente te Naaldwijk (1572-1575)'
Introduction: Lobbying for Democracy
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263.86 kB
22 September 2013

Auteur: Eduard van de Bilt

The Supreme Court as an Issue in Presidential Campaigns in the United States
File Size:
292.29 kB
22 September 2013
Auteur: Mark C. Miller
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