CfP: Capitalism and American Political Development - New Political Science

Call for papers, deadline 15 March 2023

Edited by James Parisot (Assistant Professor, University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley) and Jeffrey D. Broxmeyer (Associate Professor, The University of Toledo)  


The history of capitalism was linked to the development of the U.S. state. Yet those dynamics remain somewhat unclear. Did the state follow or lead a transition to capitalism in the U.S. during the Long Nineteenth Century? How should we understand the U.S. pathway, as compared with other capitalist transitions, for example, in Canada, Mexico or across Latin America? How did the U.S. build a ‘racialized’ state, in which the federal government was forged alongside slavery and white-settler colonialism? State-building is a process wrought with political conflict from above and below. Did class fractions like merchant capitalists, plantation owners, and rentiers, play a role in building a modern state that would be up to the task of capitalist accumulation? The U.S. also has a history of white farmer rebellions, indigenous struggles against colonialism, feminist and women’s movements, slave rebellions, and disruptions by the propertyless and the displaced. How did social movements, protests, and acts of resistance shape the institutional dynamics and trajectory of the U.S. state over the longue durée?  


This special issue of New Political Science invites contributors to explore questions related to U.S. state formation through a critical historical lens. The subfield of American Political Development (APD) has a focus on political institutions but has neglected analysis of class and capitalism. And elsewhere, debates over the history of U.S. capitalism, such as the question of the ‘transition’ to capitalism, and capitalism and slavery, have rarely centered the question of the state or the role of political institutions. This journal issue aims to bring together scholars working on these themes, both inside political science, and through more interdisciplinary approaches in history, sociology, and geography, to reflect critically on the making of the U.S. state. Contributions may be empirical studies that examine aspects of American state formation in the context of the history of capitalism, conceptual pieces that address theoretical problems, or other approaches that push beyond existing perspectives on the topic. Those engaging with Marxist and related critical perspectives on the co-development of politics and social property relations are especially encouraged to submit.  


Questions that contributors may engage with include:  


-To what extent did the post-Revolutionary American state initially form as a ‘class state’ dedicated to protecting elite interests?  


-How, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, did U.S. political institutions on both state and federal levels develop in relationship to class formation? In what ways did class relations shape the ‘institutional materiality’ of the state, to use Nicos Poulantzas’ phrase? 


-What role did historical struggles over gender, race, and sexuality play in capital formation and the consolidation or disruption of party systems, racial orders, ideological projects, and political institutions? 


-Did the variety of social property relations that were present in the northeast, the south, and ‘western’ borderlands contribute to sectional or rural-urban divides that periodically manifest as crises in American political development? 


-Can historical materialist approaches help to problematize core APD concepts like path dependence, critical junctures, political time, bureaucratic autonomy, state capacity or intercurrence (to name just a few)?  


-In what ways have studies of American political development engaged with questions of capitalism? For example, was there a distinctive ‘American Road to Capitalism’ that mixed the rise of mass politics with wage labor and capital accumulation? What are avenues of further research in this regard?  


This issue follows the standard double-blind peer review process for New Political Science. After a preliminary review by the guest editors, James Parisot and Jeff Broxmeyer, two blind peer reviewers will be selected and asked to evaluate the articles individually for the special issue. Manuscripts should be submitted to the guest editors for initial review at and


The following timeline will be followed for considering manuscripts:  

March 15th 2023: Full manuscript drafts of 7500 words due for consideration to special editors 

April 1st 2023: Authors notified of decision to send out for blind peer review 

May 15th 2023: Peer reviews returned to authors 

October 15th 2023: Final papers due to New Political Science