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Probes incivility among U.S. lawmakers, demonstrating why institutional reform will not solve gridlock in Washington

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Chapter 1. On Good Behavior     1

Chapter 2. Norms and Normlessness     21

Chapter 3. Five Explanations in Search of Evidence     45

Chapter 4. Values, Norms, and Society     63

Chapter 5. The Decline of Comity in the Nation     103

Chapter 6. Policy-Making in an Era of Resource Constraints     127

Chapter 7. A New Order in the New World?     157

References     171

Subject Index     199

Name Index     203


Why do members of Congress resort to name-calling? In this provocative book, Eric M. Uslaner proposes that Congress is mirroring the increased incivility of American society. He points to five core values—American exceptionalism, enlightened individualism, egalitarianism, science as social engineering, and religion—that have been eroded since the 1960s. The author argues that a lack of trust permeates members of Congress to the point that they would rather seek control than compromise. This, Uslaner contends, is the real cause of gridlock in Washington. The Decline in Comity in Congress demonstrates why institutional reform will not correct this problem and why Americans need to change before their government can.

"This is an interesting, provocative, rather daring book, written in an easy, straightforward, lively style...The Decline of Comity in Congress is a stimulating book, the achievement  of a perceptive and insightful student of the congressional world."
--American Political Science Review

- American Political Science Review