Energy and American Politics

A Documentary and Reference Guide

by Jerald C. Mast


Energy and politics: In the United States, the two have always been intrinsically connected.

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April 2021


Pages 325
Volumes 1
Size 8 1/2x11
Topics Current Events and Issues/General
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Authoritative and accessible, this book provides a balanced survey of the history of U.S. energy policies, political divisions over energy choices, and the pros and cons of various energy options in the 21st century.

In Energy and American Politics: A Documentary and Reference Guide, primary documents illuminate historic turning points in American energy policy. It presents the background knowledge necessary to understand the ways in which politics have influenced—and continue to shape—America's energy choices. Users of this accessible guide can fairly assess the economic, environmental, and national security implications of all energy alternatives, including fossil fuels like oil, coal, and natural gas, as well as so-called renewables such as solar, wind, and nuclear power.

The book spotlights documents such as President Eisenhower's "Atoms for Peace" speech (1953), President Nixon's announcement of the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (1970), President Reagan's speech in support of nuclear power (1981), the Exxon Valdez oil spill report (1989), the Obama administration's investments in clean energy (late 2000s to present day), and speeches from Democratic senator Sheldon Whitehouse (2013) and Republican senator Jim Inhofe (2015) on climate change and energy choices, among many others.


    • Frames the central arguments of lawmakers, activists, industries, and scientists arguing for and against various energy sources via informative primary documents
    • Presents authoritative and impartial information that provides vital context for readers to fully understand the circumstances under which the featured primary sources were created
    • Examines the implications of conventional and alternative energy sources, including oil, gas, coal, solar, wind, and nuclear
Series Description

Documentary and Reference Guides

What does the U.S. Constitution really say about the right to bear arms? The controversy surrounding this single issue illustrates how important documents are to understanding history--and how they can be open to interpretation. How can students best understand the impact and nuances of the documents that frame America's story?

Expertly chosen primary source documents, analytical commentary, and comprehensive study resources present Americans grappling directly with complex social and political issues in ways that have had a deep and lasting impact on contemporary society.

Students often are unaware that hotly contested public debates have deep historical roots. Intended to allow readers to engage with history and discover the development of controversial social and political issues over time, the Documentary and Reference Guides series introduces such issues through carefully chosen primary source documents.

The documents analyzed in these volumes encourage critical thinking, offering fresh perspectives as they sweep away preconceptions and restore immediacy to debates that may have become stale. They encourage students to explore for themselves how important issues came to be framed as they are and to consider how contemporary discussion might advance beyond the assumptions and hardened positions of the past.


  •  Offers primary source documents--well known and less so--that are most important for understanding a given issue, selected and analyzed by subject-area specialists
  •  Presents document headnotes, text, and analysis in a consistent manner, making the book easy for readers to navigate
  •  Steers students and general readers to the most useful and reliable sources for further information, whether print, electronic, multimedia, or institutional resources


  •  50-100 primary source documents, topically and chronologically organized, including excerpts from legislation, U.S. Supreme Court decisions, manifestos, broadcast statements, controversial writings such as Thomas Paine's pamphlets and excerpts from the Federalist Papers, and personal writings, such as letters
  •  15-25 photographs
  •  Accessible analysis sections and lively sidebars illuminating documents that are crucial to the subject, but relatively legalistic or technical
  •  A Reader's Guide to the Documents and Sidebars, organized by subject, to enable readers to pursue particular lines of inquiry through more than one chapter
  •  A comprehensive, annotated, general resources section supporting student research needs
Author Info

Jerald C. Mast, PhD, is professor of political science at Carthage College in Wisconsin. He primarily teaches and researches in the field of public policy, particularly specializing in the public laws and policies dealing with the environment and natural resources. His most recent publications include Climate Change Politics and Policy in America: Historical and Modern Documents in Context, "International Environmental Politics" for Twenty-first Century Political Science: A Reference Handbook, and "Balancing management needs for conserving biodiversity in Grand Canyon National Park" with Joy Nystrom Mast for National Parks: Biodiversity, Conservation and Tourism. Mast has also conducted research on invasive species policies on the Great Lakes and on economic valuation methods for environmental aesthetics. He is a frequent analyst of state and national politics for Wisconsin Public Radio. He taught political science and political geography at Northern Arizona University before joining the Carthage faculty in 2002. Mast earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and his doctorate with distinction from Northern Arizona University.

Ronald Cronovich, PhD, is professor of economics at Carthage College. He was a member of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas economics faculty from 1994 to 2008 and a three-time selection as the outstanding teacher of the year in UNLV's college of business. He earned a bachelor's degree in economic theory from American University in 1988 and earned a master's degree and doctorate in economics from the University of Michigan. He joined the Carthage faculty in 2008.

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