U.S. Election Campaigns
A Documentary and Reference Guide
by Thomas J. Baldino and Kyle L. Kreider
September 2011, 351pp, 8 1/2 x 11
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-0-313-35304-8
$121, £94, 106€, A166
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-0-313-35305-5
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Successfully winning a seat for an elected office position in the United States takes much more than just ideals, conviction, and the willingness to stump and shake a lot of hands. It requires strategy, carefully planned and controlled messaging, and luck. And above all, it takes money.

This book provides an analytical guide to the modern political campaign, chronologically covering key federal, state, and local campaign laws, election commission rules, and the court decisions interpreting them.

While the media and the public tend to focus on the personalities and foibles of the candidates and the horse-race elements of political campaigns, election outcomes often depend as much on the rules that limit candidates’ activities and advertising as on the candidates’ platforms and personal appeal. How much money may candidates raise? From whom can they accept money? When and how may they spend their campaign funds? What are they allowed to say in their ads?

Informed voters who understand the constraints under which campaigns operate can see past the headlines and the hype to assess the quality of the candidates’ campaign decisions and their management skills. The approximately 100 documents gathered in this reference guide put the essential information in readers’ hands.

After introducing 18th- and 19th-century efforts to regulate American election campaigns, this book examines the 20th-century evolution and refinement of election campaign laws in era-by-era chapters and concludes with a chapter on 21st-century developments. Each chapter opens with a short essay highlighting politically relevant historical events of the era to place the subject matter in context.


  • Analytical essays and suggested print and electronic resources accompany every documentary entry
Thomas J. Baldino is professor of political science at Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, PA, and program coordinator for the university's Political Science major and minor. He has also served as a faculty associate of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives's Legislative Office for Research Liaison.

Kyle L. Kreider is assistant professor of political sciences at Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, PA, where he has served as university pre-law advisor. Kreider contributed to Greenwood's Encyclopedia of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.


"A good reference for users interested in the financial facets of election campaigns."—Library Journal, December 1, 2011

"This volume not only arrives at an excellent time but also has good intentions to inform the general public about the finer points of campaign law. . . . This is appropriate for any academic library that has an interest in politics or history and most medium-sized to large public libraries."—Booklist, January 1, 2012

"This work will be useful to those seeking documentary evidence and analysis of US election campaigns. Summing up: Recommended."—Choice, March 1, 2012

Documentary and Reference Guides

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.


  • 50–100 primary source documents, topically and chronologically organized, including excerpts from legislation, U.S. Supreme Court decisions, manifestos, broadcast statements, such controversial writings 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
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