Morone, James A. 1951-

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MORONE, James A. 1951-


Born May 9, 1951. Education: Middlebury College, B.A., 1973; University of Chicago, M.A., 1976, Ph.D., 1982.


Office—Department of Political Science, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912. E-mail[email protected]


University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, instructor, committee on public policy studies; Brown University, Providence, RI, professor of political science, 1982—. Visiting professor, Yale University, 1990, University of Bremen, 1994, 1995.


American Political Science Association, National Academy of Social Insurance (founding member), New England Political Science Association (president, 2002-03).


Bustin Prize, University of Chicago Law School, 1980; Gladys M. Kammerer Award for best book in American national policy, American Political Science Association, 1991, and New York Times notable book of 1991, both for The Democratic Wish: Popular Participation and the Limits of American Government; Barrett Hazletine citation for outstanding teaching, Brown University students, 1993, 1999, and 2001. Recipient of grants, including from National Academy of Sciences, 1980, Health Research and Education Trust, 1981-83, Brown University, 1983, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 1992-93, 1994-95, 1995-2000.


(With Andrew Dunham) The Politics of Innovation: The Evolution of Hospital Regulation in New Jersey, Health Research and Education Trust, 1983.

The Democratic Wish: Popular Participation and the Limits of American Government, Basic Books (New York, NY), 1990, revised edition, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1998.

(Editor, with Gary S. Belkin) The Politics of Health Care Reform: Lessons from the Past, Prospects for the Future, Duke University Press (Durham, NC), 1994.

(Editor, with Bernard Braun, Johann Behrens, and Deborah Stone) Health Care Policy in the USA and Germany: Market Forces in Cross National Perspective, NOMOS Verlag (Baden-Baden, Germany), 1996.

Hellfire Nation: The Politics of Sin in American History, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 2003.

Inequality and the Politics of Health: How Politics Makes Americans Sick, Westview Press (Boulder, CO), 2004.

(Editor, with Lawrence R. Jacobs and Lawrence Brown) Healthy, Wealthy, and Fair: Health Care and the Good Society, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2005.

Contributor to books, including Innovation in Health Policy and Service Delivery: A Cross National Perspective, edited by Christa Altenstetter, Gunn & Hain, 1981; Health Care Policy, edited by T. R. Marmor and Jon Christiansen, Sage Press, 1982; Readings in Community Organization Practice, third edition, edited by Harry Specht, Prentice Hall, 1983; Political Analysis and American Medical Care, edited by Theodore R. Marmor, Cambridge University Press, 1983; Health Care Politics and Policy, edited by Leonard Robbins and T. Littman, John Wiley, 1984, second edition, 1991, third edition published as Health Politics and Policy, Delmar Publishing, 1996; Representation and Responsibility: Exploring Legislative Ethics, edited by Daniel Callahan and Bruce Jennings, Plenum Press, 1985; Ethics and Social Concern, edited by Anthony Serafini, Paragon House, 1989; Health Policy and the Disadvantaged, edited by Lawrence Brown, Duke University Press, 1991; Understanding Universal Health Programs, edited by David Kindig and Robert Sullivan, Health Administration Press, 1992; Competitive Approaches to Health Care Reform, Urban Institute Press, 1993; The Politics of Health Care Reform, edited by James A. Morone and Gary Belkin, Duke University Press, 1994; Perspectives in Medical Sociology, edited by Phil Brown, Waveland Press, 1996; American Values: Opposing Viewpoints, edited by Jennifer Hurley, Greenhaven Press, 2000; The Encyclopedia of Psychology and Neuroscience, edited by W. Edward Craighead and Charles Neeroff, John Wiley, 2000; The New Politics of State Health Policy, edited by Robert Hackey and David Rochefort, Kansas University Press, 2001; and Covering America: Real Remedies for the Uninsured, edited by Jack Meyer and Elliot Wicks.

Contributor to periodicals, including Perspectives on Political Science, Health Affairs, Studies in American Political Development, and American Prospect. Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law, editor, 1989-94, chairman of board of editors, 1995-2002; Clio: The Newsletter of the Politics and History Section of the APSA, coeditor, 1992-94; PS: Political Science and Politics, chairman of board of editors, 2001-2004. Member of editorial board, Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, 1983—, Administration & Policy Journal, 1984-89, Italiana-America, 1989—, Journal of Comparative Health Policy, 1994, and Journal of Policy History, 1996—; member of editorial board for "Political Development of the American Nation" series, University of Massachusetts Press, 1995—.


In Search of American Culture: Political Essays, for Duke University Press; editing, with Leonard Robbins, Health Care Politics and Policy, for Delmar Publishers.


A political scientist at Brown University, James A. Morone published his book The Democratic Wish: Popular Participation and the Limits of American Government in 1990. In the Journal of American History, Fred Siegel commented that Morone's volume "locates the contemporary slide of the United States economy in the American political tradition." The author's argument in The Democratic Wish is that the United States, with its political system based on eighteenth-century notions of populism, will proceed to flounder economically if it continues to solve problems through increased bureaucracy. Americans, Morone advises, must learn to weld "democratic wishes to contemporary institutions." Reviewer Alan Tonelson wrote in the New York Times Book Review that The Democratic Wish "merits the highest compliments one can accord a public policy book. It spotlights a problem that can no longer be evaded. And it makes you think."

Morone attempts to spotlight another serious problem in The Politics of Health Care Reform: Lessons from the Past, Prospects for the Future, a compilation of essays, mostly by political scientists and economists, but with a smattering of physicians, lawyers, and sociologists. These essays cover the history of health care reform in the United States, examination of political and business perspectives, the role of federalism, and comparison with experiences in Canada, Great Britain, and Germany. Comparing it to Theodore Marmor's more compact Understanding Health Care Reform, Contemporary Sociology contributor Jennie Jacobs Kronenfeld concluded, "If an instructor wants one book of readings to supplement material on health care policy, clearly the Morone and Belkin book covers more material and from more diverse points of view." A reviewer for the American Journal of Law & Medicine found the collection an "an interesting dialogue on this complex issue."

While these works gained Morone respect among his fellow political scientists, he gained a much wider audience, and stirred up considerably more controversy, with his next book, Hellfire Nation: The Politics of Sin in American History. From the Puritans to contemporary drug warriors, the United States has always been blessed, or cursed (depending on one's view of the cause), with moral crusaders seeking to cleanse the nation of its vices. Rightist crusaders against alcohol, prostitution, and "white slavery" are mirrored by the left's abolitionists, Christian Socialists, and anti-nuclear activists. "It takes an audacious scholar both to narrate and try to make sense of this long, tangled history of moralists and their causes," noted Nation contributor Michael Kazin. In Hellfire Nation, James Morone makes a brave, provocative attempt."

According to the author, the legacy of the Puritans is actually two-fold. As T. Jeremy Gunn and Blandine Chelini Pont explained in the Journal of Church and State, "For Morone, American history and politics can better be understood as a moralistic struggle between two different aspects of America's Puritan heritage: that which believes society's problems originate principally with the 'sinful' individual… and that which believes that society's ills principally come from failures of the community." This division, between evangelicals who seek to use government to coerce individual acceptance of moral norms and Social Gospelers who seek to create better people by reforming economic and social institutions, is fundamental to Morone's thesis. It is the Social Gospel that clearly attracts the author, but "only when his account reaches the 1930s does it become clear that the book's extended critique of 'neo-Puritan' politics is intended to promote an alternative American moral tradition," commented David J. Garrow in the New York Times. Morone sees the fruits of this Social Gospel movement in the New Deal and the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and the author indicates that he would like to see more such communitarian impulses.

Some critics questioned this attempt to corral progressives and civil rights activists under the Social Gospel banner. Washington Post reviewer Chris Lehmann, for example, found that "for all its welcome conceptual sweep and narrative flair, Hellfire Nation, like many single-thesis explanations of our national identity, feels strained—and grows more so as it moves toward the present." Latter-day liberal activists, like the New Dealers before them, are more likely to be driven by Enlightenment values of freedom and equality than religious ideals of earthly redemption. For Michael Kazin in his Nation review, "A larger problem is that Morone's view of history is strangely ahistorical. He thinks more about recurring cycles of moralizing politics than about how conflicts about sin have changed the nation over time." As Kazin pointed out, prohibition is dead and gone, and sexual license is very much alive, despite the protests of evangelicals. While acknowledging the flaws in Morone's grasp of history, including some factual errors and the disappointment of professional historians, Christian Century contributor David Harrington Watt maintained that "those are not the readers Morone had in mind. He has written a book for people with no special training in American cultural history. His aim seems to be to meditate on the long history of Christian-based political movements. He wants to encourage people to rethink the possibilities and limitations of the American tendency to conflate religion and politics. Morone has succeeded in meeting these worthwhile goals, and he has done so through a set of engrossing narratives."



Morone, James A., The Democratic Wish: Popular Participation and the Limits of American Government, Basic Books, 1990.

Morone, James A., and Gary S. Belkin, editors, The Politics of Health Care Reform: Lessons from the Past, Prospects for the Future, Duke University Press (Durham, NC), 1994.


America, September 29, 2003, Thomas Murphy, "Visionary and Moral Tales," p. 24.

American Journal of Law & Medicine, 1994, review of The Politics of Health Care Reform: Lessons from the Past, Prospects for the Future, p. 339.

Christian Century, October 18, 2003, David Harrington Watt, "God and Country," p. 22.

Contemporary Sociology, May, 1995, Jennie Jacobs Kronenfeld, review of The Politics of Health Care Reform, pp. 414-415.

Journal of American History, December, 1991, Fred Siegel, review of The Democratic Wish: Popular Participation and the Limits of American Government, p. 1036.

Journal of Church and State, autumn, 2003, T. Jeremy Gunn and Blandine Chelini Pont, review of Hellfire Nation: The Politics of Sin in American History, p. 821.

Labor Studies Journal, spring, 1993, Mary G. H. Lazarsky, review of The Democratic Wish, p. 69.

Nation, June 16, 2003, Michael Kazin, review of Hellfire Nation, p. 36.

New Republic, June 30, 2003, Jackson Lears, review of Hellfire Nation, p. 27.

New York Times, April 9, 2003, David J. Garrow, "Visions of Vice and Virtue Rule a Nation's Heart," p. E7.

New York Times Book Review, December 23, 1990, Alan Tonelson, review of The Democratic Wish, p. 5.

Providence Journal, February 16, 1999, C. J. Chivers, "A Conversation with Political Science Professor James A. Morone," p. C1.

Washington Post, April 20, 2003, Chris Lehmann, "Straight and Narrow," p. T3.


Brown University, (June 11, 2004).*