- This deeply knowledgeable consideration of the first party struggle has much to say to Americans who take a liberal democracy for granted and to those still working to establish one abroad.
Lance Banning, author of The Sacred Fire of Liberty: James Madison and the Founding of the Federal Republic, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize
- John Zvesper's From Bullets to Ballots is a practical meditation on the "democracy question," with particular salience to the post-9/11 situation. It can be appreciated on two levels. First, it is a superb historical analysis of the evolution of responsible party politics in the United Statesthe first example of a modern democracy to solve "the crisis of succession" and to endow popularly elected partisan candidates with legitimacy. Moreover, it is also a meditation on this American experience for guidance, if not imitation, for the transformation of existing nondemocratic regimes to liberal polities.
John S. Waggoner, Introduction, From Bullets to Ballots
- Truly engaging and stimulating, this is also a wise and readable book on an urgent and timely theme facing the contemporary world.... a most enriching experience.
Filippo Sabetti, McGill University, author of The Search for Good Government
- Writing on the first major party conflict in the Founding period of American constitutional history, which culminated in the "Revolution of 1800," eminent political scientist John Zvesper skillfully weaves the questions of classical political philosophy into an intricate study of political history. In From Bullets to Ballots, Zvesper explores the conditions for peaceful transfers of power among competing parties, the conflicting requirements of political principles and electoral sucess, and the place for statecraft within the constraints of party politics and constitutional government. While examining the institutional settings that channel partisan maneuvering and relations of power, Zvesper also elucidates the necessary virtues of patience, perserverance, and persuasion that must inform partisan divisions. These qualities help bring about deliberative democracy and prudent judgment, in contrast to the instability and violent change arising from inflexible regimes. This learned, insightful, and altogether remarkable book will be of immense benefit to both theorists and practioners of constitutional government and party politics, wherever they may be citizens.
Terence Marshall, Universite Paris X
- John Zvesper provides a crucial account of a missing link in the theory and practice of American government. Although constitutional government may be accepted in principle, there is no guarantee that the system will function rightly in the transfer of power between political parties often animated by fear and anger. Zvesper's analysis of the American Revolution of 1800 will be of enduring value to students of comparative government in the West, and to participants in the continuing and precarious efforts on behalf of effective democracy in the East, from Ukraine and Belarus to Central Asia.
Richard Hassing, Catholic University of America, and Anka Hassing, Solidarity Center of the AFL-CIO, co-authors of a commentary on The Federalist, in Romanian.