Disasters before 1950; coping without Congress -- Shouldering the burden; Federal assumption of disaster costs -- U.S. Federal disaster declarations; a geographical analysis / Ute J. Dymon and Rutherford H. Platt -- Stemming the losses; the quest for hazard mitigation / Rutherford H. Platt and Claire B. Rubin -- Property rights organizations; backlash against regulation / Jessica Spelke Jansujwicz -- The takings issue and the regulation of hazardous areas / Rutherford H. Platt and Alexandra D. Dawson. Fire Island; the politics of coastal erosion / Rutherford H. Platt, David Scherf, and K. Beth O'Donnell -- St. Charles County, Missouri; Federal dollars and the 1933 flood / Miriam Gradie Anderson and Rutherford H. Platt -- The Bay area; one disaster after another. "In recent years, the number of presidential declarations of "major disasters' has sky-rocketed. Such declarations make stricken areas eligible for federal emergency relief funds that greatly reduce their costs. But is federalizing the cost of disasters helping to lighten the overal burden of disasters, or is it making matters worse? Disasters and Democracy addresses the political response to natural disasters, focusing on the changing role of the federal government."--Jacket.