American Government: Roots and Reform, 2012 Election Edition / Edition 12

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Understand American politics from past to present

American Government: Roots and Reform, 2012 Election Edition explores how the origins of American government affect the issues facing the United States today. This bestselling text offers the strongest coverage of history and current events. This approach encourages students to study present political structures and behaviors in full constitutional and historical context. The text helps students learn how our government evolved and how they can become more informed citizens. Most importantly, it encourages them to discover that politics can be–and most often is–a good thing.

This text features full integration with the New MyPoliSciLab. MyPoliSciLab includes a wide array of resources to encourage students to look at American politics like a political scientist and analyze current political issues. Political Explorer lets students play the role of a political scientist by investigating issues through interactive data. Core Concept videos discuss the big ideas in each chapter and apply them to key political issues. Simulations allow students to experience how political leaders make decisions.

A better teaching and learning experience

This program provides a better teaching and learning experience–for you and your students. Here’s how:

  • Personalize Learning–The New MyPoliSciLab delivers proven results in helping students succeed, provides engaging experiences that personalize learning, and comes from a trusted partner with educational expertise and a deep commitment to helping students and instructors achieve their goals. MyPoliSciLab is now compatible with BlackBoard!
  • Engage Students–The stunning visual design engages students in the text.
  • Improve Critical Thinking– Learning objectives in every chapter help students focus on important topics.
  • Analyze Current Events–Coverage of the 2012 elections keeps the study of politics relevant and shows how political scientists look at the development of the American political system.
  • Support Instructors– A full supplements package including the Class Preparation Tool in the New MyPoliSciLab is available.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“This is the standard which I judge other texts against. O’Connor still is the text to beat.”—Richard Johnson, Oklahoma City University

“By relying on multiple and complementary pedagogical approaches, American Government fosters student interest in this complex subject matter, strengthens critical thinking, and contributes to a sense of civic engagement.”—Tony Wohlers, Cameron University

“O’Connor is well-written and thoroughly updated. It is comprehensive and emphasizes the development of American government and politics. The text itself is assiduously unbiased and fair. Although it points out shortcomings in our political system, it does so in a context depicting American government and politics in a positive light.” — Richard Himelfarb, Hofstra University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205865802
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 1/4/2013
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 12
  • Pages: 672
  • Sales rank: 111,173
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Karen O’Connor is the Jonathan N. Helfat Distinguished Professor of Political Science and the Founder and Director Emerita of the Women & Politics Institute at American University. Before coming to American University, Karen taught political science for seventeen years at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, where she was the first woman to receive the university’s highest teaching award. She has been recognized by several associations as the most outstanding woman in political science and public administration as well as by the Southern Political Science Association for her contributions to the discipline. From 2010-2012, she has been selected by The Irish Times as one of the top 100 Irish American lawyers in the United States.

Dubbed “the most quoted college professor in the land” by the Wall Street Journal, Larry J. Sabato bridges the gap between the ivory tower and the real world of politics. A Rhodes Scholar, Dr. Sabato has taught more than 15,000 students in his career at Oxford University, Cambridge University, and the University of Virginia. He has received every major teaching award at the University of Virginia, and in 2001, he was named the Thomas Jefferson Award winner. Dr. Sabato is the University Professor of Politics and director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, founded in 1998 to improve civic education and the political process. Follow Larry’s Crystal Ball at

Alixandra B. Yanus is Assistant Professor of Political Science at High Point University, where she teaches courses in Enduring Questions in Political Science, American Government, and Research Methods. She holds a B.A. in Political Science (summa cum laude) from American University and a M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her scholarly research has appeared in peer-reviewed venues including Justice System Journal and Politics and Gender and in book chapters published by Oxford University Press, CQ Press, and Sage.

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Table of Contents

1. Brief Table of Contents

2. Complete Table of Contents

1. Brief Table of Contents


Chapter 1: American Government: Roots, Context, and Culture

Chapter 2: The Constitution

Chapter 3: The Federal System

Chapter 4: Civil Liberties

Chapter 5: Civil Rights


Chapter 6: Congress

Chapter 7: The Presidency

Chapter 8: The Executive Branch and the Federal Bureaucracy

Chapter 9: The Judiciary


Chapter 10: Public Opinion and Political Socialization

Chapter 11: Political Parties

Chapter 12: Elections and Voting

Chapter 13: The Campaign Process

Chapter 14: The News Media

Chapter 15: Interest Groups


Chapter 16: Domestic Policy

Chapter 17: Economic Policy

Chapter 18: Foreign and Defense Policy

2. Complete Table of Contents


1. American Government: Roots, Context, and Culture

Roots of American Government: We the People

The Living Constitution

Types of Government

Functions of American Government

American Political Culture and the Basic Tenets of American Democracy

The Changing American Public

Political Ideology

Take a Closer Look

Toward Reform: People and Politics

Infographic: Is the American Dream a Reality?

> MyPoliSciLab Video Series

> MyPoliSciLab Simulation: You Are a City Council Member

> MyPoliSciLab Explorer: How Do You Measure Freedom?

2. The Constitution

Roots of the New American Nation

Take a Closer Look

The First Attempt at Government: The Articles of Confederation

The Miracle at Philadelphia: Writing the U.S. Constitution

Infographic: Who Were the Framers?

The U.S. Constitution

Explore Your World

The Drive for Ratification of the U.S. Constitution

Toward Reform: Methods of Amending the U.S. Constitution

The Living Constitution

> MyPoliSciLab Video Series

> MyPoliSciLab Simulation: You Are a Founder

> MyPoliSciLab Explorer: How Long Did It Take To Ratify The Constitution?

3. The Federal System

Roots of the Federal System

The Living Constitution

Federalism and the Marshall Court

Explore Your World

Dual Federalism: States’ Rights, Civil War, and Reconstruction

Cooperative Federalism: The Growth of National Government

Infographic: How Has the Federal-State Relationship Evolved?

Federal Grants to State and Local Governments

Take a Closer Look

Judicial Federalism

Toward Reform: Attempts to Balance National and State Power

> MyPoliSciLab Video Series

> MyPoliSciLab Simulation: You Are a Federal Judge

> MyPoliSciLab Explorer: Which States Win or Lose the Federal Aid Game?

4. Civil Liberties

Roots of Civil Liberties: The Bill of Rights

First Amendment Guarantees: Freedom of Religion

First Amendment Guarantees: Freedom of Speech, Press, Assembly, and Petition

Explore Your World

The Second Amendment: The Right to Keep and Bear Arms

Infographic: Does The Second Amendment Go Too Far?

The Rights of Criminal Defendants

Take a Closer Look

The Right to Privacy

The Living Constitution

Toward Reform: Civil Liberties and Combating Terrorism

> MyPoliSciLab Video Series

> MyPoliSciLab Simulation: You Are a Police Officer

> MyPoliSciLab Explorer: Should the Government Apply the Death Penalty?

5. Civil Rights

Roots of Suffrage: 1800-1890

The Living Constitution

The Push for Equality, 1890-1954

The Civil Rights Movement

Take a Closer Look

The Women’s Rights Movement

Explore Your World

Other Groups Mobilize for Rights

Infographic: Should Gay Marriage Be a State or Federal Issue?

Toward Reform: Civil Rights and Affirmative Action

> MyPoliSciLab Video Series

> MyPoliSciLab Simulation: You Are a Mayor

> MyPoliSciLab Explorer: Are All Forms of Discrimination the Same?


6. Congress

Roots of the Legislative Branch of Government

The Living Constitution

The Members of Congress

Infographic: Is the House of Representatives the “People’s House”?

How Congress Is Organized

Explore Your World

Powers of Congress

Take a Closer Look

How Members Make Decisions

Toward Reform: Balancing Institutional Power

> MyPoliSciLab Video Series

> MyPoliSciLab Explorer: Can Congress Get Anything Done?

> MyPoliSciLab Simulation: You Are a Consumer Advocate

7. The Presidency

Roots of the Office of President of the United States

Living Constitution

The Constitutional Powers of the President

A Closer Look

The Development and Expansion of Presidential Power

The Presidential Establishment

Infographic: What Does the West Wing Say About Presidential Power?

Presidential Leadership and the Importance of Public Opinion

Toward Reform: The President as Policy Maker

Explore Your World

> MyPoliSciLab Video Series

> MyPoliSciLab Simulation: You Are a First-Term President

> MyPoliSciLab Explorer: What Influences The President's Public Approval?

8. The Executive Branch and the Federal Bureaucracy

Roots of the Federal Bureaucracy

The Modern Bureaucracy

Infographic: The Federal Workforce

Living Constitution

How the Bureaucracy Works

Take a Closer Look

Toward Reform: Making Agencies Accountable

Explore Your World

> MyPoliSciLab Video Series

> MyPoliSciLab Simulation: You Are Head of FEMA

> MyPoliSciLab Explorer: What Puts The 'Big' In Big Government?

9. The Judiciary

Roots of the Federal Judiciary

The Living Constitution

The Federal Court System

Explore Your World

How Federal Court Judges Are Selected

Infographic: Who Are the Federal Judges?

The Supreme Court Today

Take a Closer Look

Judicial Philosophy and Decision Making

Toward Reform: Power, Policy Making, and the Court

> MyPoliSciLab Video Series

> MyPoliSciLab Explorer: Who Are The Activist Judges?

> MyPoliSciLab Simulation: You Are a Supreme Court Clerk


10. Public Opinion and Political Socialization

Roots of Public Opinion Research

Explore Your World

Conducting and Analyzing Public Opinion Polls

Take a Closer Look

Shortcomings of Polling

Forming Political Opinions

Infographic: How Do Demographics Influence One’s Opinion of the Government?

Toward Reform: The Effects of Public Opinion on Politics

The Living Constitution

> MyPoliSciLab Video Series

> MyPoliSciLab Explorer: What Do Young People Think About Politics Today?

> MyPoliSciLab Simulation: You Are a Polling Consultant

11. Political Parties

Roots of the Two-Party System

The Living Constitution

The Organization of American Political Parties

Explore Your World

Activities of American Political Parties

Party Identification

Minor Parties in the American Two-Party System

Take a Closer Look

Toward Reform: Red States and Blue States

Infographic: Are We Political Parties Polarized?

> MyPoliSciLab Video Series

> MyPoliSciLab Explorer: Which Party Governs Better?

> MyPoliSciLab Simulation: You Are a Voter

12. Elections and Voting

Roots of American Elections

Presidential Elections

Infographic: The Iowa Caucuses

The Living Constitution

Congressional Elections

Patterns in Vote Choice

Voter Turnout

Take a Closer Look

Toward Reform: Problems with Voter Turnout

Explore Your World

> MyPoliSciLab Video Series

> MyPoliSciLab Explorer: Who Votes–And Who Doesn't?

> MyPoliSciLab Simulation: You Are a Voting Registration Volunteer

13. The Campaign Process

Roots of Modern Political Campaigns

Explore Your World

Assembling a Campaign Staff

Raising Money

Infographic: Super PACs

Reaching Voters

Take a Closer Look

Toward Reform: The 2012 Presidential Campaign

The Living Constitution

> MyPoliSciLab Video Series

> MyPoliSciLab Simulation: You Are a Campaign Strategist

> MyPoliSciLab Explorer: How Are People Involved In Politics?

14. The News Media

Roots of the News Media in the United States

The Living Constitution

Current News Media Trends

Infographic: Media Consolidation

Rules Governing the News Media

How the News Media Cover Politics

Take a Closer Look

Toward Reform: News Media Influence, News Media Bias, and Public Confidence

Explore Your World

> MyPoliSciLab Video Series

> MyPoliSciLab Simulation: You Are a Newspaper Editor

> MyPoliSciLab Explorer: Where Do You Get Your Political News?

15. Interest Groups

Roots of the American Interest Group System

Take a Closer Look

The Development of American Interest Groups

Infographic: Campaign Spending

What Do Interest Groups Do?

The Living Constitution

What Makes Interest Groups Successful?

Explore Your World

Toward Reform: Regulating Interest Groups and Lobbyists

> MyPoliSciLab Video Series

> MyPoliSciLab Simulation: You Are a Lobbyist

> MyPoliSciLab Explorer: Can Interest Groups Buy Public Policy?


16. Domestic Policy

Roots of Domestic Policy in the United States

The Living Constitution

Health Policy Today

Take a Closer Look: The Aging Inmate Population

Infographic: State Education Report Cards

Energy and Environmental Policy Today

Explore Your World

Toward Reform: Ongoing Challenges in Domestic Policy

> MyPoliSciLab Video Series

> MyPoliSciLab Explorer: Is Health Care A Public Good?

> MyPoliSciLab Simulation: You Are an OMB Staffer

17. Economic Policy

Roots of Economic Policy

The Living Constitution

Fiscal Policy

Infographic: How Much Government Debt Is Too Much?

Monetary Policy

Explore Your World

Income Security Policy

Toward Reform: Recession and Economic Recovery

Take a Closer Look

> MyPoliSciLab Video Series

> MyPoliSciLab Explorer: Who Broke The Economy?

> MyPoliSciLab Simulation: You Are a Federal Reserve Chair

18. Foreign and Defense Policy

Roots of U.S. Foreign and Defense Policy

The United States as a World Power

Explore Your World

Foreign and Defense Policy Decision Making

The Living Constitution

Contemporary Challenges In Foreign and Defense Policy

Infographic: Which Countries Hold A Stockpile Of Nuclear Weapons?

New Challenges in American Foreign Policy

Take a Closer Look

> MyPoliSciLab Video Series

> MyPoliSciLab Explorer: How Much Does America Spend On Defense?

> MyPoliSciLab Simulation: You Are a President during a Foreign Policy Crisis

> MyPoliSciLab Document: The Declaration of Independence

> MyPoliSciLab Document: The Constitution of the United States

> MyPoliSciLab Document: Federalist No. 10

> MyPoliSciLab Document: Federalist No. 15

> MyPoliSciLab Document: Federalist No. 51

> MyPoliSciLab Document: Federalist No. 78

> MyPoliSciLab Document: Anti-Federalist No. 17

> MyPoliSciLab Document: Marbury v. Madison

> MyPoliSciLab Document: McCulloch v. Maryland

> MyPoliSciLab Document: Brown v. Board of Education

> MyPoliSciLab Document: The Gettysburg Address

> MyPoliSciLab Document: Washington’s Farewell Address

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