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Annual Editions is a series of over 65 volumes, each designed to provide convenient, inexpensive access to a wide range of current articles from some of the most respected magazines, newspapers, and journals published today. Annual Editions are updated on a regular basis through a continuous monitoring of over 300 periodical sources. The articles selected are authored by prominent scholars, researchers, and commentators writing for a general audience. The Annual Editions volumes have a number of common organizational features designed to make them particularly useful in the classroom: a general introduction; an annotated table of contents; a topic guide; an annotated listing of selected World Wide Web sites; and a brief overview for each section. Each volume also offers an online Instructor's Resource Guide with testing materials. Using Annual Editions in the Classroom is offered as a practical guide for instructors and is available in print or online. Visit www.mhcls.com for more details.
Annual Editions: American Government 10/11
UNIT 1: Foundations of American PoliticsUnit Overview
Part A. Basic Documents
1. The Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence, 1776
This document formally announces that 13 former British colonies have become the free and independent United States of America. It eloquently identifies certain historic principles on which their claim to independence rests.
2. The History of The Constitution of the United States, The Constitution of the U.S., 1787
The Constitution provides an organizational blueprint for the national government and for the federal relationship between the national government and the states. In addition, the first 10 amendments, commonly known as the Bill of Rights, spell out limits on what the government can do. A commentary accompanying the actual document provides a brief account of the writing of the Constitution and also notes some of its significant features.
3. The Size and Variety of the Union as a Check on Faction: Federalist No. 10, James Madison, The Federalist Papers, 1787
James Madison argues in support of the union of the 13 states under the new Constitution. According to Madison, a system of representative democracy governing a large territory and many people will help control the undesirable effects of "faction."
4. Checks and Balances: Federalist No. 51, James Madison, The Federalist Papers, 1787
According to James Madison, both the separation of powers among three branches of government and the division of powers between the states and the central government will help preserve representative democracy under the new Constitution.
Part B. Contemporary Views and Values
5. Can America Fail?, Kishore Mahbubani, Wilson Quarterly, Spring 2009
Kishore Mahbubani identifies three systemic failures of American society. He argues that Americans must recognize these problems and correct them, or risk the "unthinkable," failure as a society and world power.
6. The Right Bite, William A. Galston, Wilson Quarterly, Winter 2009
William A. Galston explores Americans’ growing distrust of their national government over the past four decades and suggests five ways to improve government’s performance.
7. Progressivism Goes Mainstream, John Halpin and Ruy Teixeira, The American Prospect, May 2009
John Halpin and Ruy Teixeira report and analyze recent research showing increases in Americans’ progressive inclinations.
8. The Hazard of Moral Hazard, James K. Glassman, Commentary, September 2009
Jame K. Glassman focuses on the phenomenon of "moral hazard" and discusses the adverse consequences of United States government efforts to help financial institutions that have engaged in overly risky behavior.
9. Not So Popular Where It Counts, Bruce Stokes, National Journal, July 25, 2009
Bruce Stokes reports that, while President Obama is more popular than his predecessor George W. Bush in much of the world, the current president and the United States are viewed unfavorably by the people of key countries such as Pakistan, Russia, and China.
Part C. Constitutional and Legal Matters
10. It Is Time to Repair the Constitution’s Flaws, Sanford Levinson, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 13, 2006
Sanford Levinson assesses the adequacy of the U.S. Constitution and observes that many of its structural provisions are obstacles to the practice of democracy in the American political system.
11. Pursuit of Habeas, Jack Hitt, Mother Jones, September/October 2008
In the context of contemporary detainees at Guatanamo Bay, Jack Hitt emphasizes the importance of the legal procedure known as habeas corpus and notes that it was among the first great checks and balances on arbitrary government power.
12. Is Judicial Review Obsolete?, Stuart Taylor Jr., National Journal, July 5, 2008
Stuart Taylor argues that originalism as a way for judges to interpret the constitution is clearly inadequate. Even so, he continues, the imperial judiciary will continue to engage in judicial review.
13. Two Takes: Pulpit Politics Is Free Speech/Campaigns Can Split Churches, Ron Johnson Jr. and Barry W. Lynn, U.S. News & World Report, November 17/24, 2008
Two clergymen debate church-state relations in the American political system, with particular emphasis on what restrictions should apply to political commentary from the pulpits of tax-exempt churches.UNIT 2: Structures of American PoliticsUnit Overview
Part A. The Presidency
14. Misremembering Reagan, Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review, July 6, 2009
Ramesh Ponnuru argues that President Ronald Reagan performed differently from the way that conservative admirers remember him today. According to Ponnuru, Reagan was skillfully adaptable in applying conservative principles to the problems facing the United States during the time he was president.
15. Small Ball after All?, Jonathan Rauch, National Journal, September 20, 2008
Jonathan Rauch reports that many observers consider George W. Bush to have been the worst president in American history. He argues that Bush’s greatest failure was his handing over to his successor many major unsolved problems that already faced the United States when he first became president.
16. The Founders’ Great Mistake, Garrett Epps, The Atlantic, January/February 2009
Garrett Epps argues that the framers of the Constitution created a dysfunctional and dangerous presidency that has caused problems for the United States throughout its history. He offers a number of reforms relating to the office of chief executive and the interaction of the president with the legislative branch.
17. Happy Together?, Donald R. Wolfensberger, Wilson Quarterly, Winter 2009
According to Donald Wolfensberger, whether one party controls the White House and both houses of Congress—unified party government—or party control is divided between Republicans and Democrats—divided party government—has little effect on the effectiveness or success of American national government.
18. Veto This!, Carl M. Cannon, National Journal, October 13, 2007
Carl M. Cannon places President Bush’s infrequent use of the veto in historical context and explores several perspectives on the proper role of the president’s veto power in the operation of the American political system.
19. A Political Odyssey, Dan Balz and Haynes Johnson, The Washington Post, August 2, 2009
Dan Balz and Haynes Johnson chronicle Barack Obama’s remarkable campaign to become president of the United States and discuss what Obama thought were some of the implications of that campaign for his presidency.
20. The Shuffle President, Matt Bai, The New York Times Magazine, July 19, 2009
Matt Bai observes how the early presidency of Barack Obama seems to have presented an untidy political narrative. Perhaps because of multiple challenges facing the United States when he took the oath of office, Bai thinks that President Obama has moved quickly from issue to issue during the first part of his term in office.
Part B. Congress
21. When Congress Stops Wars: Partisan Politics and Presidential Power, William G. Howell and Jon C. Pevehouse, Foreign Affairs, September/October 2007
The authors explore the various ways that Congress can restrict presidential war powers. They also note that the party composition of Congress and the presidency is an important factor in how much influence Congress exerts.
22. The Case for Congress, Lee H. Hamilton, Wilson Quarterly, Spring 2004
Lee H. Hamilton defends Congress against a series of frequently voiced criticisms of the institution and of its individual members.
23. The Case for Busting the Filibuster, Thomas Geoghegan, The Nation, August 31/September 7, 2009
Thomas Geoghegan argues that the contemporary "procedural filibuster" is even worse than its more traditional predecessor, and that members of Congress and citizens should take action to end the filibuster in the Senate once and for all.
24. A Bit of Advice, Madam Speaker, Charlie Cook, National Journal, May 23, 2009
Charlie Cook identifies strengths and weaknesses of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and advises her to play to her strengths and avoid public appearances that highlight her weaknesses.
Part C. The Judiciary
25. Remote Control, Stuart Taylor Jr., The Atlantic Monthly, September 2005
Stuart Taylor notes that today’s Supreme Court justices have different professional backgrounds than their predecessors, with the result that contemporary justices have lost touch with the real world.
26. Court Approval, Jeffrey Rosen, The New Republic, July 23, 2007
Jeffrey Rosen assesses Chief Justice John Roberts’s so far unsuccessful quest for more consensus on the Supreme Court. He finds that Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, usually viewed as a liberal dissenter on the current court, practices judicial restraint more consistently than the majority bloc of justices that usually includes Chief Justice Roberts.
Part D. Bureaucracy
27. Marking Time: Why Government Is Too Slow, Bruce Berkowitz, The American Interest, September/October 2007
Bruce Berkowitz addresses why government bureaucracies are typically so slow to produce results. He discusses various factors that explain this phenomenon and suggests ways to improve the situation.
28. Worse than You Think, Peter J. Wallison and Edward Pinto, National Review, November 3, 2008
The authors chronicle the home mortgage crisis that came to national attention in 2008 and argue that it stemmed from government policy failures over several decades, including the savings-and-loan debacle in the late 1980s.
29. Teaching a Hippo to Dance, Amy Wilkinson, Wilson Quarterly, Winter 2009
Amy Wilkinson discusses the challenges that American national government faces in attracting and retaining competent employees to work in its bureaucracy. She argues that change must come from within and suggests that innovative use of contemporary technology might be one way of improving productivity.UNIT 3: Process of American PoliticsUnit Overview
Part A. Political Parties and Voters
30. Obama’s America, Michael Barone, National Journal, July 11, 2009
Michael Barone assesses the partisan make-up of the American electorate in the aftermath of Barack Obama’s comfortable victory over John McCain in November 2008. He analyzes the partisan leanings of the contemporary American electorate and Obama’s victory over McCain against the background of what seemed a natural Republican majority since the Reagan presidency in the 1980s.
31. The ‘Enduring Majority’—Again, Jay Cost, National Review, June 8, 2009
Jay Cost argues that the Democratic party’s ascendance in the 2006 and 2008 national elections should not be taken to mean that the Republican party will continue losing elections for the foreseeable future. He identifies the unusual context in which the 2008 election occurred and says that Republicans and conservatives should not be discouraged.
32. Dr. Dean Regrets Nothing, James A. Barnes, National Journal, January 24, 2009
James A. Barnes reports that Howard Dean, who served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2001 to early 2005, has no regrets about his controversial fifty-state strategy and his emphasis on improving his party’s technological capabilities.
33. Direction, Anyone?, Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review, September 7, 2009
Ramesh Ponnuru says that the Republican party needs political entrepreneurs, but identifies four factors that have led to the scarcity of such individuals among contemporary Republicans politicians.
Part B. The Conduct of Elections and Nominations
34. America Observed, Robert A. Pastor, The American Prospect, January 4, 2005
Robert A. Pastor identifies "dysfunctional decentralization" as the central cause of problems in America’s election system and compares various dimensions of the system with those of other countries.
35. Can Money Be a Force for Good?, Mark Schmitt, The American Prospect, January/February 2009
Mark Schmitt reviews the staggering sums of money that political candidates raised in the 2008 election cycle and argues that small-donor democracy can be a force for good in the American electoral system.
36. Vote or Else, Allison R. Hayward, The Weekly Standard, March 21, 2005
Allison R. Hayward proposes a system of mandatory voting in the United States and presents the merits of her proposal.
37. The American Presidential Nominating Process: The Beginnings of a New Era, Bruce Stinebrickner, McGraw-Hill Contemporary Learning Series, 2008
Bruce Stinebrickner reviews four eras in the history of the presidential nomination process and argues that changes evident during the first part of the 2008 process suggest that a fifth era is about to begin.
Part C. Interest Groups
38. Still the Chosen One?, Robert Dreyfuss, Mother Jones, September/October 2009
Robert Dreyfuss chronicles the great influence that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has long wielded in U.S. policy-making in the Middle East and questions whether that influence will continue during the Obama administration.
39. Don’t Call Them Lobbyists, Theo Francis and Steve LeVine, Businessweek, August 10, 2009
The authors explain that influence peddlers in Washington have shifted their tactics and are less inclined to engage in traditional lobbying than they used to be. Instead, they serve as strategists and advisors for clients who want to shape public policy.
40. Born Fighting, Ronald Brownstein, National Journal, September 27, 2008
Ronald Brownstein notes the ten-year anniversary of the founding of MoveOn.org, a progressive interest group that illustrates the rise of the Internet as a political force.
41. Why They Lobby, Winter Casey, National Journal, May 31, 2008
Winter Casey discusses lobbyists who work on behalf of interests such as gambling, alcohol, and tobacco, and he considers the suggestion that they are living on the "dark side" of American politics.
Part D. Media
42. The Revolution Will Not Be Published, Clay Shirky, Utne, July/August 2009
Clay Shirky assesses the revolution currently engulfing newspapers as we know them, and discusses how the competition between electronic and hard-copy news reporting will eventually play out. On the basis of what happened after Gutenberg’s printing press appeared on the scene in the fifteenth century, he expects that the transition from the current communications era to the next era is likely to be chaotic and unpredictable.
43. Build the Wall, David Simon, Columbia Journalism Review, July/August 2009
David Simon addresses the publishers of The New York Times and The Washington Post and urges them to take immediate steps to charge readers for on-line access to the news coverage that their organizations currently provide free-of-charge. Otherwise, Simon continues, written news coverage of the quality provided by The Times and The Post will be at risk of disappearing.
44. A See-Through Society, Micah L. Sifry, Columbia Journalism Review, January/February 2009
Micah Sifry makes the case that the American political system is entering "a new age of political transparency." He argues that the Web is changing the ways that Americans access and consume all sorts of information at all levels of government.UNIT 4: Products of American PoliticsUnit Overview
Part A. Domestic Policy
45. The Tax-Cut Con, Paul Krugman, The New York Times Magazine, September 14, 2003
Paul Krugman says that a tax-cut crusade has dominated the last quarter-century of American politics. He examines the motives of those supporting that crusade and critically assesses its effects on American government both now and in the future.
46. The Realities of Immigration, Linda Chavez, Commentary, July/August 2006
Linda Chavez tries to set the record straight about immigration and immigration reform, and uses historical, economic, sociological, and policy perspectives to do so.
47. The Health of Nations, Ezra Klein, The American Prospect, May 2007
Ezra Klein compares and contrasts health care delivery in Canada, France, Britain, Germany, and the U.S. Veterans Health Administration. He argues that the presence of the profit motive produces adverse consequences in the United States health care system.
48. The Real Infrastructure Crisis, Burt Solomon, National Journal, July 5, 2008
Burt Solomon discusses the state of the nation’s infrastructure and the American public’s interest in spending on roads, bridges, water supply facilities, wastewater plants, and the like.
49. Speculators, Politicians, and Financial Disasters, John Steele Gordon, Commentary, November 2008
John Steele Gordon surveys the history of government involvement in banking, credit markets, and loans, as well as the roles of politicians and speculators since the United States was founded.
50. A Flimsy Trust: Why Social Security Needs Some Major Repairs, Allan Sloan, The Washington Post, August 2, 2009
Allan Sloan calls attention to the problems facing the country’s biggest social program, the Social Security old-age pension program that began during the New Deal. Sloan understands that other pressing problems besetting the United States today will likely get—and may indeed deserve—more immediate attention, but he argues that Social Security problems will inevitably become greater in the next few years and that reforms are urgently needed.
Part B. National and Homeland Security
51. How Globalization Went Bad, Steven Weber et al., Foreign Policy, January/February 2007
The authors argue that the combination of globalization and the status of the United States as the world’s sole superpower has led to dangerous instability in the world.
52. Are Failed States a Threat to America?, Justin Logan and Christopher Preble, Reason Magazine,July 2006
The authors assert that American nation-building efforts have generally been unsuccessful and unwise, and provide evidence and arguments to support their case.
53. Worth Fighting—or Not, Burt Solomon, National Journal, June 13, 2009
Burt Solomon assesses the major wars in which the United States has participated and notes that both unintended and intended consequences must be taken into account.
54. The Abandonment of Democracy, Joshua Muravchik, Commentary, July/August 2009
Joshua Muravchik criticizes President Obama for downplaying considerations of human rights and freedom in his foreign policy moves during the early part of his presidency.
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