Approach Democracyby Larry Berman
This highly readable book introduces the basics of American government, structured around democracy as an ideal toward which we continually strive. Thematically organized and comprehensive, it aims to make readers into good citizens, armed with the information they will need to follow politics and make educated choices about leaders, policies, and actions. Includes cases and real-world examples to reflect current trends and events. Provides "Approaching Democracy in the 21st Century" boxes that explore how technology has enabled citizens to become more directly involved in the political process. Offers new case studies such as "The Impeachment of Bill Clinton," "The Presidential Primary Season in 2000," and "AOL-Time-Warner Merger." Covers new global trends and developments such as "Japan's Fading Equality Tradition." For anyone interested in learning more about our country's political system and the history of democracy in general.
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Read an Excerpt
Welcome to the third edition of Approaching Democracy! From that moment five years ago when the first edition went to press, the "professor" in each of us began mentally updating and modifying the original theme of the textbook. Our research assistants were the hundreds of students enrolled in our classes as well as those who e-mailed or contacted us through our home page. We have learned much from our undergraduate readers throughout the country. From both of us we extend a heartfelt thank you!
WHY APPROACHING DEMOCRACY
The third edition of Approaching Democracy remains an exploration of the American experiment in self-governing. A great deal has happened in American politics over the last two years; we have tried to capture those changes not only factually, but thematically as well.
Our title and theme come from Vaclav Havel, a former dissident Czechoslovakian playwright once imprisoned by his country's communist government and later elected its president. Addressing a joint session of the U.S. Congress on February 21,1990, Havel noted that with the collapse of the Soviet Union, millions of people from Eastern Europe were involved in a historically irreversible process, beginning their quest for freedom and democracy. And it was the United States of America that represented the model, the way to democracy and independence, for these newly freed peoples. But Havel put his own spin on the notion of American democracy as a model. "As long as people are people," Havel explained, "democracy, in the full sense of the word, will always be no more than an ideal. In this sense, you too are merely approachingdemocracy. But you have one great advantage: You have been approaching democracy uninterruptedly for more than two hundred years, and your journey toward the horizon has never been disrupted by a totalitarian system."
The United States has been endeavoring to approach democracy for over two hundred years. In spite of its astonishing diversity and the consequent potential for hostility and violence, the United States has moved closer to the democratic ideal than any other country. But the process of approaching democracy is a continual one, and the debate about how to achieve democratic aspirations drives our politics. In other words, American democracy remains very much a work in progress.
We believe the world in which we live has validated this democratic experiment in self-government. The number of democracies worldwide increased from a few dozen in the 1950s to over 120 by the end of 2000. Clearly, we live in an age of democratic aspiration, and for many who seek to achieve democracy, the United States represents a model of the democratic process. The triumph of democratic ideas in Eastern Europe was inspired by America's example of freedom and democracy. We are the laboratory for those who have broken from their totalitarian past and for those who dream of doing so. Various chapters in this book examine the American approach to democracy-sorting out the ideals, studying the institutions, processes, and policies, and analyzing the dilemmas and paradoxes of freedom.
Part I presents the foundations of American government. Our theme is introduced in Chapter 1, where we identify the goals and elements that can be used to evaluate America's approach to democracy. We introduce a few widely accepted "elements of democracy" that serve as markers to identify progress toward the democratic ideals we identified earlier.
Part II explores the institutions of American democracy. It describes the various governmental arenasthe judiciary, the Congress, the executive branch, and the bureaucracywhere the struggle over democratic ideals is played out.
Part III focuses on the processes of American government and democracy. Through the avenues of public opinion, political parties, elections, interest groups, and the media, citizens can access and direct their government to achieve their desired goals.
Part IV provides a detailed analysis of various issues of civil rights and liberties. They include the most fundamental rights of Americans, such as freedom of speech and religion, and are considered by many to be the foundation of our democracy.
Part V addresses the policy-making process and its consequences. How well national policy makers respond to the challenges of policy makingand how democratic the policies areremain crucial questions as American government continues the process of approaching democracy.
We hope readers will take advantage of the unique features of this book, which are designed to illustrate our theme of approaching democracy.
Opening Case Studies open each chapter with a full-length discussion that integrates our theme and lays the groundwork for the material that follows. We have taken special care in selecting cases that provide anchors for the material covered in each chapter. Topics like the life and politics of Cesar Chavez and the Supreme Court's review of the Miranda decision provide an opportunity for students to examine political events within the context of approaching democracy.
Approaching Democracy concludes each chapter with a section that ties the chapter together with the theme and a question that allows students to examine whether we are approaching or receding from the democratic ideal. The question is stated at the end of the chapter; one possible answer appears at the end of the book. Questions ask students to consider issues like the Supreme Court's overturning of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the media's close ties with big business, and Congress's rejection of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
The Road to Democracy examines the approach to democracy in a historical fashion. Here we study points in the development of the American political system in which a fork in the road was faced and a choice was made. The riots at the Democratic convention in Chicago in 1968 and the Supreme Court's decision in the Carolene Products cases in 1938, which led to the modern Civil Rights and Liberties protection era, are two examples of these critical points in American political development.
The World Approaches Democracy examines the approach to democracy from a comparative perspective by studying changes in the governmental systems around the world. Features of the American political system like the Constitution, judicial independence, and the extent of press freedom are compared with those of other countries, while the rise of democracy in Taiwan and the changing political advertising efforts in Mexico are compared to this country.
Democracy in the 21st Century examines how the constantly changing technological and political innovations have opened upand sometimes even threatenedthe process of American government to student and citizen involvement. These boxes can be studied further through our award-winning Website.
Struggle for Equality Boxes examine the difficulties that many groups have endured in their effort to be included in the American democratic experiment. Subjects explored include Thurgood Marshall's contribution to the civil rights movement and the postal service's excellent record in promoting diversity.
Each chapter contains a chapter outline, a running glossary in the margin, key terms listed at the end of the chapter, a summary, and a list of suggested readings.
Although an Introduction to American Government course is not a course on current events, students are always interested in what is going on around them. Throughout the text, we use examples that are at the forefront of the news so that students have background information to draw from. Examples in the text put today's headlines into meaningful context, from campaign finance reform to the presidential election of 2000.
SUPPLEMENTS AVAILABLE FOR THE INSTRUCTOR
- Companion Website Course Monitor (www.prenhall.com/berman). Containing a wealth of additional resources, this free Website includes chapter summaries, practice tests, and a myriad of activities to increase students' understanding of the material and directs them to additional Web links. The Course Management functions allow instructors to send e-mall to one student or the whole class, monitor grades, organize and post a syllabus, and manage many other classroom tasks. In addition, the page offers interactive practice tests, writing instruction, and career information.
- Instructor's Manual (0-13-088834-6). For each chapter, a summary, review of concepts, lecture suggestions, topic outlines, and additional resource materialincluding a guide to media resourcesare provided.
- Test Item File (0-13-088835-4). Thoroughly reviewed and revised to ensure the highest level of quality and accuracy, this file offers over 1800 questions in multiple choice, true/false, and essay format, with page references to the text.
- Prentice Hall Custom Test. A computerized test bank contains the items from the Test Item File. The program allows full editing of questions and the addition of instructor-generated items. Available in Windows, DOS, and Macintosh versions.
- Telephone Test Preparation Service. With one call to our toll-free 800 number, you can have Prentice Hall prepare tests with up to 200 questions chosen from the Test Item File. Within 48 hours of your request, you will receive a personalized exam with answer key.
- American Government Transparencies, Series V. This set of 75 to 100 four-color transparency acetates reproduces illustrations, charts, and maps from the text as well as from additional sources. An Instructor's Guide is also available.
- Prentice Hall Custom VideoHow a Bill Becomes a Law: The Story (0-13-032676-3). Students can explore the step by step process of how a bill becomes a law through this 25-minute case study of an environmental bill from Massachusetts. From a grassroots citizen's movement all the way to Capitol Hill, each step of the process is illustrated through an engaging story 4d graphics that summarize key points. Available to instructors free of charge. See your local representative for details.
- Strategies for Teaching American Government: A Guide for the New Instructor (0-13-339003-9). This unique guide offers a wealth of practical advice and information to help new instructors face the challenges of teaching American Government.
Supplements Available for the Student
- Companion Website (wwwprenhall.com/berman). Students can now take full advantage of the World Wide Web to enrich their study of American Government through the Approaching Democracy Website. This award-winning site, designed and updated by Larry Berman, has been used by thousands of students across the country. It features interactive practice tests, chapter objectives and overviews, additional Internet exercises, video and audio links, and much more! Students can also tap into information on the 2000 presidential election and current news articles.
- Study Guide (0-13-088836-2). Includes chapter outlines, study notes, a glossary, and practice tests designed to reinforce information in the text and help students develop a greater understanding of American government and politics.
- The Write Stuff. Writing as a Performing and Political Art, Second Edition (0-13-364746-3). Written by Thomas E. Cronin, this brief, humorous booklet provides ideas and suggestions on writing in political science. It is available free to students using Approacbing Democracy, Third Edition.
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