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Contemporary Readings in American Government / Edition 1

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Overview

KEY BENEFIT Very readable and interesting, this book provides analyses of contemporary U.S. government and politics issues. One or two substantial essays are devoted to each of the major political topics of the day. It is the ideal supplement to any standard American Government book. KEY TOPICS The presidency, political parties, the media, congress, the courts, foreign policy. MARKET For readers who are interested in an analysis of the major political issues of the day and how these issues affect their lives.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780130406453
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall
  • Publication date: 12/28/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.01 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark J. Rozell is a Professor of Politics at The Catholic University of America. His previous books include Executive Privilege; Second Coming: The New Christian Right in Virginia Politics (co-written with Clyde Wilcox); Interest Groups in American Campaigns (also co-written with Clyde Wilcox); and The Bush Presidency (co-written with Ryan Barrileaux).

John Kenneth White is a Professor of Politics at The Catholic University of America. His latest book is entitled The Values Divide: American Politics and Culture in Transition. Among his previous books are The Politics of Ideas (co-edited with John C. Green); Political Parties in the Information Age (co-written with Daniel M. Shea); Still Seeing Red: How the Cold War Shapes the New American Politics; The New Politics of Old Values; and The Fractured Electorate: Political Parties and Social Change in Southern New England.

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Read an Excerpt

The purpose of this volume is to offer faculty and students a unique reader for introductory American government courses. There are many fine introductory-level readers providing substantial numbers of classical and contemporary essays. Typically these readers have as many as 50 or more articles. This volume is the outcome of our long-standing desire for a reader that provides one or two substantial essays on each of the major topics usually covered in an introduction to American government textbook. Since the standard textbooks nicely cover the foundational material, we like to have students also read contemporary essays to establish the relevance of text material to the current political world.

The readings we have chosen are highly contemporary—for example, articles that create a "buzz" among those in the academy—yet speak to a wider audience. As we begin a new century, our politics are in transition. A post-industrial/Information Age economy is taking shape, creating a new kind of politics and new means of linking voters to government. Old party coalitions have disappeared, and new ones are forming. Our institutions of government have had to adapt to new situations. Witness, for example, first the downsizing of a Cold War-based presidency into one focused on domestic issues, and then the sudden shift to combating international terrorism. Republican control of the Congress in the mid-late 1990s reshaped that institution and now a divided Congress seeks to maintain its authority during a period of crisis and pleas for a much strengthened presidency. The Supreme Court has had to cope with new cases that arise out of the Information Age—much in the same way that the Court at the turn of the 20th century had to deal with cases stemming from the new industrial era. The readings we have selected each speak to the dizzying array of change that has swept the American political landscape.

Several persons provided us with assistance for which we are grateful. We thank Steven Brust, La Toya Bennet, and Nina Weiss for their help with a number of library and administrative tasks. Beth Gillett Meja was the initial editor of this project who assisted in the formulation stage and Jennifer Bryant ably assumed editing duties as the project developed. Marty Sopher provided very helpful editing of the selections. Finally, we thank our colleagues in the Department of Politics at The Catholic University of America for providing a supportive environment in which to pursue our teaching and writing.

Mark J. Rozell John Kenneth White

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: What Makes the American Polity Unique? (John Kenneth White) (original article).

I. INSTITUTIONS.

2. Introduction.

3. The Presidency: John F. Harris, “The Last Chance Presidency,” Washington Post Magazine, September 10, 2000.

4. The Vice Presidency: Richard Neustadt, “Training Time: Does It Help to Have Been Vice President?”The New Republic, June 21, 1999.

5. Congress: Richard Fenno, selection from “An Institutional Perspective on the 104th Congress,”Brookings Institution Press.

6. The Courts: Barbara Perry and Henry J. Abraham, “A 'Representative Supreme Court?” Judicature, January-February 1998.

7. George W. Bush et al., Petitioners v. Albert Gore, Jr. et al. (excerpts), December 12, 2000.

II. POLITICAL PARTIES AND INTEREST GROUPS.

8. Introduction.

9. Parties: John Kenneth White “The Republican Party and the New Absolutism” (original article).

10. Clyde Wilcox, “Campaign Finance After the 2000 Elections: A New Regime?” (original article).

11. Paul S. Herrnson, “Two Party Dominance and Minor Party Forays in American Politics” (from Herrnson and John C. Green, eds., Multiparty Politics in America Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield, 1997).

12. Interest groups. Jeffrey M. Berry, “A Look at Liberalism's Transformation: The Rise of Powerful and Well-Financed Citizen Lobbies,”Washington Post Outlook, July 11, 1999, B3.

III. MEDIA AND PUBLIC OPINION.

13. Introduction.

14. The Media: John Maltese, “The Media: The New Media and the Lure of the Clinton Scandal,” (from Rozell and Wilcox's The Clinton Scandal and the Future of American Government: Georgetown University Press, 2000).

15. Herbert J. Gans, “What Can Journalists Actually Do for American Democracy” (from Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics Fall 1998.

16. Public Opinion: Michael Schudson, “America's Ignorant Voters,”Wilson Quarterly, Spring 2000.

IV. DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN POLICY ISSUES.

17. Introduction.

18. Federalism: President Bill Clinton speech on federalism at Mont Tremblant, Canada. October 8, 1999.

19. Foreign Policy: George W. Bush foreign policy agenda speech at Reagan Library, November 19, 1999.

20. Tax Policy: Richard Armey, “After Years of Abuse, Americans Deserve a Flat-Tax Break Today,”Insight on the News, August 17, 1998.

21. William G. Gale, “Simple, Efficient, Fair. Or Is It?”Brookings Review, Summer 1998.

22. Education: Barbara Minor, “Why I Don't Vouch for Vouchers,”Educational Leadership, October 1998.

23. Clint Bolick, “Blocking the Exits,”Policy Review, May/June 1998.

24. Regulating Tobacco: Steven F. Goldstone, “The Failure of the Tobacco Legislation,”Vital Speeches of the Day, October 1, 1998.

25. “Fact Sheet”: Smoking and Statement of John R. Garrison (www.lungusa.org).

V. CULTURE AND POLITICS.

26. Introduction.

27. John C. Green, “Culture Clash: Social Issues in the 2000 Presidential Vote” (original essay).

28. James Davidson Hunter, “New Lines of Conflict,” from Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America, Perseus Books, 1991.

29. Mark J. Rozell, “The Two Sides of the Clinton Legacy” (original essay).

30. Mary Ann Glendon, “Refining the Rhetoric of Rights,” from Rights Talk: The Impoverishment of Political Discourse. Simon & Schuster, 1991.

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Preface

The purpose of this volume is to offer faculty and students a unique reader for introductory American government courses. There are many fine introductory-level readers providing substantial numbers of classical and contemporary essays. Typically these readers have as many as 50 or more articles. This volume is the outcome of our long-standing desire for a reader that provides one or two substantial essays on each of the major topics usually covered in an introduction to American government textbook. Since the standard textbooks nicely cover the foundational material, we like to have students also read contemporary essays to establish the relevance of text material to the current political world.

The readings we have chosen are highly contemporary—for example, articles that create a "buzz" among those in the academy—yet speak to a wider audience. As we begin a new century, our politics are in transition. A post-industrial/Information Age economy is taking shape, creating a new kind of politics and new means of linking voters to government. Old party coalitions have disappeared, and new ones are forming. Our institutions of government have had to adapt to new situations. Witness, for example, first the downsizing of a Cold War-based presidency into one focused on domestic issues, and then the sudden shift to combating international terrorism. Republican control of the Congress in the mid-late 1990s reshaped that institution and now a divided Congress seeks to maintain its authority during a period of crisis and pleas for a much strengthened presidency. The Supreme Court has had to cope with new cases that arise out of the Information Age—much in the same way that the Court at the turn of the 20th century had to deal with cases stemming from the new industrial era. The readings we have selected each speak to the dizzying array of change that has swept the American political landscape.

Several persons provided us with assistance for which we are grateful. We thank Steven Brust, La Toya Bennet, and Nina Weiss for their help with a number of library and administrative tasks. Beth Gillett Meja was the initial editor of this project who assisted in the formulation stage and Jennifer Bryant ably assumed editing duties as the project developed. Marty Sopher provided very helpful editing of the selections. Finally, we thank our colleagues in the Department of Politics at The Catholic University of America for providing a supportive environment in which to pursue our teaching and writing.

Mark J. Rozell John Kenneth White

Read More Show Less

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