Governing: An Introduction to Political Science

Governing: An Introduction to Political Science

by Austin Ranney

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In a comprehensive introduction to political processes and concepts, Ranney introduces the methods and consequences of political and government systems as they apply to the readers' own life experiences. A popular classic in the field, the Eighth Edition, provides accurate, current information on all major government and political developments ranging


In a comprehensive introduction to political processes and concepts, Ranney introduces the methods and consequences of political and government systems as they apply to the readers' own life experiences. A popular classic in the field, the Eighth Edition, provides accurate, current information on all major government and political developments ranging from local concerns to the global economy. Defines and illustrates politics, policies and government procedures with a clear connection to individual citizen's lives. Explores political psychology, socialization and culture, and examines modern political ideologies. Examines the international political economy and the different efforts for global peace. For individuals with an interest in the political policies, concepts and methods of the United States and other countries, as well as, a reference for those who need to refresh their knowledge of political systems.

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This book is a lineal descendant of two earlier books. The older ancestor is The Governing of Men, which was first published in 1958 and revised in 1966, 1971, and 1975. The younger is Governing: A Brief Introduction to Political Science, which was first published in 1971 and revised in 1975 and 1982. Governing began as a shortened and rearranged version of The Governing of Men, consisting of thirteen of its twenty-four chapters. This book's content and its structure now differ considerably from those of both of its ancestors, and with good reason.

When The Governing of Men was first published, the last century of the old millennium was only three-fifths done. This eighth edition of Governing is being published in the second year of the first century of the new millennium. Forty-two years (1958-2001) is a short step in the long march of human history, and yet since 1958 political events have moved at a dizzying pace and many old truths have been replaced with new understandings, questions, and doubts.

In 1958, the most prominent feature of the world's political landscape was the struggle of the two great "superpowers" and their ideologies and allies–the United States and democratic capitalism versus the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and authoritarian communism. In 1958, their struggle was called the "Cold War" because it had not yet exploded into thermonuclear World Wax III, though no one could be confident it never would.

In 2001, the USSR no longer exists; it was dissolved and replaced by fifteen independent republics in 1991. When the USSR disappeared,so did the Cold War, and World War III is a far more remote possibility today than it seemed in 1958. Moreover, as we detail in this edition, communist ideology and institutions, which once dominated nearly half the world, now survive in only a few places, notably the People's Republic of China, Cuba, and North Vietnam. Most of the nations in Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America have sought, with varying degrees of success, to replace their old systems of authoritarian rule by dictators and juntas with democratic systems based on free elections of accountable rulers. Not the least of these changes has come in South Africa, where in 1992 a multiracial convention drew up a new constitution that ended the longstanding system of apartheid with its repression of the black majority by the white minority, and a 1994 election open to all races elected Nelson Mandela, the great leader of the black population, president of the republic.

In the domestic politics of the United States, there have been nearly as many drastic political changes since 1958. In the 1960s in Vietnam the country fought, and ultimately lost, its most unpopular war in history. It also fought with much greater popular support and success against Iraq in the Persian Gulf War in 1990-1991, and, with its NATO allies, fought against Yugoslavia in Kosovo in 1999. One president, John R Kennedy, was assassinated, and attempts were made on the lives of two others, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. There have been two serious efforts to impeach presidents and remove them from office: In 1974 Richard Nixon resigned rather than face an impeachment trial; and in 1998-1999 Clinton was impeached by the House, and tried and acquitted by the Senate.

In the 1994 elections, the Republican party, led by Newt Gingrich, won control of both houses of Congress for the first time since 1954; they maintained their majorities in the elections of 1996 and 1998, though Gingrich resigned as Speaker of the House in 1999. Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996 became the first Democratic president to be reelected since Franklin Roosevelt in 1944. In 1981, Sandra Day O'Connor became the first woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court, and in 1993, Ruth Bader Ginsburg became the second. In 1997, Madeleine Albright became the first woman secretary of state. And in 1984, Geraldine Ferraro became the first woman ever to run for vice-president on a major party's national ticket.

In many ways, then, the world and the United States in 2001 are very different from what they were in 1958. Moreover, some of the ways in which political scientists interpret and explain them have changed as well. Consequently, I have made many changes in the discussion of the topics carried over from the earlier books, and I have added a number of new topics—notably a new chapter on international political economy. Those changes reflect not only the recent changes in political science but also the fact that studying how people are governed at the beginning of the new millennium takes place in an atmosphere very different from that of the period from 1958 to 2001.

Politics and government, to be sure, are among the oldest and most universal of human activities and institutions. Many of the greatest minds in history have pondered their nature and possibilities and have enriched us with their reflections. But today the study of governing has acquired a new and terrible urgency. By the calendar, it was not so long ago that most people, at least in the "developed" nations of the West and particularly in the United States, were confident that their political systems were the best yet devised. Perhaps they were not perfect, we felt, but they were perfectible, and, if used widely, they were fully capable of achieving humanity's highest goals of personal freedom, social justice, racial and sexual equality, and international peace. Moreover, we assumed that these political systems constituted proper models for new and backward nations, and when we spoke of "developing nations," we meant nations in the process of becoming more like ours.

Then, for a while, we were not so sure. Political conflict in the United States and in every other Western nation seemed to grow uglier every year. Some blacks said that our most cherished institutions—our courts, our leaders, indeed our whole political system—were nothing more than devices to perpetuate white racism. Some young people said that Middle America and its political institutions added up to an Establishment intent on forcing middle-aged, middle-class materialism and hypocrisy on a new generation seeking a better, more meaningful way of fife. Some persons of all ages and races insisted that the true result of our great material wealth is not a life of richness and satisfaction, but a world of foul air, stinking streams, dead lakes, urban blight, and noise. As if all this were not enough, over us all, black and white, men and women, young and middle-aged alike, hovered the shadow of The Bomb and thermonuclear World War III.

As we enter the new millennium, the big war still has not happened, although plenty of smaller wars are being fought in the Middle East, Indochina, Central America, the Balkans, and elsewhere. But one thing has not changed: Physical scientists and ecologists tell us that humanity now possesses the technical means either to destroy all life on earth or to build a new life of undreamed richness. How we can get people to make the right choices, they tell us, is a political problem. And so it is. For amid all the doubts and uncertainties about the fixture, one thing is clear: The most crucial choices humanity makes will emerge from political conflict and be implemented by government action.

Most U.S. colleges and universities, as well as an ever-growing number of schools in other nations, recognize the crucial role of politics for the human future by giving the study of politics and government a prominent place in their curricula. In most U.S. colleges and universities, the study of these matters is primarily, although not exclusively, the province of departments variously called "political science," or "government," or "politics:" Each such department perennially faces the pedagogical problem of introducing students to this vast, complex, and challenging subject. Two approaches are most commonly used. The first is the detailed study of U.S. government. The second, which may be called the "principles-of-political-science" approach, seeks to identify the properties universal to the governing processes in all human societies and to understand the nature and consequences of the major variations in those processes among different nations.

For a number of years I taught an introductory undergraduate course by using the second approach. My experiences alerted me to certain problems arising from its use, and this book, like its predecessors, represents my changing judgments about how best to deal with them.

During the 1950s and early 1960s, the main problem appeared to be one of giving some students some sense of the relevance of politics and government to their own personal lives, and for some students even now it remains a problem. Often students begin with the belief that politics is a dirty game played by other people and that government is something remote from the really important concerns of life. For them I have tried to take as my points of departure situations that all students have experienced, and I have tried to show, step by step, how these situations affect and are affected by what happens in such apparently remote places as Washington, London, Paris, Moscow, Beijing, Belgrade, and even in the students' own state capitols and city halls. I have drawn most of my illustrations from current and recent political conflicts in an effort to emphasize the concrete activities and interrelations of real human beings underlying such necessary but highly abstract terms as political culture, political socialization, separation of powers, political economy, and the like.

In the early 2000s, many beginning students of political science will have no doubt that the subject matter of the discipline is highly relevant to their lives. Some, indeed, will feel that what is irrelevant is the way political science treats its materials. "Drop all this scientific pseudo-objectivity," some will say, "and talk about the evils of racism, sexism, poverty, and war, about the power structure that sustains them, and about how we can destroy them:" However, an accurate understanding of how and why political systems work as they do and produce the policies they do is a necessary, although not sufficient, condition for any effective effort to change those policies and make a better world. In its present state, the contribution political science is best qualified to make is to provide such an understanding; and in a general way, that is what I have tried to do in this book.

There is one other respect in which the eighth edition of the book differs from the previous editions: I have come to agree with many of my students and colleagues that an introduction to political science should recognize that while the discipline does and should deal with factual descriptions of how modern governments make their policies and the kinds of policies they actually make, it also does and should consider the great clash of ideas about how governments should make policies and what kinds of policies they should make. Accordingly, I have continued Chapter 4 on Modern Political Ideologies and added Chapter 18 on International Political Economy.

Like the author of any other textbook, I am indebted to many colleagues and friends. I realize that whatever merit—but none of whatever errors—it may have owes much to their help, and I am grateful for the opportunity traditionally provided by the preface to make public my thanks to those to whom I am most deeply in debt. In addition to my general thanks to the authors of the many works cited in the text for the insights and information they have provided, I wish to make the following acknowledgments of help directly received and greatly valued: to my dear friend and generous colleague, Jack W Peltason, former President of the University of California; to those colleagues, present and, sadly, departed, who cheerfully read and perceptively criticized particular chapters in the early editions: Charles B. Hagan, Valentine Jobst III, Benjamin B. Johnston, Philip Monypenny, Charles M. Kneier, and Clyde F. Snider, all of the University of Illinois; Charles S. Hyneman of Indiana University; Gillian Dean of Vanderbilt University; Joseph G. LaPalombara of Yale University; Warren E. Miller of Arizona State University; James N. Murray of the University of Iowa; Richard L. Park of the University of Michigan; Fred R. von der Mehden of Rice University; Charles W Anderson, Bernard C. Cohen, Jack Dennis, Leon D. Epstein, David Fellman, and M. Crawford Young, all of the University of Wisconsin at Madison; Sigmund Neumann of Wesleyan University; and Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, again of Georgetown University and the American Enterprise Institute after a tour of duty as United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

I am also grateful to UC Data of the University of California and its former director, Raymond E. Wolfinger, for help with many kinds of data. I thank my Berkeley colleague Vinod K. Aggarwal for initiating me in the mysteries of international political economy. My cherished friend and mentor, the late Evron M. Kirkpatrick, Executive Director Emeritus of the American Political Science Association, guided me in the early stages of the creation of this book's first version and never gave up on my political education. Professor John W Smith of the Henry Ford Community College helped me to understand the special needs of today's students and offered many helpful suggestions for earlier editions; Stan Wakefield, Karen Horton, Dolores Mars, and Beth Gillett made Prentice Hall a welcoming and welcome new home for the book. Finally, my thanks go to Joseph A. Ranney of the law firm of DeWitt, Ross and Stevens, himself a scholar of legal history, who has given great help at various stages in the preparation of the book in all of its stages and versions.

Austin Ranney
Berkeley, California

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