Political Institutions in the United States / Edition 1

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Political Institutions in the United States helps students to understand American politics by guiding them through the different institutions of American government. It covers the electoral and party systems, the separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government, and the division of powers between the federal government and the states. It also explores the internal organization of each institution.

This book provides readers with a solid understanding of the 'rules' of the American political game, the 'pitch' on which the game is played, and the basic characteristics and orientations of the 'teams' that are playing the game. It enables students to study contemporary American politics with greater understanding, and to see the differences between the government of the United States and the governments of other democracies.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199283835
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 2/16/2007
  • Series: Comparative Political Institutions Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,324,633
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard S. Katz is Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University.
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Table of Contents

Tables and Figures viii

Preface ix

1 The Foundations of American Government 1

Overview 1

American political development 3

The United States in context 24

Conclusion 31

2 Federalism American Style 35

Overview 35

The federal government vis-à-vis the states 36

Relations and diversity among the states 43

American federalism in perspective 53

3 Elections in the United States 58

Overview 58

National elections? 58

Voter turnout 64

Congressional elections 65

Presidential elections 72

Political finance in context 78

State and local elections 80

Free and fair elections? 81

4 The American Party System 88

Overview 88

The evolution of the American party system 90

The party coalitions 95

Party organization 101

Parties in American politics 108

5 The Chief Executive 113

Overview 113

Head of state 114

The president as political leader and head of government 115

The president, cabinet, and executive agencies 124

The presidential establishment 128

Presidential inexperience and transition 131

The vice-presidency 135

State governors 136

6 The Legislative Branch 141

Overview 141

The organization of Congress 142

Party unity in Congress 143

The roles and powers of congressional leaders 146

Committees 149

How a bill becomes a law 153

The budgetary process 159

Congressional staff 162

The state legislatures 163

7 The Bureaucracy 169

Overview 169

The civil service 171

Executive departments and agencies 173

Independent regulatory commissions 178

Public corporations and foundations 182

The Federal Reserve system 184

Political control of the bureaucracy 185

Deregulation 187

Reinventing government 190

8 The Judiciary 195

Overview 195

The federal courts 196

Courts and politics 199

The Supreme Court 201

Appointment and confirmation 203

The lower federal courts 207

Contemporary issues before the courts 209

State courts and state law 213

9 The American Secret 224

Overview 224

Successful in spite of itself? 228

Challenges of the twenty-first century 232

The United States in the world 241

Appendix: The Constitution of The United States 247

References 274

Index 277

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