The Politics of Power: A Critical Introduction to American Government / Edition 6

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A book with a point of view, The Politics of Power is a critical introduction to American Government that highlights the ongoing tension between capitalism and democracy.

Are you tired of run-of-the-mill textbooks that try to include everything and avoid offending anyone" This book takes a different approach: The Politics of Power offers something to think about and argue with, rather than just facts to memorize.

The Politics of Power includes features to help you succeed in your American government course:

"What Do You Think"" boxes appear throughout each chapter, drawing out a puzzle or controversy in American politics and asking you to develop your own arguments.

Critical-thinking questions and summaries at the end of each chapter offer further opportunities for review and inquiry.

A glossary highlights key terms and concepts.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"I would highly recommend it [The Politics of Power] to any colleague who is frustrated with the dry, purportedly unbiased traditional American Government textbook."

"I like the fact that it is a very student-friendly text. It addresses issues in a way that appeals to students. It is very well written and organized; it flows logically around its central theme—the inequality of political and economic power; and it gives students a non-conventional view of American politics that addresses issues of power and participation."

"I can think of nothing that is covered in the vast majority of introductory textbooks that is not covered as well, if not better, in the table of contents of this book. I continue to be impressed by the effective integration of American Government politics and the economy. I was particularly impressed with the way in which the authors dealt with the issues of foreign policy and corporate capitalism within the context of globalization."

"The Politics of Power systematically dissects the major institutions and power relationships of the American political system. The authors' critique is thorough and insightful. However, students are not led to cynicism and despair; the authors' purpose is to incite students to political activity and to invite them to invent new policy alternatives and approaches."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393933253
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/24/2010
  • Edition description: Sixth Edition
  • Edition number: 6
  • Pages: 392
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Ira Katznelson

Ira Katznelson is Columbia University's Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History. Having served as president of the American Political Science Association, he is a member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. He is also the author of Fear Itself and When Affirmative Action Was White.

Mark Kesselman is professor emeritus of political science at Columbia University and co-editor of the International Political Science Review. He is co-author and co-editor of European Politics in Transition and editor of The Politics of Globalization.

Alan Draper is a professor of government at St. Lawrence University. He is the author of Conflict of Interests: Organized Labor and the Civil Rights Movement, 1955–1967 and co-author of The Good Society: An Introduction to Comparative Politics.

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Table of Contents

List of What Do You Think" Boxes xiii

Preface xv

Chapter 1 Democracy's Challenge 1

Introduction 1

Constitutional Democracy and Capitalism 6

Standards of Democracy 11

Political Change 15

Conclusion 20

Chapter Summary 21

Critical Thinking Questions 22

Suggested Readings 23

Part I American Political Economy 25

Chapter 2 Capitalism and Democracy 28

Introduction 28

The Dilemmas of Markets 29

The System of Corporate Capitalism 33

The Mobilization of Bias 37

The Changing Landscape of American Capitalism 39

Who Owns America's Private Government" 43

The Changing Structure of Employment 45

America's Extreme Market Capitalism 50

Capitalist Instability and Crisis 54

Conclusion 59

Chapter Summary 60

Critical Thinking Questions 62

Suggested Readings 63

Chapter 3 The History of American Political Economy 64

Introduction 64

Competitive Capitalism 67

The Rise of Corporate Capitalism 69

A New Deal 71

The Rise and Fall of the Golden Age 74

The Rise of Extreme Market Capitalism, 1980-2008 76

The Crisis of Extreme Market Capitalism 82

A New Foundation 84

Conclusion 88

Chapter Summary 89

Critical Thinking Questions 91

Suggested Readings 91

Part II Political Participation 93

Chapter 4 Political Parties, Elections, and Public Opinion 95

Introduction 95

The Origins of the Two-Party System 96

American Parties in Comparative Perspective 97

Critical Elections and Party Decay 99

Turnout and American Voters 104

Money and Elections 106

The Rise and Fall of the New Deal and Reagan Coalitions 110

The 2008 Presidential Election and the Challenge to Republican Dominance 115

Polarization and American Politics 121

The New Media and Public Opinion 125

Conclusion 128

Chapter Summary 129

Critical Thinking Questions 132

Suggested Readings 133

Chapter 5 Interest Groups and Social Movements 134

Introduction 134

Interest Groups 138

David and Goliath 141

The Changing Quality of Membership 144

E-Media, Interest Groups, and Political Participation 146

A Comparative Perspective on American Interest Groups 148

Social Movements 150

Conclusion 167

Chapter Summary 167

Critical Thinking Questions 169

Suggested Readings 169

Part III Political Institutions 171

Chapter 6 The Presidency 175

Introduction 175

The Historical Presidency 178

The Imperial President 181

The Perils of Presidential Power 186

Directing the Executive 192

The Exercise of Presidential Power 198

Conclusion 205

Chapter Summary 206

Critical Thinking Questions 209

Suggested Readings 209

Chapter 7 The Congress 210

Introduction 210

The Origin of Two Legislative Chambers 213

Congress: Past and Present 216

Congressional Careers and the Electoral Connection 220

Members of Congress 227

Realignment and Polarization 229

The Legislative Process 233

Seeking Influence 239

Conclusion 242

Chapter Summary 243

Critical Thinking Questions 245

Suggested Readings 245

Chapter 8 The Courts 246

Introduction 246

A Dual Court System 250

The Federal Court System 253

The Supreme Court 259

The Modern Court: From Warren to Roberts 269

Politics by Lawsuit 278

The Courts in Comparative Perspective: Incarceration Nation 280

Conclusion 282

Chapter Summary 283

Critical Thinking Questions 285

Suggested Readings 286

Part IV Public Policy 287

Chapter 9 Economic Policy 289

Introduction 289

The Government and the Economy 289

Fiscal Policy 294

Taxes 296

Spending 300

Monetary Policy 303

Regulation 309

Conclusion 314

Chapter Summary 316

Critical Thinking Questions 317

Suggested Readings 318

Chapter 10 Social Policy 319

Introduction 319

The Historical Welfare State 323

The New Deal and Beyond 325

The New Poverty 330

The Great Society Program 332

From Reagan to Clinton 336

From Bush to Obama 339

Conclusion 345

Chapter Summary 347

Critical Thinking Questions 349

Suggested Readings 349

Chapter 11 Foreign Policy 350

Introduction 350

Making Foreign Policy 352

American Foreign Policy before World War II 353

American Foreign Policy after World War II 355

A New Era of Globalization" 361

The Military Establishment 365

The Shift to Unilateralism 368

The Obama Presidency: Continuity or Change" 373

Declining Hegemony" 374

Conclusion 377

Chapter Summary 378

Critical Thinking Questions 381

Suggested Readings 381

Chapter 12 Democracy's Character and Future 382

Introduction 382

Capitalism, and Democracy Revisited 384

American Democracy in Theory and Practice 388

Conclusion 391

Endnotes E-1

Glossary G-1

Credits C-1

Index I-1

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