Understanding American Politics and Government

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Overview

In an election year that has defied expectations, scuttled predictions, and demonstrated that “politics as usual” is often anything but, a distinctive new textbook publishes that helps students make sense of our politics and government.

This engaging new book’s unique approach emphasizes and explores causal questions in American politics. It gives student critical thinking tools–tools pulled directly from a social scientist’s playbook–to start answering those questions, see past today’s headlines, and understand why things really happen in our political world.

In a clear, straightforward style brimming with rich, real world examples, this exciting new text not only covers the fundamentals of American government and politics in a highly accessible, engaging fashion, it arms readers with the tools to separate political fact from fiction. Using this book, readers will develop the skills to see through the simplistic sound bites and partisan assertions they’re subjected to by the pundits and politicians.

Students reading this text will be fitted with armor against the partisan bickering and hyperbolic media coverage that causes so many of them to become cynical about politics. They will come away from the text not only excited by political questions, but with the means to explore possible answers as more thoughtful, critical, and empowered citizens.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780321169655
  • Publisher: Longman
  • Publication date: 1/6/2009
  • Series: MyPoliSciLab Series
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Pages: 832
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

John J. Coleman – The University of Wisconsin, Madison

John J. Coleman is Chair of the political science department at The University of Wisconsin at Madison. His teaching and research interests center on political party coalitions, factions, and organizations, and American political development. Professor Coleman is the author of Party Decline in America: Policy, Politics, and the Fiscal State (Princeton University Press, 1996) and numerous articles on political parties, elections, public knowledge, Congress and the presidency, and campaign finance. His current research includes projects on campaign spending, party accountability in elections, and the relationship between income distribution and voter turnout.

Kenneth M Goldstein – The University of Wisconsin, Madison

Ken Goldstein is a Professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Director of the University of Wisconsin Advertising Project. He is the author of Interest Groups, Lobbying, and Participation in America (Cambridge University Press, 1999) and Campaign Advertising and American Democracy (Temple University Press, 2007) as well as over 30 journal articles and book chapters on political communication, voter turnout, campaign finance, survey methodology, Israeli politics, presidential elections, and news coverage of health issues. Professor Goldstein is currently a consultant for the ABC News elections unit and a member of their election night decision team. He has worked on network election night coverage in every U.S. federal election since 1988.

William Howell – The Harris School, The University of Chicago

William Howell is an Associate Professor at the Harris School of The University of Chicago. Professor Howell has written widely on separation-of-powers issues and American political institutions, especially the presidency. Howell is the co-author (with Jon Pevehouse) of While Dangers Gather: Congressional Checks on Presidential War Powers (Princeton University Press, 2007); author of Power without Persuasion: The Politics of Direct Presidential Action (Princeton University Press, 2003); co-author (with Paul Peterson) of The Education Gap: Vouchers and Urban Schools (Brookings Institution Press, 2002); and editor of Besieged: School Boards and the Future of Education Politics (Brookings Institution Press, 2005). His research also has appeared in numerous professional journals and edited volumes. His current research examines the impact of war on presidential policymaking.

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Table of Contents

Brief Table of Contents:

1 Thinking About American Politics

2 Political Culture

3 The Constitution

4 Federalism

5 Civil Liberties

6 Civil Rights

7 Public Opinion

8 Political Participation

9 Voting, Elections, and Campaigns

10 Media and Politics

11 Political Parties

12 Interest Groups

13 Congress

14 Presidency

15 The Federal Court System

16 The Bureaucracy

17 Economic and Social Policy

18 Foreign Policy

19 State and Local Governments

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