Understanding American Politics

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Overview

Too often the politics of the United States is taught in a way that ignores the rest of the world. Understanding American Politics takes a different approach than most standard introductory textbooks by situating the United States in a comparative context.

The text weaves its analysis around the concept of American exceptionalism—not American superiority, but American difference—a concept that is at least as old as Tocqueville's monumental study of American democracy. Brooks believes that it is only when we take seriously the values that make America exceptional that we can truly understand politics and governance in the United States.

Offering up-to-date coverage of the institutions and processes of American politics (including the 2008 election), Brooks helps students consider how the rest of the world might view and appreciate Americans, their political systems, and their values.

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What People Are Saying

Guy Peters

This volume locates the American political system in a comparative context, allowing us to better understand its strengths and weaknesses. It should be required reading for anyone attempting to come to grips with American exceptionalism, or wanting a basic understanding of American politics.

Guy Peters, University of Pittsburgh

Tomasz Zyro

This is a brilliant and contemporary take on de Tocqueville's understanding of American democracy. As a political scientist, Brooks is masterful, but he also excels in painting a broad historical canvas of American history, and enlivening the data and analysis with a narrative panache. I strongly recommend this book to students and instructors of American politics, as well as those with an interest in comparative politics.

Tomasz Zyro, University of Warsaw

Guy Peters

This volume locates the American political system in a comparative context, allowing us to better understand its strengths and weaknesses. It should be required reading for anyone attempting to come to grips with American exceptionalism, or wanting a basic understanding of American politics.

Tomasz Zyro

This is a brilliant and contemporary take on de Tocqueville's understanding of American democracy. As a political scientist, Brooks is masterful, but he also excels in painting a broad historical canvas of American history, and enlivening the data and analysis with a narrative panache. I strongly recommend this book to students and instructors of American politics, as well as those with an interest in comparative politics.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802096715
  • Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Higher Education Division
  • Publication date: 4/28/2009
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Pages: 407
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Brooks is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Windsor and also teaches at the University of Michigan.
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Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables

Preface

Map of the United States

Part I: Introduction

1. American Exceptionalism

Part II: Ideas and Behavior

2. Political Culture

3. Religion and Politics

4. A Values Gap?

Part III: Structures of Government

5. The Constitution

6. Institutions of Government

Part IV: Participation and Power

7. Civic Participation

8. Equality

9. Parties and Elections

10. Who Rules America?

Part V: Foreign Policy

11. America in the World

Appendices:

1. The Declaration of Independece

2. Federalist Papers Nos. 10 and 51

3. The Constitution of the United States

4. Presidents of the United States

5. Congressional Caucuses and Committees

Selected Bibliography

Index

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