Following one of the most contentious and truth-challenged presidential administrations and elections in U.S. history, there has never been a greater need for an American government text like this--evidence-based, critically thoughtful, and contemporary in tone and touch. This text teaches students to think analytically by presenting current political science theories and research in answering the engaging, big questions facing American politics today. It serves as an introduction to the discipline—covering the Constitution, political behavior, formal and informal institutions, and public policy--by reflecting the theoretical developments and types of empirical inquiry conducted by researchers. For introductory courses in American government, this text covers theory and methods as well.
New to the Fourth Edition
- Provides 2020 election data updates throughout and examines policy implications of the ensuing changes in election laws across the country.
- Recaps controversial Trump administration policies and looks into the Biden administration’s early days.
- Offers strategic updates on the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crisis both in terms of questions of federalism as well as public policy.
- Considers the rise of new interest groups and social movements as well as the reckoning with racial injustice.
- Examines contemporary questions of social justice in light of civil rights and liberties as well as in terms of policy.
- Covers the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, the battle to confirm her replacement, the addition of Justice Coney Barrett, and the policy implications of the shift in the ideological balance of the Court.
- For the fourth edition, a new co-author comes to the book with award-winning experience in diversity and teacher education as well as research interests in the presidency, women and politics, and foreign policy.
Table of Contents
1. The Basics of Democracy
PART I: THE CONSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK
2. The American Constitution
4. Civil Liberties
5. Civil Rights
PART II: CONNECTING CITIZENS TO GOVERNMENT
6. Interest Groups
7. Political Parties
8. The Mass Media and Politics
9. Public Opinion and Political Socialization
11. Political Participation and Voting Behavior
PART III: OFFICIAL DECISION MAKING
13. The Presidency
14. The Bureaucracy
15. The Federal Judiciary
PART IV: CONCLUSION
16. Core Democratic Principles and Public Policy
Appendix A. Declaration of Independence
Appendix B. The Articles of Confederation
Appendix C. The Constitution of the United States
Appendix D. Federalist Papers Number 10
Federalist Papers Number 51
Appendix E. Partisan Control of the Presidency, Congress, and the Supreme
Jon R. Bond received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and is currently a professor of political science at Texas A&M University. His research analyzes the policy making process and the operation of democracy in American politics. Specifically, he is interested in the interactions of American political institutions, especially Congress and the presidency, and how electoral motivations affect democratic responsiveness in American political institutions. He has published more than three-dozen chapters and journal articles on presidential-congressional relations, congressional elections, and public policy. He served as president of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society from 2006–2008, and president of the Southern Political Science Association, the oldest regional political science association from 2006–2007.
Kevin B. Smith received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and is currently a professor of political science at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, where he is also co-director of the UNL Political Science Physiology Lab. His primary research focus is on the biology of political attitudes and behavior. Smith is the recipient of his university’s College of Arts & Sciences Outstanding Research and Creative Achievement Award.
Lydia M. Andrade received her Ph.D. from Texas A&M University and is Interim Dean of the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences as well as a professor of political science at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, TX. She is an award-winning teacher and author of a variety of teaching and learning guides including supplements for this text. She participates regularly in summer workshops with The College Board and is known for her work on the presidency, foreign policy, women and politics, and teacher diversity.
Praise for Analyzing American Democracy
The new edition of this revered text threads the needle by adding several exciting touches—most notably, the thoroughly updated content and thematically integrated boxes—without sacrificing the features that so many devoted instructors have long loved—most notably, the unapologetically scientific approach and the vivid, deeply engaging writing style.
--John Hibbing, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
From its focus on the principles of democracy to the actual practice of democracy in the United States, this introductory text provides university students with the necessary tools to critically analyze American politics. The authors effectively apply political science research in a way that is fresh and accessible to students and do so in a way that will make students think well beyond their preconceptions about politics. The chapter on elections is the most thorough and engaging treatment of presidential elections you will find in an introductory American politics textbook.
--Jeffrey S. Peake, Clemson University
Analyzing American Democracy provides the most comprehensive and nuanced treatment of American political institutions and behavior to date. By drawing upon the most recent political science literature, the text encourages students to see American politics through a theoretical lens, and promotes a more generalized understanding of political concepts that transcend time and space. With stimulating real-world examples of the trade-offs, paradoxes, and competing ethical perspectives that are negotiated in a modern representative democracy, students become conversant and critically engaged in the challenges confronting the country, and thus, become better citizens.
--Sarah A. Fulton, Texas A&M University
Analyzing American Democracy is one of the best American government books on the market. Not only is it comprehensive in covering material across the vast spectrum of American politics, but it also has an interesting point of view: the idea that our expectations of government and its performance may not be entirely realistic. The authors have written a book that is accessible to undergraduate students, yet provides sufficient detail for professors to examine the nuances of American politics today.
--Richard W. Waterman, University of Kentucky
No text does a better job of integrating modern political science with a thoroughly up-to-date introduction to American government. Most of my students have already been exposed to an AP-style high school American government survey, and a text that is clearly more science than civics is exactly what they need at the college level. On top of that the writing has the wit, snap, and drive that keeps students reading and thinking in spite of themselves.
--John R. Alford, Rice University
Teaching a broad survey course that covers the breadth of American politics can be a daunting task for both instructors and students. This text organizes what could be an overwhelming amount of information into a logical structure coupled with a straightforward, journalistic writing style that incorporates cutting-edge political science research with key political concepts. The result is a textbook that is truly an introduction to political science, not just civics or popular politics.
--Amanda Friesen, Indiana University–Purdue University at Indianapolis