Analyzing American Democracy : Politics and Political Science book cover
3rd Edition

Analyzing American Democracy
Politics and Political Science

ISBN 9781138345195
Published January 9, 2019 by Routledge
746 Pages 160 Color Illustrations

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Book Description

This is an introductory American politics text covering the constitutional framework of American government, political behavior and informal institutions, the formal institutions of American government, and a concluding chapter on public policy. Every chapter highlights the most current thinking in political science research and discusses related public policy.

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 by reflecting the theoretical developments and types of empirical inquiry conducted by researchers.

New to the Third Edition: 

  • 2016 and 2018 election updates and analysis of their political and policy impact
  • Social media’s growing influence on politics
  • The impact of the alt-right and rising populism on elections and policy
  • New trends in public opinion
  • Weakening of the Voting Rights Act
  • Campaign finance upheaval
  • The changing congressional landscape
  • Updated tables, figures, and photos present the empirical details of American politics, helping students gain quantitative literacy
  • Landmark court cases, now highlighted and linked to key concepts
  • Refreshed feature boxes reinforce the book’s dedication to helping students understand the scientific approach to politics, incorporating intriguing new topics including genetics and public opinion, the biology of political participation, and evolution and the bureaucracy

Table of Contents


1. The Basics of Democracy


2. The American Constitution

3. Federalism

4. Civil Liberties

5. Civil Rights


6. Interest Groups

7. Political Parties

8. The Mass Media and Politics

9. Public Opinion and Political Socialization

10. Elections

11. Political Participation and Voting Behavior


12. Congress

13. The Presidency

14. The Bureaucracy

15. The Federal Judiciary


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



Cases Index

Name Index

Subject Index

View More



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.


Praise for Analyzing American Democracy:

The new edition of Bond and Smith’s 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, Bond and Smith’s 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

Jon Bond and Kevin Smith’s 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. Bond and Smith 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

Nobody does a better job than Bond and Smith 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. Bond and Smith have organized 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 Indianapolis