The 25 Issues that Shape American Politics : Debates, Differences, and Divisions book cover
1st Edition

The 25 Issues that Shape American Politics
Debates, Differences, and Divisions

ISBN 9781138654754
Published October 2, 2017 by Routledge
420 Pages

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Book Description

This book is organized to examine the major subjects taught in American politics through the lens of twenty-five hot button issues affecting American politics and policy today. These key issues reflect the ideas, principles, concerns, fears, morals, and hopes of the American people. The authors argue that these issues are the heart and soul of the American political system, serving as the basis for the disagreements that drive citizens, public servants, and elected officials into action.

Features of this Innovative Text

  • Examines 25 issues in light of the 2016 presidential election and beyond.
  • Up-to-date chapters reflect important developments in the arenas of money and politics, immigration, health care, race relations and civil rights, gun control, and gay rights in particular.
  • Includes international coverage with recent and ongoing events surrounding Iran, Syria, Israel and Palestine, and China.
  • A chapter on Russia puts recent developments in Syria, Ukraine, Crimea, and the "near abroad" in context with US foreign policy.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 – Terrorism and Homeland Security

Chapter 2 – The Middle Class and the American Dream

Chapter 3 – Global Warming and Climate Change

Chapter 4 – Health Care and Health Care Reform

Chapter 5 – Immigration and Immigration Politics

Chapter 6 – Taxing and Spending

Chapter 7 – Social Security and Medicare

Chapter 8 – Race Relations and Racial Politics

Chapter 9 – Reforming Education

Chapter 10 – Abortion Rights

Chapter 11 – Gun Rights

Chapter 12 – Gay Rights

Chapter 13 –Capital Punishment

Chapter 14 – Money and Politics

Chapter 15 – Religion and Politics

Chapter 16 –Science and Politics

Chapter 17 – The Drug War

Chapter 18 – Energy and Energy Conservation

Chapter 19 – Poverty, Inequality and Social Welfare

Chapter 20 – National Defense

Chapter 21 – China

Chapter 22 – Iran

Chapter 23 – Russia

Chapter 24 – Conflicts in the Middle East

Chapter 25 – Globalization and Trade


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Michael Kryzanek is Emeritus Professor of Political Science and Special Assistant to the President of Bridgewater State University. He is the author of books on American politics, US foreign policy, and Latin American politics. Dr. Kryzanek received his undergraduate degree from Marquette University and his Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. While on the faculty, he received awards for teaching and research, including the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ann K. Karreth is Assistant Professor of Politics and International Relations at Ursinus College. Dr. Karreth’s primary research interest is in African democracy and international development. She has published articles in numerous journals and book chapters. She teaches courses in comparative politics, research methods, public policy and American foreign policy. Dr. Karreth received her undergraduate degree from Boston College and her Ph.D. from the University of Georgia.


Praise for the Second Edition

in an era of "fake news" and "alternative facts," students are ever more in need of balanced and empirically sound explorations of the many major issues confronting the United States. This book delivers exactly that. Our national agenda is crowded; this book helps students soundly examine it.

Steven E. Schier, Carleton College

In this innovative and timely book, Michael Kryzanek and Ann Karreth give readers a fresh perspective on key issues in American politics, covering everything from national security and terrorism to health care and gun rights. The authors bring each topic to life with highly informative discussions that supplement the standard approach to American politics. This book is sure to be a valuable addition to introductory and advanced undergraduate courses.

Michael Parkin, Oberlin College

This book provides an excellent survey of the range of issues structuring political debate in the contemporary American polity. Considering all sorts of questions – domestic and international, economic and cultural – Michael Kryzanek and Ann Karreth expertly summarize the key arguments on all sides of these important debates, with an admirable sense of fairness and balance. In addition, the pedagogical tools provided and referred resources in each chapter will be very helpful for students who want to dig deeper in their own explorations of these complex topics.

Matthew Wilson, Southern Methodist University

Michael Kryzanek and Ann Karreth’s well-organized and accessible text substantively navigates contemporary issues and provides students and scholars with deeper insight into the crucial divisions that characterize and animate American political life.

Jay Steinmetz, University of Oregon