Perspectives on American Government

Perspectives on American Government : Readings in Political Development and Institutional Change

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Perspectives on American Government offers an accessible and coherent selection of readings to students of American politics. Grounded in foundational debates, classic political science scholarship, and the best contemporary analysis of developmental trends, this reader invites students to probe the historical dynamics that brought the United States to where it is today and how those dynamics are likely to affect its future course. Even a full-length textbook can do no more than hit the high points of broad and complicated topics like federalism, the role of government, labor, race, gender, parties and interest groups, polarization, the presidency, and America's place in the world. This well-designed reader is an invitation to instructors to draw your students into a deeper conversation on the key themes and topics in each section of your course.

Jillson and Robertson have carefully edited each selection to ensure readability and fidelity to the original arguments. Their insightful editorial introductions frame the context in which these topics are studied and understood. Several key pedagogical tools help students along the way:

An introductory essay providing an overview of American political development
Chapter introductions to provide necessary context situating the readings in broader debates
Head notes at the start of each reading to contextualize that selection
Questions for Discussion at the end of each chapter, prompting students to draw out the implications and connections across readings
Further Reading lists at the end of each chapter to guide student research

The broad readings in this volume take seriously the effort to present materials that help students make sense of the historical changes and institutional developments that are essential for understanding American government and politics today.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 538 pages
  • 165.1 x 231.14 x 22.86mm | 725.74g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Genocide Studies Reader adapated for this trim; 5 Line drawings, black and white; 9 Tables, black and white
  • 0415999219
  • 9780415999212
  • 1,008,749

Table of contents

Introduction 1. The Origins of American Political Principles 1.1 John Locke, "Of the Beginnings of Political Societies" (1690) 1.2 Federalist Papers, 1 and 2 (1787) 1.3 Gordon S. Wood, "Republicanism" (2002) 1.4 Samuel P. Huntington, "The Disharmonic Polity" (1981) 1.5 James Morone, "The Democratic Wish" (1998) 1.6 Rogers M. Smith, "The Multiple Traditions in America" (1993). 2. The Revolution and the Constitution 2.1 Thomas Paine, Common Sense (1776) 2.2 David Brian Robertson, "Madison's Opponents and Constitutional Design" (2005) 2.3 Benjamin Franklin, Debate in the Constitutional Convention, "On Signing the Constitution" (1787) 2.4 Letter to Congress to accompany the Constitution (1787) 2.5 Herbert Storing, "What the Anti-Federalists Were For" (1981) 2.6 Federalist Papers, 47 and 48 (1788) 2.7 Akhil Reed Amar, "America's Constitution" (2005) 3. Federalism and the American Political System 3.1 Federalist Papers, 39 and 45 (1788) 3.2 The Webster-Hayne Debates (1830) 3.3 V.O. Key, "Southern Politics in State and Nation" (1949) 3.4 Margaret Weir, "States, Race, and the Decline of New Deal Liberalism" (2005) 3.5 Suzanne Mettler, "Gender and Federalism in New Deal Public Policy" (1998) 3.6 Martha Derthick, "Keeping the Compound Republic" (2001) 4. Political Socialization and Public Opinion 4.1 John and Abigail Adams, "Women in the New Nation" (1776) 4.2 Alexis de Tocqueville, "Unlimited Power of the Majority in the United States" (1835) 4.3 Walter Lippmann, "The World Outside and the Pictures in Our Heads" (1922) 4.4 Susan Herbst, "Contemporary Public Opinion Research" (1993) 4.5 Cass Sunstein, "Polarization and Cybercascades" (2007) 4.6 Lawrence Jacobs and Robert Shapiro, "Politicians Don't Pander" (2000) 5. The Mass Media 5.1 Thomas Jefferson, "Newspapers and Democracy" (1787) 5.2 H.L. Mencken, "Newspaper Morals" (1914) 5.3 New York Times v. United States (1971) 5.4 Samuel Kernell, "The Early Nationalization of Political News in America" (1986) 5.5 Bartholomew Sparrow, "The News Media as a Political Institution" (1999) 5.6 Scott Gant, "We're All Journalists Now" (2007) 6. Interest Groups 6.1 Debates at the Constitutional Convention, "Popular Participation, Factions, and Democratic Politics" (1787) 6.2 Alexis de Tocqueville, "Political Association in the United States" (1835) 6.3 E. E. Schattachneider, "The Scope and Bias of the Pressure System" (1960) 6.4 Kay Lehman Schlozman, "What Accent the Heavenly Chorus" (1984) Richard Harris and Daniel Tichenor, "Organized Interests and American Political Development" (2002-2003) 6.6 Elisabeth Clemens, "Politics Without Party: The Organizational Accomplishments Of Disenfranchised Women" (1997) 7. Political Parties 7.1 James Reichley, "Intention of the Founders: A Polity Without Parties" (1992) 7.2 James Madison, "A Candid State of Parties" (1792) 7.3 John H. Aldrich, "Why Parties Form" (1995) 7.4 Sidney Milkis, "The President and the Parties" (1993) 7.5 James Sundquist, "Party Realignment: What, When, How?" (1983) Morris Fiorina, "Culture Wars? The Myth of a Polarized America" (2006) 8. Voting, Campaigns, and Elections 8.1 Debates at the Constitutional Convention, "Should Common Citizens be Allowed to Vote?" (1787) 8.2 Alexander Keyssar, "Democracy Ascendant: The Right to Vote" (2000) 8.3 V.O. Key, "The Voice of the People: An Echo" (1966) 8.4 Samuel L. Popkin, "The Reasoning Voter" (1991) 8.5 Anthony King, "Running Scared" (1997) 8.6 Dennis Johnson, "Political Consultants at Work" (2007) 9. Congress: Lawmaking and Representation 9.1 Edmund Burke, "Letter to the Electors of Bristol" (1774) 9.2 Federalist Papers, 62 (1788) 9.3 Woodrow Wilson, "Congressional Government" (1885) 9.4 David Mayhew, "The Electoral Incentive" (1974) 9.5 Eric Schickler, "Institutional Development of Congress" (2004) 9.6 Barbara Sinclair, "Parties and Leadership in the House" (2006) 10. The President 10.1 John Locke, "Of Prerogative" (1690) 10.2 Debates at the Constitutional Convention, "Limits on Executive Power" (1787) 10.3 Federalist Papers, 70 and 72 (1789) 10.4 Abraham Lincoln, "On Suspension of Habeas Corpus" (1861) 10.5 Theodore Roosevelt, "Immediate and Vigorous Executive Action" (1909) 10.6 Keith Whittington and Daniel Carpenter, "Executive Power in American Institutional Development" (2003) 10.7 Andrew Rudalevige, "Charting a New Imperial Presidency" (2006) 11. Bureaucracy: Shaping Government for the 21st Century 11.1 Max Weber, "Characteristics of Modern Bureaucracy" (1922) 11.2 Woodrow Wilson, "The Study of Administration" (1887) 11.3 Norton Long, "Power and Administration" (1949) 11.4 James Q. Wilson, "Bureaucracy" (1989) Daniel Carpenter, "The Evolution of the National Bureaucracy" (2005) 11.6 Paul Light, "Thickening Government," (1995, 2004) 12. The Federal Courts: Activism v. Restraint 12.1 Federalist Papers, 81 (1788) 12.2 Marbury v. Madison (1803) 12.3 Jeffrey Rosen, "The Most Democratic Branch" (2005) 12.4 Howard Gillman, "The Courts and the 2000 Election" (2001) 12.5 Thomas M. Keck, "Modern Conservatism and Judicial Power" (2004) 12.6 Gerald Rosenberg, "The Hollow Hope" (1991) 13. Civil Liberties and Civil Rights 13.1 James Madison, "Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments" (1785) 13.2 Abraham Lincoln, "Speech on the Dred Scott Decision" (1857); "The Gettysburg Address" (1863); "Second Inaugural Address" 1865) 13.3 Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) 13.4 Brown v. Board of Education (1954) 13.5 Richard M. Valelly, "Institutions and Enfranchisement" (2004) 13.6 Desmond King and Rogers Smith, "Racial Orders in American Political Development" (2005) 14. Government, the Economy, and Domestic Policy 14.1 Alexander Hamilton, "Report on Manufactures" (1791) 14.2 Joseph Schumpeter, "The Process of Creative Destruction" (1942) 14.3 Franklin Delano Roosevelt, "Call For Federal Responsibility" (1932); "Message to Congress on Social Security" (1935) 14.4 John W. Kingdon, "American Public Policy in Comparative Perspective" (1999) 14.5 Benjamin I. Page and James R. Simmons, "American Public Policy in Comparative Perspective." (2000) 14.6 Theda Skocpol, "America's First Modern Social Policies and Their Legacies" (1992) 15. America's Place in a Dangerous World 15.1 Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, "The Pacificus-Helvidius Debate" (1793) 15.2 George Washington, "Farewell Address" (1796) 15.3 Alexis de Tocqueville, "Why Democratic Nations Naturally Desire Peace, and Democratic Armies, War" (1840) 15.4 Bartholomew H. Sparrow, "Limited Wars and the Attenuation of the State" (2002) 15.5 Joseph Nye, "The Paradox of American Power" (2002) 15.6 Walter Russell Mead, "America's Sticky Power" (2004)
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Review quote

"Chock-full of classic and contemporary readings, Perspectives on American Government is an outstanding resource for students interested in the development of American politics. The book provides a rich collection of primary sources, alongside cutting-edge analysis by leading political scientists. Perfect for an introductory course in American government!"
-Gerald Gamm, University of Rochester

"For instructors wanting to introduce students to the field of APD, or who value its contextual approach in engaging students in the study of American politics, this volume brings together a valuable and first rate selection of primary documents as well as past and current scholarly work. Through the unusually coherent grouping of readings, students will gain a broad theoretical as well as historical foundation in understanding the development of the American political system."
-Kim Johnson, Barnard College

"American government instructors who have become dispirited by the legions of numbingly pallid, ahistorical, and conventional readers on the market have finally found a safe haven. Jillson and Robertson's Perspectives on American Government: Readings in Political Development and Institutional Change gives these benighted faculty a bracingly original way to help their students appreciate how profoundly America's past informs its present. This astutely selected corpus of primary, classic, and contemporary texts is the `change we need.'"
-Ronald Seyb, Skidmore College

"Jillson and Robertson have created the perfect companion text for an APD-themed American Politics course. This collection of essential readings has been carefully edited to help students understand each author's central claims without feeling overwhelmed. Engaging end-of-chapter questions promote reflection and discussion of enduring themes of democracy and government."
-McGee Young, Marquette University
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About Cal Jillson

Cal Jillson is Professor of Political Science at Southern Methodist University and former Director of the John G. Tower Center for Political Studies. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a frequent commentator on domestic and international politics for local, national, and international media. He is the author of Pursuing the American Dream: Opportunity and Exclusion Over Four Centuries, Texas Politics: Governing the Lone Star State, and Congressional Dynamics, and editor of The Dynamics of American Politics, New Perspectives on American Politics, and Pathways to Democracy: The Political Economy of Democratic Transitions. He has also served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of Dedman College at SMU.

David Brian Robertson is Professor of Political Science and Fellow in the Public Policy Research Center at the University of Missouri - St. Louis. His books include The Constitution and America's Destiny and The Development of American Public Policy: The Structure of Policy Restraint (co-author). He is Associate Editor of the Journal of Policy History and he edits CLIO, the newsletter of the Politics and History section of the American Political Science Association. Robertson has received the Governor's, Chancellor's, and Emerson Electric Awards for Teaching Excellence. He is the political analyst for KSDK Television (NBC).
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