American Politics: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

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9780195373851: American Politics: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

American politics seems to grow more contentious and complicated by the day, and whether American democracy works well is hotly debated. Amidst all this roiling partisan argument and confusing claims and counterclaims, there has never been a greater need for an impartial primer on the basics of the American political system.

This Very Short Introduction gives readers a concise, accessible, and sophisticated overview of the vital elements of American democracy, emphasizing both how these elements function, their historical origins, and how they have evolved into their present forms. Richard Valelly covers all facets of America's political system: the bicameral Congress and the place of the filibuster, the legislative-executive process, the role of the Supreme Court, political parties and democratic choice, bureaucracy, the partisan revival, and the political economy. He offers as well an original analysis of the evolution of the American presidency and a fascinating chapter on the effects of public polling on political decision-making and voter representation. Valelly shows that the American political system is, and always has been, very much a work in progress--unfolding within, and also constantly updating, an eighteenth-century constitutional framework. In a refreshingly balanced and judicious assessment, he explores the strengths of American democracy while candidly acknowledging both gaps in representation and the increasing income inequality have sparked protest and intense public discussion. Finally, Valelly considers the remarkable persistence, for more than two centuries, of the basic constitutional forms established in 1787, despite the dramatic social changes that have reshaped virtually all aspects of American life.

For anyone wishing to understand the nuts and bolts of how our political system works--and sometimes fails to work--this Very Short Introduction is the very best place to start.

About the Series:

Oxford's Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.

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About the Author:


Richard Valelly is Claude C. Smith '14 Professor of Political Science at Swarthmore College.
His publications include Princeton Readings in American Politics (2009), The Two Reconstructions: The Struggle for Black Enfranchisement (2004), which won several prizes, and Radicalism in the States: The Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party and the American Political Economy (1989).

Review:


"well-written and of use to a lay audience interested in a few basic facts about the history of American government with a brief discussion of contemporary government" --Political Studies Review


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Richard M. Valelly
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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. This book introduces the vital elements of American politics, emphasizing how these elements have evolved into the form they take today. By using a historical-institutional approach to the various parts of American politics, Valelly communicates that the American political system is, and always has been, a work in progress-one unfolding within, and also constantly updating, an eighteenth-century constitutional framework. Valelly begins by asking what Americans want from their politics and answers with a four-part analysis: (1) the politics of peace and prosperity, (2) the sometimes illiberal politics of conformity and Americanization, (3) the politics of large-scale problem-solving (e.g., the abolition of slavery) and perfection of the Union, and (4) the deep public desire for constitutional continuity. The last item provides the organizational framework/theme for the rest of the book. Additional chapters treat parties and polarization (stressing that contemporary polarization reinforces constitutional persistence because it provides for a mix of policy immobility and power-sharing between parties that bitterly disagree); a survey of the basic institutions: the Presidency, Congress, the judicial branch, the unelected bureaucracy of the independent agencies, and state and local governments. A third group of chapters deals with political communication, public opinion, voting and the boundaries of the electorate, and the politics of government steering of the economy. Finally, Valelly considers the puzzle of the persistence for more than two centuries of the basic constitutional forms established in 1787. The author employs a mix of quantitative data and historical examples to illustrate the main themes. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable. Bookseller Inventory # AOP9780195373851

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. This book introduces the vital elements of American politics, emphasizing how these elements have evolved into the form they take today. By using a historical-institutional approach to the various parts of American politics, Valelly communicates that the American political system is, and always has been, a work in progress-one unfolding within, and also constantly updating, an eighteenth-century constitutional framework. Valelly begins by asking what Americans want from their politics and answers with a four-part analysis: (1) the politics of peace and prosperity, (2) the sometimes illiberal politics of conformity and Americanization, (3) the politics of large-scale problem-solving (e.g., the abolition of slavery) and perfection of the Union, and (4) the deep public desire for constitutional continuity. The last item provides the organizational framework/theme for the rest of the book. Additional chapters treat parties and polarization (stressing that contemporary polarization reinforces constitutional persistence because it provides for a mix of policy immobility and power-sharing between parties that bitterly disagree); a survey of the basic institutions: the Presidency, Congress, the judicial branch, the unelected bureaucracy of the independent agencies, and state and local governments. A third group of chapters deals with political communication, public opinion, voting and the boundaries of the electorate, and the politics of government steering of the economy. Finally, Valelly considers the puzzle of the persistence for more than two centuries of the basic constitutional forms established in 1787. The author employs a mix of quantitative data and historical examples to illustrate the main themes. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable. Bookseller Inventory # AOP9780195373851

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. This book introduces the vital elements of American politics, emphasizing how these elements have evolved into the form they take today. By using a historical-institutional approach to the various parts of American politics, Valelly communicates that the American political system is, and always has been, a work in progress-one unfolding within, and also constantly updating, an eighteenth-century constitutional framework. Valelly begins by asking what Americans want from their politics and answers with a four-part analysis: (1) the politics of peace and prosperity, (2) the sometimes illiberal politics of conformity and Americanization, (3) the politics of large-scale problem-solving (e.g., the abolition of slavery) and perfection of the Union, and (4) the deep public desire for constitutional continuity. The last item provides the organizational framework/theme for the rest of the book. Additional chapters treat parties and polarization (stressing that contemporary polarization reinforces constitutional persistence because it provides for a mix of policy immobility and power-sharing between parties that bitterly disagree); a survey of the basic institutions: the Presidency, Congress, the judicial branch, the unelected bureaucracy of the independent agencies, and state and local governments. A third group of chapters deals with political communication, public opinion, voting and the boundaries of the electorate, and the politics of government steering of the economy. Finally, Valelly considers the puzzle of the persistence for more than two centuries of the basic constitutional forms established in 1787. The author employs a mix of quantitative data and historical examples to illustrate the main themes. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780195373851

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