American Government: Roots and Reform, 5th Edition
Guided by the belief that students must first understand the origins of American government to fully understand the issues facing the United States today, this market-leading text offers the strongest coverage of both history and current events of any college textbook devoted to American politics.
From hallmark features like “The Living Constitution” to new features like the illustrated historical timelines, American Government: Continuity and Change provides the historical context students need to understand our government and the most crucial and controversial issues affecting the nation in the 21st century. The Texas edition of this classic text features the exact same coverage as the comprehensive version but with 7 additional chapters devoted to Texas politics.
This bestselling book has been extensively revised to provide in-depth coverage of the 2008 presidential and congressional elections, President George W. Bush’s second administration and the 110th Congress, continued controversies related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the war on terrorism, and domestic concerns related to rising gas and food prices and the subprime mortgage crisis.
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From the Back Cover
- "The Living Constitution" boxes. Reflecting the texts’ emphasis on the constitutional underpinnings of government and its focus on the origins of America’s democratic system, The Living Constitution boxes appear at the beginning of every chapter to examine the chapter's topic in light of what the Constitution says—or fails to say—about it. Living Constitution boxes are broken down into four components: an excerpt from the Constitution, an explanation of the excerpt, some historical context and a discussion of how the clause continues to be relevant today, noting recent court cases, ongoing debates, or political challenges related to it. A carefully annotated Constitution of the United States appears after Ch. 2, The Constitution, providing students with an accessible and insightful walkthrough of this seminal document.
- "Politics Now" boxes examine contemporary issues to illustrate how American politics has evolved. Excerpts from news articles are followed by critical thinking questions that allow students to analyze current political issues for themselves. New boxes discuss Nancy Pelosi’s style as House Speaker, presidential signing statements, media coverage of the Supreme Court, and the impact of frontloading on the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination contest.
- "Join the Debate" boxes explore provocative, student-oriented topics and provide extensive, well-balanced coverage of both sides of a debate. Each box begins with a topic overview, provides accessible summaries of the opposing arguments, and concludes with critical thinking questions that allow students to examine their own stance on the topic and suggested readings for further research. New topics in this edition include the living wage movement, budget allocations for the Iraq War, and voting rights for felons.
- “Analyzing Visuals” features ask students to closely examine and assess a variety of different types of images including photographs, tables, bar graphs, line graphs, and maps. These features have been redesigned to emphasize open-ended, critical thinking questions.
New to this Edition:
- Superior coverage of the diverse groups comprising the American electorate is a hallmark of O’Connor/Sabato. Karen O’Connor, founder and director of the Women and Politics Institute in the School of Public Affairs at American University, draws on her own research as well as the work of other scholars to provide extensive coverage of the role of women in American government since the Founding. Gender issues and their close relationship with issues of race and ethnicity are addressed in every chapter of the text. Age, sexual orientation, and disability status are also examined throughout the book. This edition features increased attention to the immigration debate and its affect on politics in the United States, as well as expanded coverage of Hispanic Americans and Asian Pacific American populations.
- An inspired re-design of the text’s layout uses color, type and graphical elements to increase the book’s student appeal and to make it a more navigable and more effective study tool. A new graphical program features redrawn tables, charts, and graphs critiqued by a political science expert in data and statistics. A new photo program includes more conceptual, more action-oriented images to illustrate key points, more TV and film stills for greater connections to pop culture, and political cartoons to jumpstart class discussions
- “How to Study from this Book” primer in the beginning of the text features pointers for reading maps, tables, and visuals [from previous edition’s Analyzing Visuals: A Brief Guide] as well as offers study tips to help students get the most from their reading. A Spanish Glossary defines key terms to provide support for ESL students.
- Illustrated Historical Timelines provide students with a simple, effective, and inviting way to view the development of key American Government events and issues like the right to privacy, political parties, civil rights legislation, campaign tactics, and development of the news media and the war on terrorism.
- “Ideas into Action” boxes show how political participation affects government and then provides them with doable, practical, and useful suggestions for active involvement in the political process and concludes with open ended discussion questions, and online resources for further research. Topics include celebrating Constitution Day, becoming a Congressional intern, and filing an amicus curiae brief.
- “Roots of” and “Toward Reform” sections highlight the text’s emphasis on the importance of the history of American Government, as well as the dynamic cycle of reassessment and reform that allows the United States to continue to evolve and change for its relevance and vitality. Every chapter begins with a “Roots of” section that gives a historical overview of the topic at hand, and ends with a “Toward Reform” section devoted to a contentious or unresolved aspect of the topic being discussed. For example, the Constitution chapter begins with a “Roots of” section detailing the growing pains of a new nation, from trade and taxation to the Declaration of Independence, and ends with a “Toward Reform” section discussing methods of amending the Constitution to account for the challenges facing a mature nation with problems unforeseeable by the framers.
- Thinking Globally features underscore the commonalities and differences between the United States and other nations and bring a stronger comparative perspective to the text on a range of issues, including global environmentalism, indigenous legal systems, and parliamentary systems and their impact on parties and the executive branch. Three or more Thinking Globally prompts appear in each chapter and consist of a brief overview of a key comparative topic followed by critical thinking questions that ask students to examine some of Americas’ most commonly held assumptions about how government does or should function. (A corresponding Thinking Nationally feature occurs in the Texas Edition.)
- “What Should I Know?” and “What Should I Have Learned?” help students preview and review the key topics and concepts explored in each chapter. Every chapter begins with a set of “What Should I Know?” questions as well as a bulleted list of section descriptions that follow the opening vignette, preview the key content of the chapter and prime students for the material. A “What Should I Have Learned?” section at the end of each chapter revisits the “What Should I Know?” questions and answers them with succinct summary paragraphs.
- To Learn More—To Do More features serve as a capstone to every chapter’s opening vignette and provide students with an online reference for participation in or further information about the vignette’s topic.
- Expanded "Politics Now" boxes use excerpts from news articles to discuss Nancy Pelosi’s style as House Speaker, presidential signing statements, media coverage of the Supreme Court, and the impact of frontloading on the 2008 presidential contest.
- Revised "Join the Debate" topics include the living wage movement, budget allocations for the Iraq War, and voting rights for felons.
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