American Government, 4th edition: Political Change and Institutional Development (Volume 1)

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9780415960779: American Government, 4th edition: Political Change and Institutional Development (Volume 1)

In this introductory American politics text, Cal Jillson provides not only a sense of how politics works today but also how institutions, systems, political participation, and policies have developed over time to produce today's political environment in the United States. This historical context provides the necessary backdrop for students to understand why things work the way they do now. Going one step further, the book identifies critical reforms and how American democracy might work better.

In a streamlined presentation, Jillson delivers a concise and engaging narrative to help students understand the complexities and importance of American politics. Key features:

  • The 4th edition is thoroughly updated, including full analysis of the 2006 mid-term elections and shift in partisan control of Congress.
  • Chapter-opening Focus Questions; illustrative figures and charts; "Let's Compare" and "Pro & Con" boxes; key terms; time lines; and end-of-chapter suggested readings and web resources.
  • Companion website for students (http://americangovernment.routledge.com) features chapter summaries, focus questions, practice quizzes, glossary flashcards, participation activities, and links.
  • Instructor's resources on the web and on CD-ROM, including Testbank, Instructor's Manual, figures and tables from the text, and lecture outlines.

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About the Author:

CAL JILLSON is Professor in the Department of Political Science at Southern Methodist University. He is former Director of the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies and chaired the department from 1996 to 2001. He is a past president of the Southwest Political Science Association.

Professor Jillson teaches and writes in the areas of American political thought and development of American political institutions. Several recent books, Congressional Dynamics (Stanford University Press, 1994), New Perspectives on American Politics (CQ Press, 1994) and The Dynamics of American Politics (Westview Press, 1994), deal with the origins of American legislatures and with the health and performance of contemporary American politics and political institutions. He is also the co-editor (with Jim Hollifield) of Pathways to Democracy: The Political Economy of Democratic Transitions (Routledge, 1999). Professor Jillson's latest books are Pursuing the American Dream: Opportunity and Exclusion Over Four Centuries (University of Kansas Press, 2004) and Texas Politics: Governing the Lone Star State (McGraw Hill, 2006).

Review:

"To understand American politics in a time of great change, students must grasp the numerous stresses, tensions and processes that make American government so prone to periods of tension and upheaval. Cal Jillson's fourth edition is a masterful effort at introducing lower-division students to a 'dynamic' perspective on American politics and explaining how and why our government has repeatedly succeeded in adapting to new domestic and international pressures. The text is particularly noteworthy in highlighting the role that ideas, creeds and political culture play in helping insure that we remain true to the nation's liberal-constitutional principles as we adapt to new conditions. There is no better lower division textbook for introducing students to a developmental perspective on American government."

--Lawrence C. Dodd, Manning J. Dauer Eminent Scholar in Political Science, University of Florida

"The greatest strength of the Jillson text is the excellent presentation of the historical development of all facets of government. But running a strong second is the wealth of comparative data displayed throughout the text. Jillson does a better job than most texts of comparing the U.S. to other nations, and he does a very good job of displaying changes over time."

-- Robert Bernstein, Auburn University

"The major strengths of American Government lie in its depth of historical background and its ability to give students some sense of why we do things one way rather than another (in more than just functional terms). Jillson communicates clearly and without excessive jargon, but with sophistication."

-- Thomas Hoffman, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

"Jillson hooks students with the idea that in order to understand the events of 1776 and 1787 and really appreciate how unusual they were, we need to understand the ideas that filled the heads of the framers at the time. Some textbooks are nearly all photos, graphs, and sound bites—this one strikes a nice balance."

-- Robert S. Wood, University of North Dakota

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