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

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9780415999212: 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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About the Author:

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).

Review:

"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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