American Government: Myths and Realities, 2014 Election Edition

Paperback | December 29, 2014

byAlan R. Gitelson, Robert L. Dudley, Melvin J. Dubnick

not yet rated|write a review
What the typical introductory-level student knows about American government and politics is often based on common myths that distort the reality of the political world. Rather than dismissing those myths as outright falsehoods, American Government: Myths and Realities, 2014 Election Edition,encourages students to confront their preconceived notions in order to think critically about government and politics. Clearly and distinctively woven into each chapter, the myths-and-realities theme provides a pedagogical framework that engages students with interesting conundrums while effectivelycovering the core concepts of American government.

Pricing and Purchase Info


Ships within 1-3 weeks
Ships free on orders over $25

From the Publisher

What the typical introductory-level student knows about American government and politics is often based on common myths that distort the reality of the political world. Rather than dismissing those myths as outright falsehoods, American Government: Myths and Realities, 2014 Election Edition,encourages students to confront their preconc...

Alan R. Gitelson is Professor of Political Science and former Assistant Provost and Chair of the Department Political Science at Loyola University. Robert L. Dudley is Professor of Government and Politics, School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs (SPGIA) at George Mason University. Melvin J. Dubnick is Professor of Poli...
Format:PaperbackDimensions:624 pages, 9.25 × 7.5 × 0.68 inPublished:December 29, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199374228

ISBN - 13:9780199374229

Look for similar items by category:


Extra Content

Table of Contents

Each chapter ends with a Conclusion, Key Terms, a Focus Questions Review, and Review Questions.1. Making Sense of American PoliticsMyths and Realities: What are the roles of reason, myth, and belief in American Government?"It Just Makes No Sense!"The Nature and Role of Government and Politics- What Is Government?- What Is Politics?- The Role of Government in American HistoryWhat Are the Fundamental Issues of Government and Politics?- Who Should Govern?- Power- Where Should Governmental Authority Be Vested?Understanding American Government and Politics- Political Myths- The Power of ReasonAsked and Answered: How knowledgeable are U.S. students about their government?Beliefs and IdeologiesPolicy Connection 1: How do we make sense of public policies and programs? (Government Policy in General)The Legal LabelThe Pervasiveness of PoliciesPublic Policies Dealing with Public Problems2. Constitutional FoundationsMyths and Realities: Is the Constitution a living document?The Constitutional Trade-OffAn Imperfect Document- The Setting for Constitutional Change- The FramersThe Roots of the Constitution- British Constitutional Heritage- Charters- Common Law- Major Statutes- The Colonial Heritage- Roots- The Onset of Revolution- What the Framers DidEstablishing LegitimacyStructuring Authority- Balancing National and State Authority- Structuring Authority within the National Government- The Case of the Electoral CollegeDistributing and Describing Governmental Powers- Powers in the Federal System- Powers within the National Government- Limiting Governmental PowersAllowing for Change- Revolution- Amendments- Asked and Answered: So you want to change the Constitution?- Interpretations and ConstructionsWhat the Framers AccomplishedThe Principles of American ConstitutionalismThe Rule of LawRepublicanismSeparation of PowersChecks and BalancesNational SupremacyApplying the Five PrinciplesPolicy Connection 2: How can we use models to make sense of American policymaking? (Government Policy in General)Making SausageThe Process Models- Lawmaking Model- Policymaking Stages ModelThe Decision Models- Rational Choice Models- IncrementalismBargaining and Compromise- The "Who" Factor3. Federalism and Intergovernmental RelationsMyths and Realities: Do the individual states retain constitutional sovereignty?The Importance of Federalism"Screw Nevada""Commandeering" New YorkThe Sovereignty IssueThe Evolution of American FederalismBattles over Meaning (1790s-1860s)From Separation to Cooperation (1860s-1920s)Toward Cooperation and Local Participation (1930s-1950s)The Urban Focus (1960s-1970s)Reforming and Devolving (1970s-1990s)Twenty-First-Century Challenges (2001 and Beyond?)The Actors of American FederalismNational Government Actors- The Supreme Court- Congress- The White House- The Federal BureaucracyStates in the Federal SystemLocal GovernmentsNongovernmental Actors- Intergovernmental Lobby- Citizens- Asked and Answered: Who is responsible for America's elaborate systems of roads and highways?Policy Connection 3: How are education policies and aid to the poor affected by American federalism? (Domestic Policy)The Constitutional SettingEducation Policy- Access to Education- Funding of Education- Educational Curriculum- Educational Quality and AccountabilityAid to the Poor- Old and New Welfare4. Civil LibertiesMyths and Realities: Do civil liberties mean that we can do anything we want?Defining and Preserving LibertyApplying the Bill of Rights to the StatesThe First Amendment Freedoms- Freedom of Speech- Changing Standards- Symbolic Speech- Technology and Free SpeechFreedom of the Press- Prior Restraint- Libel- ObscenityFreedom of Religion- Establishment of Religion- Free Exercise of ReligionThe Second Amendment and the Right to Keep and Bear ArmsDue Process and Crime- Right to Counsel- Searches and Seizures- Asked and Answered: Do police officers who are conducting a search have to knock and announce their presence before entering your home?- Cruel and Unusual PunishmentPrivacy- Doctor-Assisted SuicidePolicy Connection 4: How can the government maintain its commitment to civil liberties while minimizing the nation's vulnerability to attack? (Foreign Policy)"We are going to war"- The Garrison State Approach- The Temporary State of War Approach- The Glass Firewall Approach- The Enemy Within Approach5. Civil RightsMyths and Realities: Does everyone have the opportunity to participate equally in the American political and social system?The Crime of "Driving or Shopping While Black"The Continuing Struggle Against Racism- Asked and Answered: What do we mean by Jim Crow?Public EducationPublic AccommodationVoting RightsSex DiscriminationPaternalism and Discrimination- Women in the Work ForceWomen and Educational AchievementSexual HarassmentSexual OrientationEqual Protection and Sexual OrientationSame-Sex MarriageChanging ViewsEquality and Citizenship StatusAffirmative ActionPolicy Connection 5: What is the relationship between American domestic policies and U.S. foreign policy? (Foreign Policy)Vulnerability and Exceptionalism6. Public Opinion and Political ParticipationMyths and Realities: Is there such a thing as majority opinion?Witches, Ghosts, and Public OpinionWhat Is Public Opinion?How We Develop Our Beliefs and OpinionsAgents of Political Socialization- Family and Friends- School- The Media- Religion- Political CultureAdult SocializationHow Polls WorkThe Paradox of Public OpinionGroup Opinion: Diversity and Uniformity- Gender- College Students and "Twentysomethings"- Race and Ethnicity- Asked and Answered: Are young people in the United States and in other nations inattentive and inactive in the political process?- ReligionAvenues of Political ParticipationActing on OpinionsWhat Influences Participation?A Closer Look at Women, African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans- Women- African Americans- Hispanics- Asian AmericansPolicy Connection 6: How do public opinion and public attitudes affect environmental policies? (Domestic and Foreign Policy)The Public and Climate ChangeLinking Opinions to the EnvironmentPolicy Developments7. Political PartiesMyths and Realities: How much do the Democratic and Republican parties differ from one another?Sorting Out the Puzzle of Political PartiesWhat Parties Are and What They DoThe Three-Headed Political GiantWho Belongs to Major Parties and Why?In the Driver's Seat: Democrats and RepublicansIndependents: Taking A Back Seat in Politics?If Parties Are So Important, What Do They Do?Simplifying VotingBuilding Electoral CoalitionsDeveloping Public PolicyWinning ElectionsOrganizing GovernmentMitigating ConflictAmerican-Style Politics: The Two-Party SystemThe Winners: The Democrats and the RepublicansRealignment of PartiesWhy Two Parties?- Winner Takes All- A Division of Interests- A Similarity of Goals- State Laws- The Hidden Actors: Third Parties in the United States- Asked and Answered: Shouldn't we have more than just two party options on the ballot?Party Structure from the Bottom UpLocal PartiesState PartiesNational PartiesPolicy Connection 7: Do the two major parties really offer different approaches to managing the American economic system? (Domestic and Foreign Policy)Images and RealitiesRole of Government in the EconomyMacroeconomic Policy ToolsEconomic Development PoliciesTrade Policies and GlobalizationTax IncentivesIndustrial and Supply-Side Policies8. Campaigns and ElectionsMyths and Realities: Do politicians always break their campaign promises?Campaigns and the American PublicNominations: The Selection ProcessWhy Do People Run for Office?The Caucus: Old-Fashioned PoliticsPrimaries: The New Kid on the BlockThe Changing Role of Nominating ConventionsWho Gets Nominated?The Race for OfficeFinancing Campaigns: The Buying and Selling of Office?Act I: The Federal Election Campaign ActAct II: The Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform ActAct III: Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission- Asked and Answered: Why can't we reduce the role of money in elections as other nations do?- Does Money Buy Victory?Organizing Campaigns: The Old and the New- Campaign Organizations- Campaign Strategy- The New Campaign StyleThe Media and Campaigns: Are We Brainwashed?Campaigns and Political PartiesVoting and ElectionsWho Is Allowed to Vote?Who Votes?- Demographics and Voter Turnout- Disappointed ElectorateWhy Do People Vote the Way They Do?- Issues- Candidate Image- Party Identification- Retrospective Voting- Group Influences- The Other Elections: Referenda and InitiativesThe 2014 Elections: A Changing Political Landscape?The Electoral CollegePromises, Promises: The Link Between Campaigns and Public PolicyPolicy Connection 8: Are elections an effective way to make public policies? (Domestic Policy)Electing a Public PolicyA Brief History9. Interest GroupsMyths and Realities: Are all interest groups corrupt and self-serving?Interest Groups, Lobbying, and CongressMovers and Shakers: Interest and Other Advocacy GroupsInterest Groups- Asked and Answered: Are college students represented by interest groups?- Economic Interest Groups- Citizen Activist Interest Groups- Public Sector Interest Groups- Foreign Nation Interest GroupsLobbyists- PACs and Super PACsWhat Makes an Interest Group Powerful?SizeUnityLeadershipInformation and ExpertiseMoneyCountervailing ForcesInterest-Group Tactics: "You Don't Lobby with Hundred-Dollar Bills and Wild Parties"LobbyingElectioneering and PolicymakingBuilding CoalitionsGrassroots Pressure: Power to the PeopleLitigationHard-Line TacticsInterest Groups and DemocracyPolicy Connection 9: How have some interest groups been able to shape American public policies? (Domestic Policy)The Hundred Years War10. Media and PoliticsMyths and Realities: Does the media have the power to influence public opinion?The Rise of the MediaThe Early DaysThe Broadcast MediaDiversity and ConcentrationGovernment Regulation- Government Licensing- Equal TimeMaking NewsThe Effects of the Mass MediaSetting the AgendaConducting Politics in the Media: Old and NewThe Uneasy Alliance Between Government and the MediaCovering the President- Press Conferences- Going Public- Asked and Answered: What are leaks, and where do they come from?Covering CongressCovering the CourtsPolicy Connection 10: How do government policies shape the media landscape? (Domestic Policy)How Government Created CorporationsAntitrust Enforcement as PolicyThat's Entertainment!11. CongressMyths and Realities: Is Congress ineffective and buried under partisan bickering?Filibustering One's Own BillA Portrait of CongressA Congressional Portrait- Education and Occupation- Race and SexGetting Elected- Asked and Answered: Why are there so few women serving in legislative bodies?The Work of CongressMaking LawsThe Power to TaxProducing the BudgetCaseworkCongressional OversightThe Organization of CongressBicameralismCongressional Leadership- Leadership in the House- Senate LeadershipThe Committee System- Types of Committees- Committee Size and Membership- Committee Assignments- Committee LeadershipThe Congressional StaffHow a Bill Becomes a LawCommittee ConsiderationFloor Action- The Senate FloorConference WorkCongressional VotingPolicy Connection 11: What policies are responsible for the national debt? (Domestic Policy)The Debt ItselfTax ExpendituresMandatory Spending and EntitlementsDiscretionary Spending12. The PresidencyMyths and Realities: Is the president all-powerful?The Growth of the PresidencyFirst PresidentsThe Modern PresidencyPresidential RolesChief of StateChief Executive- Powers to Appoint and Remove- Power to Pardon- Executive PrivilegeChief Diplomat- Treaties- Executive Agreements- Congressional-Executive Agreements- Power of Recognition- Diplomatic AppointmentsCommander in ChiefChief Legislator- Recommending Legislation- The Veto Power- Line-Item Veto- Asked and Answered: What is a signing statement?- ImpoundmentThe Seamless WebThe Institutional PresidencyThe CabinetThe Executive Office of the President- The Office of Management and Budget- The Council of Economic Advisers- The National Security CouncilThe White House Office: Two Management StylesThe Vice PresidentPresidential InfluencePersuading Congress- Party Loyalty- Staff Lobbyists- Personal AppealPublic OpinionPolicy Connection 12: Does the president really control American foreign policy? (Foreign Policy)The Containment ApproachesPost-Containment ApproachesThe Myth of the Grand Strategy13. BureaucracyMyths and Realities: Are Washington bureaucrats unresponsive and incompetent?Where the Hell Is the Cavalry?A Profile of the Federal BureaucracyWho Are the Bureaucrats?- Political Appointees- Asked and Answered: What are the "plum jobs" in the federal government?- Merit Systems- Wage SystemsWhat Do Federal Bureaucrats Do?Where Do Civil Servants Work?- Executive Office of the President- The Cabinet Departments- Independent Executive Branch Agencies- Regulatory Commissions- Government Corporations- Other AgenciesA Diverse InstitutionGrowth of the American BureaucracyOverview of Bureaucratic GrowthExplaining the Growth of the BureaucracyBureaucratic PowerThe Sources of Bureaucratic Power- External Support- Expertise- Administrative Discretion- Longevity in Office- Skill and LeadershipLimiting Bureaucratic Power- Self-Restraint and Limited Resources- The White House- Congress- The Courts- Restraints- Limits and ResponsivenessBureaucratic Problems- Clientelism- Pathological Incrementalism- Arbitrariness- Parochialism- Imperialism- Calls for ReformPolicy Connection 13: Have policymakers addressed the problems of incompetent and unresponsive government? (Domestic Policy)The Progressive ObsessionA Call for Economy and EfficiencyToward Executive EmpowermentPost-Watergate Retreat from BureaucracyEmphasis on Performance14. Courts, Judges, and the LawMyths and Realities: Are judicial decisions completely objective and final?The Supreme Court Chooses a PresidentThe Origins and Types of American LawThe Structure of the Court SystemsThe Federal and State Court SystemsLower Courts- U.S. District Courts- Courts of AppealsThe Supreme CourtSpecialized CourtsState Court SystemsInteractions among Court SystemsRecruiting and Removing JudgesFederal Judges- Asked and Answered: Are all judges selected the same way?- Appointments to the District Courts- Appointments to the Courts of Appeals- Appointments to the Supreme CourtWho Becomes a Federal Judge?Removing JudgesThe Supreme Court at WorkOral ArgumentConference WorkWriting and Announcing the OpinionInterpreting the ConstitutionThe Implementation of Court DecisionsCompliance by Other CourtsThe Role of Congress and the President in Implementing Court DecisionsPolicy Connection 14: What role does discretion play in our criminal justice system?Four Stages of Discretion in Criminal JusticeThe Aaron Swartz CaseThe Necessary Evil (?) of Discretion

Editorial Reviews

"The authors use colorful and recent examples that will help students place current events into context. The book also helps them relate current events to political patterns in history by using examples from the past in almost each chapter." --Jillian Hartley, Arkansas Northeastern College