This book brings the study of American politics and government alive by presenting American politics as a dramatic narrative of conflict and change. It adopts an American political development approach in order to show how the past, present, and visions of the future interact to shape governing institutions and political forces. There is a strong emphasis on the role of ideas. Two key political development principles - path dependency and critical choice - are central to explaining how and why the past affects the present and future. Each chapter begins with an opening vignette that epitomizes the key themes of the chapter. The book's developmental approach does not diminish the attention it gives to current matters but it does provide a richer context for the appreciation and understanding of the whole gamut of attitudes, behaviors, organizational activities, and institutional relationships that comprise American political and governmental life.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction; Part I. Formative Experiences: 2. Political inheritance, political culture; 3. Contesting the Constitution; 4. Political development; Part II. Pivotal Relationships: 5. Federalism; 6. Political economy; Part III. Governing Institutions: 7. Congress; 8. The presidency; 9. The judiciary; 10. Bureaucracy; Part IV. Political Forces: 11. Parties, campaigns, and elections; 12. Participation, public opinion, media; 13. Concluding thoughts.