American Politics and Society

American Politics and Society


384 Pages


Completely revised and updated to take full account of the most recent and dramatic changes in the nature of American government, the sixth edition provides a clear and concise introduction to US politics for all students of political science and American studies.
  • Explains, analyses and interprets the processes of US government and, crucially, appraises them from a non-US perspective. Includes commentary on the 2004 presidential election.
  • Fills in the social background to American political and economic life, preparing the ground for the central discussion of the book: the institutions of the federal government, Congress, the Supreme Court and the Constitution, the federal system, the Presidency, the party bandwagons and the electoral system.
  • Reduced emphasis on limited government and greater emphasis on foreign and domestic policy linked into the War on Terror. Reworked throughout to reflect recent developments, with two completely new chapters on The Media and American Politics, and The Security State.
  • Supported by a website,, including information on the book; its detailed contents; the author; controversies; sample chapters; selected tables; related titles; and links to other web resources. It will be regularly updated to ensure teachers and students have access to the most recent data.



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Published 04 February 2009
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EAN13 9781405151894
License: All rights reserved
Language English

Legal information: rental price per page €. This information is given for information only in accordance with current legislation.

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List of Plates List of Figures List of Tables Preface to the Sixth Edition Acknowledgements
Limited versus Active Government in an Uncertain Age The Chapters to Come
Beliefs, Values and American Society The Nature of American Beliefs and Values Values and American Society Social Structure
Constitutional Government Origins The American Constitution Ratification The Adaptive Constitution Assessing the Constitution
Federalism: Why the States Still Matter Federalism in Theory and Practice The Evolution of American Federalism Fiscal Federalism: The Rise, Fall and Rise of the Federal Role A Changing Court Role? The Pressure for National Standards American Federalism Under Pressure
ix xi xiii xv xvii
1 4
6 6 19 28
39 40 43 50 51 55
59 60 63 66 73 75 76
The Changing Role of Political Parties The Functions of Parties Crisis and Change in the American Party System Party Decline? Explaining Party Change After 2000 – Political Party Revival?
Elections and Political Participation Patterns of American Electoral Behaviour TheAmerican VoterModel and the New Deal Coalition The Decline of Partisanship and the New Deal Coalition, 1960–92 The Return of Ideology? Electoral Politics after 2000 Nonelectoral Political Participation
The Media and American Politics Media Structure and Organization Organization and Ownership News, Bias and Political Influence Censorship and Control The Media and American Democracy
US Legislators and Their Constituents Representation and Congress Congressional Elections Legislators as Rational Actors The Work of Members of Congress Conclusions
Congress as Legislature: Functions and Powers The Functions of Congress The Structure of Power in Congress Congress: The People’s Branch? Reform and Change in Congress Can the New Ideological Congress Lead?
The Presidency Formal Sources of Power Informal Powers The Changing Nature of the Presidency The Presidency in a Changing America Presidential Abuse of Power and the Congressional Response Presidential Resources Assessing the Presidency: Presidential Power at Home and Abroad
Bureaucratic Power: Federal Departments and Agencies The Federal Bureaucracy: Organization and Function
79 80 85 91 97 99
103 105 111 117 121 127
135 136 138 139 143 144
146 147 149 155 160 162
165 166 166 175 182 188
192 193 195 197 206 210 213 223
227 228
The Bureaucracy: How Uncontrollable? The Inherent Power of Bureaucracy The Bureaucratic Hydra: A Uniquely American Phenomenon? Reform Attempts Concluding Remarks
The Security State The Rise of the Security State 9/11, The Patriot Act and the Department of Homeland Security Threats to Civil Liberties The Security State and American Values
Organized Interests: The Real Power? Interests, Groups and Lobbyists Economic Groups Professional Groups Promotional Groups Political Action Committees The Washington Lobby Interest Groups: For and Against
The Supreme Court and Judicial Politics The American Legal System The Supreme Court: Decisionmaking The Court and Political Power The Polarized and Activist Rehnquist Court Conclusions: The Court and American Democracy
Regulating Morality: Civil Rights, Liberties and the Conscience Issues Introduction Regulating Public Morality Civil Liberties Equality and Civil Rights Conclusions
Social Policy in America: Selfreliance and State Dependence The Federal Government and Social Welfare in America: The Reluctant Provider Federalism Social Security, Medicare and the Electoral Connection The Continuing Importance of Selfreliance Healthcare Reforms Conclusions
Managing Economic Change State and Economy in the United States
234 235 236 240 243
246 247 249 251 253
256 258 259 266 268 270 274 275
280 282 284 290 302 304
307 307 308 308 315 320
322 324 325 327 329 330
332 333
Ideology and Economic Policy Institutions and Economic Policy Conclusions: Economic Policy in an Age of Uncertainty
The American World Role The Institutional Context American Foreign Policy in the Post9/11 World Conclusions: Bound to Lead or Bound to Fail?
The American Political System in the Post9/11 World Assessing the American Polity Reform and Renewal
Websites Appendix: The Constitution of the United States Index
335 339 347
349 350 353 358
360 360 364
367 370 392