American Government: Political Change and Institutional Development

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Routledge, 2007 - Political Science - 521 pages
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An introductory American government textbook should do more than simply tell students that politics is important, that it will affect your lives in meaningful ways. Students are best prepared to recognize this basic fact when they understand how the system works, how it got that way, and what are the possibilities for change. Cal Jillson's "American Government: Political Change and Institutional Development" provides not only a sense of relevance, but also a sense of "how" politics works and how institutions, systems, avenues of participation, and policies have changed over time to produce today's political environment in the United States. Going one step further, Jillson identifies the critical question of how American democracy might work better.The Fourth Edition is thoroughly updated to incorporate a full analysis of the 2006 elections and the shift in partisan control of Congress. To put this pivotal election and other recent events in context, each chapter opens with a discussion of the origins and development of its subject, whether it's Congress, the electoral system, the Presidency, parties, or the United States' place in the world. Once students understand this evolution and why American politics functions the way it does they are ready to explore what alternatives might looking like, leading to a concluding section in each chapter on key areas of reform. In a streamlined presentation, Jillson delivers a concise and engaging narrative to help students understand the complexities and importance of American politics. Along the way, several pedagogical features foster critical thinking and analysis.Focus questions at the beginning of every chapter highlight the central issues for students to look for, and marginal notes throughout the chapter indicate the relevant discussions for addressing these questions. Colorful figures and charts help students visualize important information.

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About the author (2007)

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).

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