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American Politics and Society, 6th Edition

ISBN: 978-1-4051-5189-4
384 pages
February 2009, Wiley-Blackwell
American Politics and Society, 6th Edition (1405151897) cover image
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, www.blackwellpublishing.com/mckay, 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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    List of Plates.

    List of Figures.

    List of Tables.

    Preface to the Sixth Edition.

    Acknowledgements.

    1. Limited Versus Active Government in an Uncertain Age.

    The Chapters to Come.

    2 Beliefs, Values and American Society.

    The Nature of American Beliefs and Values.

    Values and American Society.

    Social Structure.

    3. Constitutional Government.

    Origins: A Unique Experiment.

    The American Constitution.

    Ratification.

    The Adaptive Constitution.

    Assessing the Constitution.

    4. Federalism: Why the States Still Matter.

    Federalism in Theory and Practice.

    The Evolution of American Federalism.

    Fiscal Federalism: the Rise and Fall of the Federal Role.

    A Changing Court Role?.

    The Pressure for National Standards.

    American Federalism Under Pressure.

    5. 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?.

    6. Elections and Political Participation.

    Patterns of American Electoral Behaviour.

    The Modern American Voter Model and the New Deal Coalition.

    The Decline of Partisanship and the New Deal Coalition: the 1960s to 1990s.

    Electoral Politics After 2000.

    Non-electoral Political Participation.

    7. The Media and American Politics.

    Media organization and structure.

    News, Bias and Political Information.

    Censorship and Control.

    The Media and American Democracy.

    8. US Legislators and Their Constituents.

    Representation and Congress.

    Congressional Elections.

    Legislators as Rational Actors.

    The Work of Members of Congress.

    Conclusions.

    9. Congress as Legislature: Functions and Powers.

    The Functions of Congress.

    The Structure of Power in Congress.

    Congress under Fire.

    The Rise of Part Ideology.

    Reform and Change in Congress.

    Can the New Ideological Congress Lead?.

    10. The Presidency.

    Formal Sources of Power.

    Informal Powers.

    The Presidency in Crisis.

    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.

    11. Bureaucratic Power: Federal Departments and Agencies.

    The Federal Bureaucracy: Organization and Function.

    The Bureaucracy: How Uncontrollable?.

    The Inherent Power of Bureaucracy.

    The Bureaucratic Hydra: a Uniquely American Phenomenon?.

    Reform Attempts.

    Concluding Remarks.

    12. 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.

    13. 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.

    14. The Supreme Court and Judicial Politics.

    The American Legal System.

    The Supreme Court: Decision-making.

    The Court and Political Power: the Polarised Rehnquist Court.

    Conclusions: the Court and American Democracy.

    15. Regulating Morality: Civil Rights, Liberties and the Conscience Issues.

    Introduction.

    Regulating Public Morality.

    Civil Liberties.

    Equality and Civil Rights.

    Conclusions.

    16. Social Policy in America: Self-reliance and State Dependence.

    The Federal Government and Social Welfare in America: the.

    Reluctant Provider.

    Welfare Reforms.

    Health Care Reforms.

    Conclusions.

    17. Managing Economic Change.

    State and Economy in the United States.

    Ideology and Economic Policy.

    Institutions and Economic Policy.

    Conclusions: Economic Policy in an Age of Uncertainty.

    18. The American World Role.

    The Institutional Context.

    American Foreign Policy in the Post 9/11 Era.

    The War on Terrorism.

    Conclusions: Bound to Lead or Bound to Fail?.

    19. American Politics in the Post 9/11 World.

    Assessing the American Polity.

    Reform and Renewal.

    Websites.

    Appendix: The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution of the United States.

    Index

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    David McKay is Professor of Government at the University of Essex. He is the author of numerous books and articles on American and comparative politics, including Designing Europe: Comparative Lessons from the Federal Experience (2001), winner of the Political Studies Association W. J. M. MacKenzie prize for the best book published in 2001. He is the co-author of The New British Politics (2007).
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    • Completely revised and updated to take full account of the most recent and dramatic changes in the nature of American government, this 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; 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.
    See More
    “Once again, McKay has delivered an excellent introduction to US politics. American Politics and Society is not just a re-write of previous editions, but a genuinely up-to-date and engaging volume that embraces recent developments in the US political system.” Jon Herbert, University of Keele

    "Since it was first published I have always used David McKay's text for teaching American politics since it is ideal for introducing the subject to British students. This new edition is greatly to be welcomed. It is up-to-date and, like its predecessors, accessible and interesting for students. American Society and Politics will - deservedly - be a core text on numerous introductory courses." David Denver, Lancaster University

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