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An introductory American government textbook should do more than simply tell students that politics is relevant today, that it will affect their lives in meaningful ways. Students are best prepared to recognize this basic fact when they understand the bigger picture of 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 Developmentshows students how the nation's past is present in all aspects of contemporary politics, using the dynamics of change as a tool to understand how politics works and how institutions, systems, avenues of participation, and policies have evolved 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 evolve further, focusing in every chapter on reform and change into the future. These revisions make the seventh edition better than ever: Updates throughout to reflect the 2012 elections Coverage of President Obama's presidency and heightened polarization in Congress A renewed emphasis throughout to the impact of race, ethnicity, and gender in the development of American politics.