American Government Myths and Realities, 2016 Election Edition

by ; ;
  • ISBN13:


  • ISBN10:


  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2017-01-27
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

Note: Supplemental materials are not guaranteed with Rental or Used book purchases.

Purchase Benefits

  • Free Shipping Icon Free Shipping On Orders Over $35!
    Your order must be $35 or more to qualify for free economy shipping. Bulk sales, PO's, Marketplace items, eBooks and apparel do not qualify for this offer.
  • eCampus.com Logo Get Rewarded for Ordering Your Textbooks! Enroll Now
List Price: $111.99 Save up to $101.91
  • Rent Book $16.46
    Add to Cart Free Shipping Icon Free Shipping

    *This item is part of an exclusive publisher rental program and requires an additional convenience fee. This fee will be reflected in the shopping cart.

Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


We just experienced a historic election--driven more by common political myths and less by its realities--that will impact our political and personal lives for years to come. Rather than dismissing those myths as outright falsehoods, American Government: Myths and Realities, 2016 Election
Edition, encourages students to confront their preconceived notions in order to think critically about government and politics. Clearly and distinctively woven into each chapter, the myths-and-realities theme provides a pedagogical framework that engages students with interesting questions while
effectively covering the core concepts of American government. Priced at only $79.95, this affordable best seller provides students with definitive coverage of American government while laying out the foundation for today's generation to have a more sophisticated appreciation for our complex, yet
exciting, system of governance.

Author Biography

Alan R. Gitelson is Professor, former Assistant Provost, and former chair of the department of Political Science at Loyola University.

Robert L. Dudley is a Professor and past chair of the Department of Public and International Affairs at George Mason University.

Melvin J. Dubnick is Professor of Political Science at the University of New Hampshire and has taught in a variety of Political Science departments across the country, including UC Boulder, Emporia State, Loyola University of Chicago, the University of Kansas, Baruch College/CUNY, and Rutgers University.

Table of Contents


About the authors

Chapter 1: Making Sense of American Politics
Myths and Realities: What are the roles of reason, myth, and belief in American government?
"It Just Makes No Sense!"
The Nature and Role of Government and Politics
--What is Government?
--What is Politics?
--The Role of Government in American History
What are the Fundamental Issues of Government and Politics?
--Who Should Govern?
--Where Should Government Authority Be Vested?
Understanding American Government and Politics
--Power of Myths
--Power of Reason
--Beliefs and Ideologies
Asked and Answered: How Knowledgeable are U.S. Students about their government?
Key Terms
Focus Questions Review
Review Questions

Policy Connection 1
How Do We Make Sense of Public Policies and Programs?
The Policy Challenge
The Legal Label
The Pervasiveness of Policies
Public Policies Dealing with Public Problems
Questions for Discussion

Chapter 2: Constitutional Foundations
Myths and Realities: Is the Constitution a living document?
The Constitutional Trade-Off
An Imperfect Document
--The Setting for Constitutional Change
--The Framers
The Roots of the Constitution
--The Colonial Heritage
--The Intellectual Background
--The Onset of Revolution
What the Framers Did
--Establishing Legitimacy
--Structuring Authority
----Balancing National and State Authority
----Structuring Authority Within the National Government
----The Case of the Electoral College
--Distributing and Describing Governmental Powers
----Powers in the Federal System
----Powers Within the National Government
----Limiting Governmental Powers
--Allowing for Change
----Interpretations and Constructions
Asked and Answered So you Want to Change the Constitution?
--Adaptability and Endurance
The Five Principles
--Principle 1: The Rule of Law
--Principle 2: Republicanism
--Principle 3: Separation of Powers
--Principle 4: Checks and Balances
--Principle 5: National Supremacy
--Applying the Five Principles
Key Terms
Focus Questions Review
Review Questions

Policy Connection 2: How Can We Use Models to Make Sense of American Policymaking?
Policy Challenge
Making Sausage
The Process Models
--The Lawmaking Model
--The Policymaking Stages Model
--The Multiple Stream Model
The Decision Models
--Rational Choice
--Bargaining and Compromise
The Who Factor
Questions for Discussion

Chapter 3: Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations
Myths and Realities: Do the Individual States Retain Constitutional Sovereignty?
The Importance of Federalism
The Evolution of American Federalism
--Battles of Meaning (1790's-1860's)
--From Separation to Cooperation (1860's-1920's)
--Toward Cooperation and Local Participation (1930's-1950's)
--The Urban Focus (1960's-1970's)
--Reforming and Devolving (1970's-1990's)
--Twenty-First Century Challenges (2001 and Beyond?)
The Actors of American Federalism
--National Government Actors
----The Supreme Court
----The White House
----The Federal Bureaucracy
--States in the Federal System
--Local Governments
--Nongovernmental Actors
----Intergovernmental Lobby
Asked and Answered Who is Responsible for America's Elaborate Systems of Roads and Highways?
Key Terms
Focus Questions Review
Review Questions

Policy Connection 3: How are Education Policies and Aid to the Poor Affected by American Federalism?
The Policy Challenge
The Constitutional Setting
Education Policy
--Access to Education
--Funding of Education
--Educational Curriculum
--Educational Quality and Accountability
Aid to the Poor
--Old and New Welfare
--Other Program Changes
Questions for Discussion

Chapter 4: Civil Liberties
Myths and Realities: Do Civil Liberties Mean that We Can Do Anything We Want?
Defining and Preserving Liberty
Applying the Bill of Rights to the States
The First Amendment Freedoms
--Freedom of Speech
----Changing Standards
----Symbolic Speech
----Technology and Free Speech
--Freedom of the Press
----Prior Restraint
--Freedom of Religion
----Establishment of Religion
----Free Exercise of Religion
The Second Amendment and the Right to Keep and Bear Arms
Due Process and Crime
--Right to Counsel
--Searches and Seizures
--Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Asked and Answered: Do Police Officers Who are Conducting a Search have to Knock and Announce their Presence before Entering Your Home?
--Doctor-Assisted Suicide
Key Terms
Focus Questions Review
Review Questions

Policy Connection 4: How Can the Government Maintain its Commitment to Civil Liberties while Minimizing the Nation's Vulnerability to Attack?
The Policy Challenge
"We Are Going to War"
The Myth of Vulnerability
Repsonses to Vulnerability
--The Garrison-State Approach
--The Temporary-State-of-War Approach
--The Glass-Firewall Approach
--The Enemy-Within Approach
Questions for Discussion

Chapter 5:Civil Rights
Myths and Realities:Does Everyone have the Opportunity to Participate Equally in the American Political and Social System?
The Crime of "Driving or Shopping while Black"
The Continuing Struggle Against Racism
Asked and Answered: What Do We Mean by Jim Crow?
--Public Education
--Public Accomodations
--Voting Rights
Sex Discrimination
--Paternalism and Discrimination
--Women in the Workforce
--Women and Educational Achievement
--Sexual Harassment
Sexual Orientation
--Equal Protection and Sexual Orientation
--Same-Sex Marriage
--Changing Views
Equality and Citizenship Status
--Affirmative Action
Key Terms
Focus Questions Review
Review Questions

Policy Connection 5: What is the Relationship between American Domestic Policies and U.S. Foreign Policy?
The Policy Challenge
The Whole World Was Watching
Vulnerability and Exceptionalism
Questions for Discussion

Chapter 6: Public Opinion and Political Participation
Myths and Realities: Is There Such a Thing as Majority Opinion?
Witches, Ghosts, and Public Opinion
What is Public Opinion?
How We Develop Our Beliefs and Opinions
--Agents of Political Socialization
----Family and Friends
----The Media
----Political Culture
--Adult Socialization
How Polls Work
The Paradox of Public Opinion
Group Opinion: Diversity and Uniformity
--Age Groups: College Students and Twentysomethings
--Race and Ethnicity
Asked and Answered: Are Young People in the United States and in Other Nations Inattentive and Inactive in the Political Process?
Avenues of Political Participation
--Acting on Opinions
--What Influences Participation?
--A Closer Look at Women, African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans
----African Americans
----Asian Americans
Key Terms
Focus Questions Review
Review Questions

Policy Connection 6:How Do Public Opinion and Public Attitudes Affect Environemental Policies?
The Policy Challenge
The Public and Climate Change
Linking Opinions to the Environment
Policy Developments
Questions for Discussion

Chapter 7: Political Parties
Myths and Realities: How Much do the Democratic and Republican Parties Differ from Each Other?
Sorting Out the Puzzle of Political Parties
What Parties Are and What They Do
--Parties in the United States
--The Three-Headed Political Giant
Who Belongs to Major Parties and Why?
--In the Driver's Seat: Democrats and Republicans
--Independents: Taking a Back Seat in Politics?
--If Parties Are So Important, What Do They Do?
----Simplifying Voting
----Building Electoral Coalitions
----Developing Public Policy
----Winning Elections
----Organizing Government
----Mitigating Conflict
American-Style Politics: The Two Party System
--The Winners: The Democrats and the Republicans
--Realignment of Parties
--Why Two Parties?
----Winner Takes All
----A Division of Interests
----A Similarity of Goals
----State Laws
--The Hidden Actors: Third Parties in the United States
Asked and Answered:Shouldn't We Have More than Just Two Party Options on the Ballot?
Party Structure from the Bottom Up
--Local Parties
--State Parties
--National Parties
Key Terms
Focus Questions Review
Review Questions

Policy Connection 7: Do the Two Major Parties Really Offer Different Approaches to Managing the American Economic System?
The Policy Challenge
Images and Realities
The Role of Government in the Economy
Macroeconomic Policy Tools
Economic Development Policies
Trade Policies and Globalization
Tax Incentives
Industrial and Supply-Side Policies
Questions for Discussion

Chapter 8: Campaigns and Elections
Myths and Realities: Do Politicians Always Break Their Campaign Promises?
Campaigns and the American Public
Nominations: The Selection Process
--Why Do People Run for Office?
--The Caucus: Old-Fashioned Politics
--Primaries: The New Kid on the Block
--The Changing Role of Nominating Conventions
--Who Gets Nominated?
The Race for Office
--Financing Campaigns: The Buying and Selling of Offices?
----Act I: The Federal Election Campaign Act
----Act II: The Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act
Asked and Answered: Why can't We Reduce the Role of Money in Elections as Other Nations Do?
----Act III: Citizens United v. Federal Election Commision
----Does Money Buy Victory?
--Organizing Campaigns: The Old and the New
----Campaign Organization
----Campaign Strategy
----The New Campaign Style
The Media and Campaigns: Are We Brainwashed?
Campaigns and Political Parties
Voting and Elections
--Who is Allowed to Vote?
--Who Votes?
----Demographics and Voter Turnout
----The Disappointed Electorate
--Why Do People Vote the Way They Do?
----Candidate Image
----Party Identification
----Retrospective Voting
----Group Influences
--The Other Elections: Referenda and Initiatives
The 2014 Elections
The Electoral College
Promises, Promises: The Link Between Campaigns and Public Policy
Key Terms
Focus Questions Review
Review Questions

Policy Connection 8: Are Elections an Effective Way to Make Public Policies?
The Policy Challenge
Electing a Public Policy
A Brief History of Referenda and Initiatives
Questions for Discussion

Chapter 9: Interest Groups
Myths and Realities: Are All Interest Groups Corrupt and Self-Serving?
Interest Groups, Lobbying, and Congress
Movers and Shakers: Interest and Other Advocacy Groups
--Interest Groups
Asked and Answered: Are College Students Represented by Interest Groups?
----Economic Interest Groups
----Citizen Activist Interest Groups
----Public-Sector Interest Groups
----Foreign Nation Interest Groups
--PACs and Super PACs
What Makes an Interest Group Powerful?
--Information and Expertise
--Countervailing Forces
Interest-Group Tactics: "You Don't Lobby with Hundred-Dollar Bills and Wild Parties"
--Electioneering and Policymaking
--Building Coalitions
--Grassroots Pressure: Power to the People
--Hard-Line Tactics
Interest Groups and Democracy
Key Terms
Focus Questions Review
Review Questions

Policy Connection: How Have Some Interest Groups Been Able to Shape American Public Policies?
The Policy Challenge
The Hundred Years War
Questions for Discussion

Chapter 10: Media and Politics
Myths and Realities: Do the Media have the Power to Influence Public Opinion?
The Tangled Trail of the Day Radio Panicked the Nation
The Rise of the Media
--The Early Days
--The Broadcast Media
--Diversity and Concentration
--Government Regulation
----Government Licensing
----Equal Time
Making News
The Effects of the Mass Media
--Setting the Agenda
--Conducting Politics in the Media: Old and New
The Uneasy Alliance Between Government and the Media
--Covering the President
----Press Conferences
----Going Public
Asked and Answered: What are Leaks, and Where Do They Come From?
--Covering Congress
--Covering the Courts
Key Terms
Focus Question Review
Review Questions

Policy Connection 10: How Do Government Policies Shape the Media Landscape?
The Policy Challenge
How Government Created Corporations
Antitrust Enforcement as Policy
That's Entertainment!
Questions for Discussion

Chapter 11: Congress
Myths and Realities: Is Congress Ineffective and Buried Under Partisan Bickering?
Filibustering One's Own Bill
A Portrait of Congress
--Stability and Change in the Make-up of Congress
----Education and Occupation
----Race and Sex
Asked and Answered: Why are there so few women serving in legislative bodies?
--Getting Elected
The Work of Congress
--Making Laws
--The Power to Tax
--Producing the Budget
--Congressional Oversight
The Organization of Congress
--Congressional Leadership
----Leadership in the House
----Leadership in the Senate
--The Committee System
----Types of Committees
----Committee Size and Membership
----Committee Assignments
----Committee Leadership
--The Congressional Staff
How a Bill Becomes a Law
--Committee Consideration
--Floor Action
----The House Floor
----The Senate Floor
--Conference Work
Congressional Voting
Key Terms
Focus Questions Review
Review Questions

Policy Connection 11: What Policies are Responsible for the National Debt?
The Policy Challenge
The Debt Itself
Tax Expenditures
Mandatory Spending and Entitlements
Discretionary Spending
It's Complicated...
Questions for Discussion

Chapter 12: The Presidency
Myths and Realities: Is the President all-powerful?
They Are All Mine
The Growth of the Presidency
--First Presidents
--The Modern Presidency
Presidential Roles
--Chief of State
--Chief Executive
----Powers to Appoint and Remove
----Power to Pardon
----Executive Privilege
--Chief Diplomat
----Executive Agreements
----Congressional-Executive Agreements
----Power of Recognition
----Diplomatic Appointments
--Chief Legislator
----Recommending Legislation
----The Veto Power
----The Line-Item Veto
Asked and Answered: What is a Signing Statement?
--The Seamless Web
The Institutional Presidency
--The Cabinet
--The Executive Office of the President
----The Office of Management and Budget
----The Council of Economic Advisors
----The National Security Council
The White House Office: Two Management Styles
--The Vice President
Presidential Influence
--Persuading Congress
----Party Loyalty
----Staffy Lobbyists
----Personal Appeal
--Public Opinion
Key Terms
Focus Questions Review
Review Questions

Policy Connection 12: Does the President Really Control American Foreign Policy?
Policy Challenge
Containment Approaches
Postcontainment Approaches
The Myth of the Grand Strategy
Questions for Discussion

Chapter 13: Bureaucracy
Myths and Realities: Are Washington Bureaucrats Unresponsive and Incompetent?
Cries for Help--and Shattered Expectations
A Profile of Federal Bureaucracy
--Who Are the Bureaucrats?
----Political Appointees
Asked and Answered: What are the Plum Jobs in the Federal Government?
----Merit Systems
----Wage Systems
--What Do Federal Bureaucrats Do?
--Where Do Civil Servants Work?
----Executive Office of the President
----The Cabinet Departments
----Independent Executive Branch Agencies
----Regulatory Commissions
----Government Corporations
----Other Agencies
--A Diverse Institution
The Growth of American Bureaucracy
--Overview of Bureaucratic Growth
--Explaining the Growth of the Bureaucracy
Bureaucratic Power
--The Sources of Bureaucratic Power
----External Support
----Administrative Discretion
----Longevity in Office
----Skill and Leadership
--The Limits on Bureaucratic Power
----Self-Restraint and Limited Resources
----The White House
----The Courts
----Limits and Responsiveness
Bureaucratic Problems and Reforms
--Bureaucratic Pathologies
----Pathological Incrementalism
--Calls for Reform
Key Terms
Focus Questions Review
Review Questions

Policy Connection 13: Have Poilcymakers addressed the Problems of Incompetent and Unresponsive Government?
The Policy Challenge
The Progressive Obsession
A Call for Economy and Efficiency
Toward Executive Empowerment
Post-Watergate Retreat from Bureaucracy
Emphasis on Performance
Questions for Discussion

Chapter 14: Courts, Judges, and the Law
Myths and Realities: Are Judicial Decisions Completely Objective and Final?
The Supreme Court Chooses a President
The Origins and Types of American Law
The Structure of the Court Systems
The Federal and State Court Systems
--Lower Courts
----U.S. District Courts
----Courts of Appeals
--The Supreme Court
--Specialized Courts
--State Court Systems
--Interactions Among Court Systems
Recruiting and Removing Federal Judges
Asked and Answered: Are All Judges Selected the Same Way?
----Appointments to the District Courts
----Appointments to the Courts of Appeals
----Appointments to the Supreme Court
--Who Becomes a Federal Judge?
--Removing Judges
The Supreme Court at Work
--Oral Argument
--Conference Work
--Writing and Announcing the Opinion
--Interpreting the Constitution
The Implementation of Court Decisions
--Compliance by Other Courts
--The Role of Congress and the President in Implementing Court Decisions
Key Terms
Focus Questions Review
Review Questions

Policy Connection 14: What Role Does Discretion Play in Our Criminal Justice System?
The Policy Challenge
The Four Stages of Discretion in Criminal Justice
The Aaron Swartz Case
The Necessary Evil (?) of Discretion
Questions for Discussion

Chapter 15: Domestic Policy and Policymaking (available online at www.oup.com/us/gitelson)
Chapter 16: Foreign and Defense Policy (available online at www.oup.com/us/gitelson)
Appendix I: The Declaration of Independence

Appendix II: The Constitution of the United States of America

Rewards Program

Write a Review