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American Government

American Government
Stories of a Nation

Third Edition
Additional resources:

January 2021 | 640 pages | CQ Press
“The main strength of this book is that it presents a ‘human’ side to American Government that challenges students to think critically while still presenting the ‘teaching’ side with objectives, self-tests, and chapter reviews.” 
—Kathleen Barrett, University of West Georgia

In the Third Edition of American Government, author Scott F. Abernathy tunes in to the voices of all Americans, showing how our diverse ideas shape the way we participate and behave, the laws we live by, and the challenges we face. From the Constitutional Convention to the protests in Minneapolis, each chapter features rich, personal narratives that illustrate how the American political system is the product of strategies, calculations, and miscalculations of countless individuals. It focuses on real people, the actions they take, the struggles they face, and how their choices influence outcomes. The key concepts are memorable because they are tied to real politics, where students see political action and political choices shaping how institutions advance or impede the fulfillment of fundamental ideas. Participation is at the heart of this groundbreaking new text, with ample background on how and why to participate. Not only will all students see themselves reflected in the pages, but they will come to understand that they, too, are strategic players in American politics, with voices that matter. 

Part I: Foundations
Chapter 1: American Political Stories: Claiming Rights, Demanding to Be Heard
Chapter 2: The Constitution of the United States: A New Vision of Representative Government
Chapter 3: Federalism: The Changing Boundaries between the Nation and the States
Chapter 4: Civil Liberties: Building and Defending Fences
Chapter 5: Civil Rights: How Equal is Equal?
Part II: Political Behavior and Mass Politics
Chapter 6: Political Participation: Carry That Weight
Chapter 7: Public Opinion: How Are Americans’ Voices Measured, and Do They Matter?
Chapter 8: The Media: Truth, Trust, and Power
Chapter 9: Political Parties: The Insurgents versus the Establishment
Chapter 10: Campaigns and Elections: Candidates and Voters in a Time of Uncertainty and Change
Chapter 11: Interest Groups and Social Movements: Collective Action, Power, and Representation
Part III: Institutions
Chapter 12: Congress: Representation, Organization, and Legislation
Chapter 13: The American Presidency: Individuals, Institutions, and Power
Chapter 14: The Federal Bureaucracy: Putting the Nation’s Laws into Effect
Chapter 15: The Federal Judiciary: Politics, Power, and the “Least Dangerous” Branch
Part IV: Policy
Chapter 16: Domestic Public Policy: The Politics of Promoting the General Welfare
Chapter 17: Economic Policy: Representing Americans’ Financial Interests
Chapter 18: Foreign Policy: Advancing American Interests in an Uncertain and Changing World


Instructor Resource Site

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Don’t use an LMS platform? No problem, you can still access many of the online resources for your text via SAGE edge.


With SAGE coursepacks, you get:

·         quality textbook content delivered directly into your LMS;

·         an intuitive, simple format that makes it easy to integrate the material into your course with minimal effort;

·         assessment tools that foster review, practice, and critical thinking, including:

o    diagnostic chapter quizzes that identify opportunities for improvement, track student progress, and ensure mastery of key learning objectives

o    test banks built on Bloom’s Taxonomy that provide a diverse range of test items with electronic test generation

o    instructions on how to use and integrate the comprehensive assessments and resources provided;

  • assignable SAGE Premium Video (available via the Vantage course, linked through SAGE coursepacks) that is tied to learning objectives, and curated exclusively for this text to bring concepts to life, featuring:
    • Corresponding multimedia assessment options that automatically feed to your gradebook

o    Comprehensive, downloadable, easy-to-use Media Guide in the Coursepack for every video resource, listing the chapter to which the video content is tied, matching learning objective(s), a helpful description of the video content, and assessment questions

      ·        an instructor's manual with chapter-specific discussion questions and class activities to help launch engaging classroom interaction while reinforcing important content;
      ·         editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides that offer flexibility when creating multimedia lectures so you don’t have to start from scratch; and
      ·         all tables and figures from the textbook
Student Study Site


SAGE edge for students enhances learning, it’s easy to use, and offers:

·         an open-access site that makes it easy for students to maximize their study time, anywhere, anytime;

·         eFlashcards that strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts; and

·         learning objectives that reinforce the most important material.

Key features


  • Two new “Practicing Political Science” boxes in every chapter help students become more capable and critical readers of arguments made through data, images, and text.
  • New case studies keep students engaged by connecting key concepts to recent events, such as the Standing Rock pipeline protests in a chapter on civil liberties, discussions of “fake news” in the media chapter, and an in-depth exploration of one week in the administration of President Trump as a tool with which to examine the role of personality and institutions in presidential power.
  • Up-to-date 2018 midterm election coverage and analysis, particularly in the chapters on Congress, the presidency, and political parties, provide students with a current snapshot of the results and an overview of the bipartisan battle for Senate.
  • SAGE course outcomes help you track and measure student success. Crafted with specific course outcomes in mind and vetted by advisors in the field, SAGE course outcomes clearly define and benchmark the knowledge and skills students are expected to achieve upon completion of your course. See how outcomes tie in with this book’s chapter-level objectives. 
  • Updated throughout to account for recent developments including:
    • Coverage of the first two years of the Trump administration;
    • Analysis of the outcome of the 2018 midterm elections and the battle for control of Congress;
    • Examination of the current debates on immigration reform, campus sexual violence, gun ownership (with coverage of the 2018 Parkland, Florida school shooting and its aftermath), and the legalization of marijuana;
    • Discussion around the continued politics of polarization;
    • Coverage of contemporary civil rights and liberties issues, including the LGBTQ rights movement, the rights of indigenous peoples and Americans with disabilities, police violence and NFL protests, and an examination of the ways various groups’ struggles for civil rights are interconnected;
    • Assessment of modern media’s influence in politics, including the spread of fake news and accusations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election;
    • The impact of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria and the federal government’s response;
    • Coverage of the school choice movement under Education Secretary Betsy DeVos;
    • Exploration of today’s American economy, including the impact of student loan debt, the debate over the minimum wage, and a rising federal deficit; and
    • Foreign policy coverage of the shifting U.S.-Russian relationship, including the Syrian civil war and growing concern over cybersecurity.


  • Each chapter begins with a compelling narrative about real people that illuminates a central issue or problem the chapter will deal with, bringing those concepts to life. Abernathy picks up threads of those narratives throughout the chapter, seamlessly integrating the narrative into the core content.
  • Learning objectives at the start of each chapter guide students through their studies and are tied to features throughout the chapter to ensure those objectives are met.
  • Chapter overviews in the opener of each chapter help students focus on core content and make connections to the chapter narratives.
  • Bulleted reminders are placed at the start of each section, helping students easily identify which learning objectives are being addressed.  
  • Every section ends with a “What Have I Learned?” quiz that allows students to self-test on the content as they go.
  • Chapter Reviews at the end of each chapter are tied to the learning objectives and each of the major chapter sections, distilling key points students need to remember and glossary terms to understand.
  • Appendices include the Articles of Confederation, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, Federalist Nos. 10 and 51, Political Party Affiliations in Congress and the Presidency, and a Summary of Presidential Elections.
  • SAGE coursepacks allows instructors to import high-quality content into their school’s learning management system (LMS) with no access codes.
  • SAGE edge provides students helpful tools, including eFlashcards, practice quizzes, and more, in one easy-to-use online environment. 

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