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American Government
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American Government
Stories of a Nation, The Essentials

Second Edition
Experience with SAGE edge


January 2019 | 568 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 Second Edition of American Government, Essentials Edition, 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 Ferguson, Missouri, 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. 

American Government, Essentials Edition, is identical to the full version of the text, minus the three policy chapters.

A Complete Teaching and Learning Package

SAGE Premium Video
Included in the interactive eBook! SAGE Premium Video boosts comprehension and bolster analysis— featuring animations of basic American Government concepts and recent news clips connected to key topics in the book. Preview a video about voter turnout 

Interactive eBook
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SAGE coursepacks
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SAGE edge
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SAGE course outcomes: Measure Results, Track Success
Outlined in your text and mapped to chapter learning objectives, SAGE course outcomes are crafted with specific course outcomes in mind and vetted by advisors in the field. See how SAGE course outcomes tie in with this book’s chapter-level objectives at edge.sagepub.com/abernathy2e.

CQ Press Lecture Spark
Designed to save you time and ignite student engagement, these free weekly lecture launchers focus on current event topics tied to key concepts in American government. Access this week’s topic

Free poster: What can you do with a Political Science degree? 
Download a poster that you can print to hang in your classroom, email to colleagues, or share on social media. 
 
 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Author
 
PART I: FOUNDATIONS
 
1. AMERICAN POLITICAL STORIES: CLAIMING RIGHTS, DEMANDING TO BE HEARD
American Students Claim their Rights  
American Political Culture Is Built on a Set of Shared Ideas  
Politics and Political Action Set the Stage for Revolution  
The Structure of Institutions Affects How Citizens Participate  
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Letter from Birmingham Jail Links the Challenge Against Racial Segregation to Core American Ideals  
Conclusion: The American Experiment, Continued, and You Are Part of It  
Chapter Review  
 
2. THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES: A NEW VISION OF REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT
James Madison Plans for a Republic That Will Last  
The Confederal System Made Coordination between the States Difficult  
Delegates Reach a Compromise at teh Constitutional Convention  
Delegates Worked Out Details of the New Government  
Federalists and Anti-Federalists Fought Over Ratification  
Conclusion: The Motives of the Framers and the Effects of the Constitution Are Still Being Debated  
Chapter Review  
 
3. FEDERALISM: THE CHANGING BOUNDARIES BETWEEN THE NATION AND THE STATES
The Fight for Access to Medical Marijuana Reveals Tensions between State and Federal Law  
The Constitution Divides Power between the Nation and the States  
For Much of American History the Boundaries between the Nation and the States Were Sharper Than They Are Today  
President Franklin Roosevelt's Response to the Great Depression Reshaped American Federalism  
Modern American Federalism Remains Cooperative But Faces Challenges  
Conclusion: The Evolution of American Federalism Continues  
Chapter Review  
 
4. CIVIL LIBERTIES: BUILDING AND DEFENDING FENCES
Standing Rock: Water Protectors Claim Their Rights and Freedoms in North Dakota  
Bill of Rights Established Protections for Americans' Civil Liberties  
The First Amendment's First Two Protections Both Involve Religion  
The First Amendment Also Protects Speech, Press, Assembly, and Petitioning the Government  
The Court Also Protects Individuals Involved with the Criminal Justice System  
The Ninth and Tenth Amendments Help Shape Freedoms in the Nation and Across the States  
Conclusion: Fences Still under Construction  
Chapter Review  
 
5. CIVIL RIGHTS: HOW EQUAL IS EQUAL?
Securing Rights for Americans with Disabilities  
Civil Rights Amendments Emerge from the Civil War - But Provide Only Imperfect Protection  
Challenges to Legal Segregation Face Successes and Failures  
Securing Civil Rights for American Women  
Americans Confront Overlapping Forms of Discrimination  
Conclusion: Have Americans' Civil Rights Been Secured?  
Chapter Review  
 
PART II: POLITICAL BEHAVIOR AND MASS POLITICS
 
6. POLITICAL PARTICIPATION: CARRY THAT WEIGHT
Two Perspectives on Campus Carry of Firearms in Response to Sexual Violence on College Campuses  
Political Participation Can Take Many Forms  
Voting and Not Voting  
Another Response to Campus Sexual Violence Highlights the Fluidity of Participation  
Are Young Adult Americans Really Disconnected From the Political Process?  
Conclusion: Carring the Weight of Self-Governance  
Chapter Review  
 
7. PUBLIC OPINION: HOW ARE AMERICANS' VOICES MEASURED, AND DO THEY MATTER?
Public Opinion May Be Moved by Important Events Like Ferguson  
Public Opinion Is the Sum Total of Individual Beliefs and Attitudes  
Public Opinion Is Transmitted and Measured In Several Ways  
Political Socialization and Political Ideology Shape Public Opinion  
Ferguson and the Effects of Public Opinion on Democratic Representation  
Conclusion: The Meaning of Public Opinion  
Chapter Review  
 
8. THE MEDIA: TRUTH, POWER, AND AMERICAN DEMOCRACY
Can a Foreign Government Change a Presidential Election? How Powerful Are the Media?  
The Evolution of American Media Shows That Issues of Power and Trustworthiness Are Not New  
Questions of Bias Challenge Americans' Trust in the Media's Objectivity  
Media Ownership and Content Are Subject to Regulation  
The Power of Media to Affect the Public Is Tested  
Conclusion: Navigating The News  
Chapter Review  
 
9. PARTIES: THE INSURGENTS VERSUS THE ESTABLISHMENT
Two Presidential Candidates Shake Up the Field...and Conventional Wisdom About the Power and Cohesion of their Parties  
Parties Act to Identify, Support, and Nominate Candidates for Elected Office  
Parties Provide Labels to Candidates to Assist Voters in Making Thier Choices  
The Presidential Election of 2016 Turns the Parties on Their Heads  
Political Polarization, Gridlock, and Two-Party Dominance Are the Defining Features of Parties in Government Today  
Conclusion: The Fallout  
Chapter Review  
 
10. CAMPAIGNS AND ELECTIONS: CANDIDATES AND VOTERS IN AN ERA OF DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGE
Presidential Candidates Address Latino Voters in 2016  
National Elections Serve to Hold Officials Accountable, But Regulating Them Is Not Always Easy  
Presidential Elections Have Many Stages and Moving Parts  
A First-Timer Runs for Congress, Wins, and Then Turns Towards Re-election  
The Details of Congressional Elections Differ by STate, But Many of the Rules Are the Same  
Conclusion  
Chapter Review  
 
11. INTEREST GROUPS AND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS: COLLECTIVE ACTION, POWER, AND REPRESENTATION
A Housing Bubble Bursts...and Interests Groups Pop Out: How Wall Street Responded to a National Financial Crisis  
Americans Face Challenges in Acting Collectively in a Representative Democracy  
Interest Groups Vary by Type and Tactic  
Occupy Wall Street Illustrates the Struggles, Successes, and Failures of Social Movements  
Social Movements Employ Different Tactics from Interest Groups to Make Change and Educate  
Conclusion: Organizing in American Political Life  
Chapter Review  
 
PART III: INSTITUTIONS
 
12. CONGRESS: REPRESENTATION, ORGANIZATION, AND LEGISLATION
The Elections of 2018 Highlight the Connections Between Partisanship, Institutions, and Identities in Congress  
The Constitutions Defines Congress's Shape and Powers  
Congress Is Organized Around Formal and Informal Rules  
The Legislative Process Is Complex by Design  
Getting to Congress Involves Personal, Professional, Electoral, and Financial Factors  
Members Represent Constituents by How They Act and Who They Are  
Conclusion: The Complexity of Representation  
Chapter Review  
 
13. THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY: INDIVIDUALS, INSTITUTIONS, AND EXECTUTIVE POWER
One President's Wars: A Week in the Administration of Donald Trump  
The Constitutions OUtlines the Powers of the American Presidency  
Institutions and Other Informal Sources of Power Shape the Modern Executive Branch  
The President Has Several Tools for Unilateral Action  
Conclusion: The Paradox of Power  
Chapter Review  
 
14. THE FEDERAL BUREAUCRACY: PUTTING THE NATION'S LAWS INTO EFFECT
Federal Bureaucratic Action Consists of Many Actors and Evolves Over Time: Lessons from 21st Century Hurricanes  
Theories of Bureaucratic Organization Focus on Rules, People, and Tasks  
The Bureaucracy Has Developed In Response to Demands and Crises  
A Functioning Bureaucracy Depends Upon Effective Organization  
The Bureaucracy Is Constrained by Oversight and Reform  
Conclusion: What Does a "Good" Bureaucracy Look Like?  
Chapter Review  
 
15. THE FEDERAL JUDICIARY: POLITICS, POWER, AND THE "LEAST DANGEROUS" BRANCH
Judicial Nominees on "Trial": Politics and Supreme Court Confirmations  
The Constitution Casts the Judiciary as the Weakest Branch  
The "Trial" of John Marshall Established the Principle of Judicial Review  
The American Legal System Is Defined by Federalism  
Judicial Review Raises Quetions of Constitutional Interpretation and Judicial Decision Making  
Conclusion: The Trail of the Supreme Court Continues  
Chapter Review  
 
Appendix
 
Declaration of Independence
 
Constitution of the United States
 
Political Party Affiliations in Congress and the Presidency, 1789–2017
 
Summary of Presidential Elections, 1789–2016
 
Articles of Confederation
 
Glossary
 
Notes
 
Index

Supplements

Instructor Resource Site

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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:
    • diagnostic chapter pre-tests and post-tests that identify opportunities for improvement, track student progress, and ensure mastery of key learning objectives
    • test banks built on Bloom’s Taxonomy that provide a diverse range of test items with ExamView test generation
    • a test bank grading rubric to support the grading of essay and short-answer questions
    • activity and quiz options that allow you to choose only the assignments and tests you want 
    • instructions on how to use and integrate the comprehensive assessments and resources provided;
  • assignable data exercises in each chapter help students build essential data literacy skills using interactive data visualization tools from SAGE Stats and U.S. Political Stats. Drawing on key data series ranging from demographic patterns to state budgets to voting behavior, these exercises offer students a dynamic way to analyze real-world data and think critically about the numbers.
  • assignable SAGE Premium Video (available via the interactive eBook version, 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
    • 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 
    • 18 “Topics in American Government” videos that recap the fundamentals of American politics in every chapter—from the Bill of Rights to voter turnout to the powers of the presidency
    • Over 36 News Clips from the Associated Press that bring extra coverage of current events into the book, connecting multiple, brief 2- to 4-minute news clips to core American government chapter content
  • chapter-specific discussion questions to help launch engaging classroom interaction while reinforcing important content;
  • exclusive SAGE journal and reference content, built into course materials and assessment tools, that ties influential research and scholarship to chapter concepts;
  • editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides that offer flexibility when creating multimedia lectures so you don’t have to start from scratch;
  • sample course syllabi with suggested models for structuring your course that give you options to customize your course to your exact needs;
  • instructor manual for each chapter, including a chapter summary, learning objectives, discussion questions and ideas, and in-class activities, to support your teaching; 
  • integrated links to the interactive eBook that make it easy for students to maximize their study time with this anywhere, anytime mobile-friendly version of the text. It also offers access to more digital tools and resources, including SAGE Premium Video ; and
  • all tables and figures from the textbook 
Student Resource Site

SAGE edge for students enhances learning, is 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;
  • quizzes that allow students to practice and assess how much they’ve learned and where they need to focus their attention;
  • exclusive access to influential SAGE journal and reference content that ties important research and scholarship to chapter concepts to strengthen learning; and
  • meaningful video and web links that facilitate student use of Internet resources, further exploration of topics, and responses to critical thinking questions.

“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

“One of the main objectives of the author is get students engaged, and I think [he] goes a long way in accomplishing that goal.… [The text is] thought provoking and a pathway to presenting American Government content that will lead to promoting meaningful critical thinking and discussion among college students.”

Elizabeth Prough, PhD
Madonna University

“This text does [have a relatively] unbiased in tone and does try to integrate contemporary controversies and debates into the text. The story telling element enhances the relevance of the subject to students…The book offers a storytelling element to the traditional American government textbook. It provides built-in cases to use as examples in class that are relevant to a younger demographic.”

Agber Dimah
Chicago State University

“I think there is a very nice balance [in this text] between storytelling and substantive information…I really appreciate this…the author [also] seems to recognize its limitations and rather seamlessly moves from storytelling to the more utilitarian delivery of course content.” 

Scot Schraufnagel
Northern Illinois University

“I have had a favorable impression of the text since its gestation…I find its organization, coverage, and inclusion of stories quite helpful among other strengths.”

Samantha Mosier
Missouri State University
Key features

NEW TO THIS EDITION:

  • 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. 

 

KEY FEATURES:

  • 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 keyed to 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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