Perspectives on American Government: Readings in Political Development and Institutional Change

2nd Edition

Cal Jillson, David Brian Robertson

Published February 25, 2014
Textbook - 580 Pages
ISBN 9780415735223 - CAT# Y160394

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The second edition of this much-admired book offers an accessible and coherent selection of readings illustrating for students the depth and contours of how American politics has developed over time. Grounded in foundational debates, classic political science scholarship, and the best contemporary analysis of American political development, this reader invites students to probe the historical dynamics that brought the United States to where it is today and how those dynamics are likely to affect its future course.

This well-designed and up-to-date reader is an invitation to instructors to draw your students into a deeper conversation on the key themes and topics in each section of your course. The second edition features:

  • Revised introductions and selections
  • 33 new readings
  • Expanded sections on civil rights and civil liberties.

Jillson and Robertson have carefully edited each selection to ensure readability and fidelity to the original arguments. Their insightful editorial introductions frame the context in which these topics are studied and understood. Several key pedagogical tools help students along the way:

  • An introductory essay provides an overview of American political development and current examples of why history matters
  • Chapter introductions to provide necessary context situating the readings in broader debates
  • Head notes at the start of each reading to contextualize that selection
  • Questions for Discussion at the end of each chapter, prompting students to draw out the implications and connections across readings
  • Further Reading lists at the end of each chapter to guide student research

The broad readings in this volume take seriously the effort to present materials that help students make sense of the historical changes and institutional developments that are essential for understanding American government and politics today.


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