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American Government

(20 reviews)

Glen Krutz, University of Oklahoma

Sylvie Waskiewicz

Pub Date: 2016

ISBN 13: 9781938168178

Publisher: OpenStax CNX

Language: English

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Reviewed by Carley Shinault, Assistant Professor, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania on 3/13/19

The text covers the full range of standard American Government textbooks, from government and civic engagement, to civil liberties and rights to branches of government and foreign policy. This text could very easily replace the book I have used... read more


Reviewed by Angie Hull, Assistant Teaching Professor, MOBIUS on 1/15/19

Comprehensive in terms of concepts and how they related to current ideas. Uses contemporary examples, but not in depth cases that may be needed in higher level courses. However, the concepts are so strong here (thorough, well laid out) that an... read more


Reviewed by Peter Wielhouwer, Associate Professor of Political Science, Western Michigan University on 12/15/18

This text covers nearly all of the major topics covered in American Government texts. From the origins of the US political system, the constitutional framework, participatory inputs, formal institutions, and public policy, the major points are... read more


Reviewed by Robert Perry, Chair, Department of Social Sciences, The University of Texas of the Permian Basin on 6/20/18

Very well done. The text covers everything that an introduction to American government should. read more


Reviewed by Alexander Cohen, Assistant Professor, Augustana College on 6/20/18

By the standards of Introduction to American Politics textbooks, this is a comprehensive offering. Offers coverage of topics that most instructors would cover in such a class, including political behavior, civil rights/liberties, American... read more


Reviewed by M. Victoria Perez-Rios, Adjunct Assistant Professor, La Guardia Community College on 5/22/18

The textbook is very comprehensive with more than 650 pages of content plus appendices with relevant documents. Although in the last decade I have opted for brief editions of American government, in an electronic format a longer text is useful for... read more


Reviewed by Eric Radezky, Adjunct Professor, LaGuardia Community College, CUNY on 5/22/18

This textbook is very comprehensive. All of the topics you would expect to be covered in an American government 101 course are here: origins of our republic, institutions, individual action and collective action. The various appendixes include... read more


Reviewed by Matthew Wright, Associate Professor, American University on 2/2/18

The book is comprehensive in that it has everything I usually look for in an intro to American government text: - clear framing around basic theories of representation and collective action (probably less explicitly on the latter than something... read more


Reviewed by Nicholas Pyeatt, Associate Professor of Political Science, Penn State, Altoona on 2/2/18

The book is very comprehensive. If anything, the text may be a bit on the long side. It covers all of the major topics an introductory text should cover and a few others as well. The index is clear and useful and the chapter glossaries are... read more


Reviewed by Nicole Kalaf-Hughes, Assistant Professor, Bowling Green State University on 2/2/18

The text covers all areas that one would expect from an introduction to American Government textbook. There are some chapters I would probably not use (the policy chapters) and I would prefer the chapters in a different order (institutions before... read more


Reviewed by Randall Newnham, Professor of Political Science, Penn State University, Berks Campus on 2/2/18

Coverage same as most standard Am Gov textbooks, with chapters organized same as most (expensive) standard texts and each chapter about as long as standard texts. Has good index. read more


Reviewed by Wayne Jones, Assistant Professor, Virginia State University on 6/21/17

American Government is a very comprehensive textbook. In reviewing the table of contents, I found the book has a logical flow that begins with defining what government is and then proceeds to provide information on the critical subjects of our... read more


Reviewed by Nicholas Goedert, Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech on 6/21/17

The text is impressively comprehensive, both with respect to its range of coverage and depth of discussion of each topic. The book is actually slightly longer and denser than other texts I have assigned for an introductory course in American... read more


Reviewed by Gale Czerski, Adult Basic Education Instructor, Portland Community College on 6/21/17

This textbook provides a comprehensive framework for introductory American government. Multiple perspectives on issues and areas of controversy are acknowledged.Enduring themes and tensions between ideas and realities are presented in a way that... read more


Reviewed by Brian Jones, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Political Science, Northern Virginia Community College on 6/21/17

The comprehensiveness of Krutz's American Government text is such that it more than adequately addresses the curricular requirements of the American government and politics courses offered by the Virginia Community College System. As an... read more


Reviewed by Mary Anne K. Clarke, Adjunct Faculty, Rhode Island College on 4/12/17

American Government by Glenn Krutz covers a lot of ground. Similar to other Introduction to American Government textbooks this book covers the typical material and then some. Right from the get go I enjoyed the section on Civic Engagement as... read more


Reviewed by Charles Young, Associate Professor, Umpqua Community College on 2/9/17

I am impressed with the comprehensiveness of the textbook. Right from the start is an engaging "What is Government" and "Who governs" introductory sections, followed by excellent descriptions of our constitutional backgrounds and developments,... read more


Reviewed by Leslie Caughell, Assistant Professor, Virginia Wesleyan College on 2/9/17

This book is very comprehensive. The only suggestion that I would make is to include a little bit more political psychology, especially in the chapters on public opinion and the media. In particular, I would like to see some more/more direct... read more


Reviewed by Amanda Sink , Senior Lecturer , UNCG on 12/6/16

It covers all the areas that may be taught in an American Government intro class. Not every one covers Civil Rights and Liberties or Foreign and Domestic Policy, but this text does offer a chapter on each of those. It also includes a chapter on... read more


Reviewed by Shawn Osborne, Instructor, Portland Community College on 8/22/16

As an introduction to American Government, the text covers the areas and ideas of the subject at a very comprehensive level. It provides an effective index as well as a glossary of key terms at the end of each chapter. read more


Table of Contents


1. Students and the System
1.1. American Government and Civic Engagement
1.1.1. Introduction
1.1.2. What is Government?
1.1.3. Who Governs? Elitism, Pluralism, and Tradeoffs
1.1.4. Engagement in a Democracy
1.2. The Constitution and Its Origins
1.2.1. Introduction
1.2.2. The Pre-Revolutionary Period and the Roots of the American Political Tradition
1.2.3. The Articles of Confederation
1.2.4. The Development of the Constitution
1.2.5. The Ratification of the Constitution
1.2.6. Constitutional Change
1.3. American Federalism
1.3.1. Introduction
1.3.2. The Division of Powers
1.3.3. The Evolution of American Federalism
1.3.4. Intergovernmental Relationships
1.3.5. Competitive Federalism Today
1.3.6. Advantages and Disadvantages of Federalism

2. Individual Agency and Action
2.1. Civil Liberties
2.1.1. Introduction
2.1.2. What Are Civil Liberties?
2.1.3. Securing Basic Freedoms
2.1.4. The Rights of Suspects
2.1.5. Interpreting the Bill of Rights
2.2. Civil Rights
2.2.1. Introduction
2.2.2. What Are Civil Rights and How Do We Identify Them?
2.2.3. The African American Struggle for Equality
2.2.4. The Fight for Women's Rights
2.2.5. Civil Rights for Indigenous Groups: Native Americans, Alaskans, and Hawaiians
2.2.6. Equal Protection for Other Groups
2.3. The Politics of Public Opinion
2.3.1. Introduction
2.3.2. The Nature of Public Opinion
2.3.3. How Is Public Opinion Measured?
2.3.4. What Does the Public Think?
2.3.5. The Effects of Public Opinion
2.4. Voting and Elections
2.4.1. Introduction
2.4.2. Voter Registration
2.4.3. Voter Turnout
2.4.4. Elections
2.4.5. Campaigns and Voting
2.4.6. Direct Democracy

3. Toward Collective Action: Mediating Institutions
3.1. The Media
3.1.1. Introduction
3.1.2. What Is the Media?
3.1.3. The Evolution of the Media
3.1.4. Regulating the Media
3.1.5. The Impact of the Media
3.2. Political Parties
3.2.1. Introduction
3.2.2. What Are Parties and How Did They Form?
3.2.3. The Two-Party System
3.2.4. The Shape of Modern Political Parties
3.2.5. Divided Government and Partisan Polarization
3.3. Interest Groups and Lobbying
3.3.1. Introduction
3.3.2. Interest Groups Defined
3.3.3. Collective Action and Interest Group Formation
3.3.4. Interest Groups as Political Participation
3.3.5. Pathways of Interest Group Influence
3.3.6. Free Speech and the Regulation of Interest Groups

4. Delivering Collective Action: Formal Institutions
4.1. Congress
4.1.1. Introduction
4.1.2. The Institutional Design of Congress
4.1.3. Congressional Elections
4.1.4. Congressional Representation
4.1.5. House and Senate Organizations
4.1.6. The Legislative Process
4.2. The Presidency
4.2.1. Introduction
4.2.2. The Design and Evolution of the Presidency
4.2.3. The Presidential Election Process
4.2.4. Organizing to Govern
4.2.5. The Public Presidency
4.2.6. Presidential Governance: Direct Presidential Action
4.3. The Courts
4.3.1. Introduction
4.3.2. Guardians of the Constitution and Individual Rights
4.3.3. The Dual Court System
4.3.4. The Federal Court System
4.3.5. The Supreme Court
4.3.6. Judicial Decision-Making and Implementation by the Supreme Court
4.4. State and Local Government
4.4.1. Introduction
4.4.2. State Power and Delegation
4.4.3. State Political Culture
4.4.4. Governors and State Legislatures
4.4.5. State Legislative Term Limits
4.4.6. County and City Government

5. The Outputs of Government
5.1. The Bureaucracy
5.1.1. Introduction
5.1.2. Bureaucracy and the Evolution of Public Administration
5.1.3. Toward a Merit-Based Civil Service
5.1.4. Understanding Bureaucracies and their Types
5.1.5. Controlling the Bureaucracy
5.2. Domestic Policy
5.2.1. Introduction
5.2.2. What Is Public Policy?
5.2.3. Categorizing Public Policy
5.2.4. Policy Arenas
5.2.5. Policymakers
5.2.6. Budgeting and Tax Policy
5.3. Foreign Policy
5.3.1. Introduction
5.3.2. Defining Foreign Policy
5.3.3. Foreign Policy Instruments
5.3.4. Institutional Relations in Foreign Policy
5.3.5. Approaches to Foreign Policy

About the Book

American Government is designed to meet the scope and sequence requirements of the single-semester American Government course. This title includes innovative features designed to enhance student learning, including Insider Perspective features and a Get Connected module that shows students how they can get engaged in the political process. The book provides an important opportunity for students to learn the core concepts of American Government and understand how those concepts apply to their lives and the world around them.

Contributing Authors

Joel Webb, Tulane University
Shawn Williams, Campbellsville University
Rhonda Wrzenski, Indiana University Southeast
Tonya Neaves, George Mason University
Adam Newmark, Appalachian State University
Brooks D. Simpson, Arizona State University
Prosper Bernard, Jr., City University of New York
Jennifer Danley-Scott, Texas Woman's University
Ann Kordas, Johnson & Wales University
Christopher Lawrence, Middle Georgia State College

About the Contributors


Glen Krutz, Professor of Political Science and Associate Director, Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center at the University of Oklahoma. Krutz joined the Department of Political Science in 2002. Before joining OU, he served on the faculty of Arizona State University and helped run two large-scale National Science Foundation projects as a doctoral student at Texas A&M University.


Sylvie Waskiewicz, PhD, is an editor, researcher and writer who specialties include textbook publishing and e-learning instructional design, including copyediting and proofreading with meticulous review of text, layout, and media from first pages to printer proofs as well as QC of web content (HTML/XML).