You are here

American Government
Share

American Government
Stories of a Nation

Third Edition
Available with:


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: Stories of a Nation, 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 2020 presidential election, 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 we participate and why. 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.

This title is accompanied by a complete teaching and learning package. Contact your SAGE representative to request a demo.
  • Digital Option / Courseware
    SAGE Vantage is an intuitive digital platform that delivers this text’s content and course materials in a learning experience that offers auto-graded assignments and interactive multimedia tools, all carefully designed to ignite student engagement and drive critical thinking. Built with you and your students in mind, it offers simple course set-up and enables students to better prepare for class.
    • Assignable Video with Assessment
      Assignable video (available with SAGE Vantage) is tied to learning objectives and curated exclusively for this text to bring concepts to life. Watch a sample video now.

  • LMS Cartridge: Import this title’s instructor resources into your school’s learning management system (LMS) and save time. Don’t use an LMS? You can still access all of the same online resources for this title via the password-protected Instructor Resource Site.
  • 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.

 
Preface
 
Measure Results, Track Success: SAGE Course Outcomes
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Author
 
Chapter 1. American Political Stories: Claiming Rights, Demanding to Be Heard
Standing Rock: Water Protectors Claim Their Rights and Freedoms in North Dakota

 
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 Continues, and You Are Part of It

 
 
Chapter 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 the Constitutional Convention

 
Delegates Work Out Details of the New Government

 
Federalists and Anti-Federalists Argue over Ratification

 
Conclusion: The Motives of the Framers and the Effects of the Constitution Are Still Being Debated

 
 
Chapter 3. Federalism: The Changing Boundaries between the Nation and the States
Marijuana Policy Today 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 Reshapes American Federalism

 
Modern American Federalism Remains Cooperative but Faces Challenges

 
Conclusion: The Evolution of Federalism Continues

 
 
Chapter 4. Civil Liberties: Building and Defending Fences
Cell Phone Tracking Capability Challenges the Boundary between Public and Private

 
The Bill of Rights Establishes Protections for Americans’ Civil Liberties

 
The First Amendment’s First Two Protections Both Involve Religion

 
The First Amendment Also Protects Expression: Speech, Press, Assembly, and Petitioning the Government

 
The Constitution 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: Civil Liberties Involve Fences Still under Construction

 
 
Chapter 5. Civil Rights: How Equal Is Equal?
Protesters Act to Secure Rights for Americans with Disabilities

 
Civil Rights Amendments Emerge from the Civil War—but Provide Limited Protection in Practice

 
Challenges to Legal Segregation Achieve Successes but Face Resistance

 
American Women Work to Secure Their Civil Rights

 
Americans Confront Overlapping Forms of Discrimination

 
Conclusion: Have Americans’ Civil Rights Been Secured?

 
 
Chapter 6. Political Participation: Carry That Weight
Acting against Campus Sexual Violence Involves Many Forms of Political Participation

 
Political Participation Can Take Many Forms

 
The Decision to Vote or Not Vote Involves Many Factors

 
#MeToo Highlights the Possibilities and Challenges of Digital Political Participation

 
Are Young Adult Americans Really Disconnected from the Political Process?

 
Conclusion: Americans Are Continually Tasked with Carrying the Weight of Self-Governance

 
 
Chapter 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: How Meaningful Is Public Opinion?

 
 
Chapter 8. The Media: Truth, Trust, and Power
Can a Foreign Government Use the American Media to Influence a Presidential Election?

 
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

 
Did the Media Convince Americans That They Were Being Invaded by Martians?

 
Conclusion: Debates about the Power of the Media Continue

 
 
Chapter 9. Political Parties: The Insurgents versus the Establishment
Bernie Sanders Challenges the Democratic Party to Become More Progressive, Twice

 
Parties Act to Identify, Support, and Nominate Candidates for Elected Office

 
Parties Strive to Get Voters to Identify with Them

 
Donald Trump Takes on the Establishment, First from the Inside, Then from the Outside

 
Political Polarization, Gridlock, and Two-Party Dominance Are the Defining Features of Parties in Government Today

 
Conclusion: How Will the Parties Respond?

 
 
Chapter 10. Campaigns and Elections: Candidates and Voters in a Time of Uncertainty and Change
Elections from the Candidate’s Point of View: A New Member of Congress Campaigns in Uncertain Times

 
The Rules Governing National Elections Shape the Transmission of Americans’ Preferences into Laws and Policies

 
The Details of Congressional Elections Differ by State, but Many of the Rules Are the Same

 
Presidential Elections Have Many Stages and Moving Parts

 
The 2020 Elections

 
Conclusion: Party Control Changes, Though Against a Familiar Background

 
 
Chapter 11. Interest Groups and Social Movements: Collective Action, Power, and Representation
A Housing Bubble Bursts, and Interest Groups Pop Up

 
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: The Challenges of Organizing in American Political Life Continue

 
 
Chapter 12. Congress: Representation, Organization, and Legislation
Two “Years of the Woman” Highlight the Promise and Challenge of More Inclusive Representation in Congress

 
The Constitution Defines Congress’s Shape and Powers

 
Congress Is Organized around Formal and Informal Rules

 
The Legislative Process Is Complex by Design

 
Members Represent Constituents in How They Act and Who They Are

 
Conclusion: Representation Remains Complex, but the Landscape Continues to Change

 
 
Chapter 13. The American Presidency: Individuals, Institutions, and Power
In This Corner . . . Donald J. Trump: The President as Prizefighter in Chief

 
The Constitution Outlines the Powers of the American Presidency and Places Limits on Those Powers

 
Institutions and Other Informal Sources of Power Shape the Modern Executive Branch

 
Presidents Have Pushed the Limits of Their Power to Preserve National Security

 
The President Has Several Tools For Unilateral Action

 
Conclusion: The Paradoxes of the Presidency Continue

 
 
Chapter 14. The Federal Bureaucracy: Putting the Nation’s Laws into Effect
Federal Bureaucratic Action Consists of Many Actors and Evolves over Time

 
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 15. The Federal Judiciary: Politics, Power, and the “Least Dangerous” Branch
The Politics of Supreme Court Confirmations Place Nominees on “Trial”

 
The Constitution Casts the Judiciary as a Unique but Weaker Branch

 
The “Trial” of John Marshall Establishes the Principle of Judicial Review

 
The American Legal System Is Defined by Federalism

 
Judicial Review Raises Questions of Constitutional Interpretation and Judicial Decision Making

 
Conclusion: The Trial of the Supreme Court Continues

 
 
Chapter 16. Domestic Public Policy: The Politics of Promoting the General Welfare
American Education Policy about School Choice Involves Both Politics and Markets

 
There Is Nothing Tidy about the Domestic Policymaking Process

 
Educational Reform Today Takes a Variety of Types

 
Health Care Policy Has Evolved since the Great Society

 
Education and Health Care Are Only Two of Many Areas of Domestic Policy

 
Social Insurance Programs Assist Vulnerable Americans

 
Conclusion: Domestic Policy Is about Democratic Representation

 
 
Chapter 17. Economic Policy: Representing Americans’ Financial Interests
The Problem of Student Debt Threatens the Financial Health of Student Borrowers and the National Economy

 
Student Debt Helps to Shape the Agenda of Presidential Politics

 
Fiscal Policy Guides the Economy through Decisions on Spending and Taxation

 
Economic Policymaking during Uncertain Times: Congress Responds to COVID-19

 
Conclusion: Can Economic Policy Solve the Student Debt Problem?

 
 
Chapter 18. Foreign Policy: Advancing American Interests in an Uncertain and Changing World
Major Shifts in Global Political and Economic Power Shape American Foreign Policy Today

 
U.S. Foreign Policy Has Changed over Time

 
American Foreign Policy is Formulated by Many Actors and Organizations

 
Immigration Connects Foreign Policy to Domestic Policy

 
Conclusion: The Story of American Politics Continues

 
 
Appendixes
 
Glossary
 
Notes
 
Index

Supplements

Instructor Resource Site

edge.sagepub.com/abernathy3e

For additional information, custom options, or to request a personalized walkthrough of these resources, please contact your sales representative.

LMS cartridge included with this title for use in Blackboard, Canvas, Brightspace by Desire2Learn (D2L), and Moodle

The LMS cartridge makes it easy to import this title’s instructor resources into your learning management system (LMS). These resources include:

  • Test banks
  • Editable chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides
  • Sample course syllabi
  • Lecture notes
  • All tables and figures from the textbook 
Don’t use an LMS platform?

You can still access all of the same online resources for this title via the password-protected Instructor Resource Site.

The open-access Student Study Site makes it easy for students to maximize their study time, anywhere, anytime. It offers flashcards that strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts, as well as learning objectives that reinforce the most important material.
Student Study Site
edge.sagepub.com/abernathy3e

The open-access Student Study Site makes it easy for students to maximize their study time, anywhere, anytime. It offers flashcards that strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts, as well as learning objectives that reinforce the most important material.

“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
Key features

NEW TO THIS EDITION:

  • The new edition is available as a digital option through SAGE Vantage, an intuitive digital platform that offers auto-graded assignments and interactive multimedia tools—including video—all designed to enable students to better prepare for class.
  • New “Practicing Political Science” boxes that tackle topics such as police accountability in the media, the Federal Reserve’s response to COVID-19 and its implications on American monetary policy, and the effects of U.S. trade policy on different congressional districts. These boxes help students become more capable and critical readers of arguments made through data, images, and text.
  • New narratives keep students engaged by connecting key concepts to recent events and real people through topics such as #MeToo and the promises and challenges of digital political participation, an exploration into civil liberties through Supreme Court activity on the implication of cell-phone tracking data for fundamental rights and freedoms, and an analysis of the presidency of Donald Trump through this deeper question: How much does a president’s style and character actually impact their power and influence?
  • Up-to-date 2020 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 struggles of the 2020 elections.
  • 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 Trump administration;
    • Analysis of the outcome of the 2020 elections and the battle for the White House;
    • The centering of the study of public opinion—its impact, coherence and durability—on Black Lives Matter from the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis;
    • Updated figures and tables throughout including new political science research on polarization;
    • U.S., Russia, and China in an age of multipolarity in international affairs;
    • An analysis on the impact on women’s’ congressional representation of the elections of 2018 and 2020; and
    • Exploration of today’s American economy, including the impact of student loan debt, the debate over the minimum wage, and a rising federal deficit.
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.
  • Learning objectives are tagged to main headers helping students easily identify which learning objectives are being addressed in that section.  
  • 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.

Preview this book

Vantage Reference: 
American Government: Vantage Digital Option

For instructors

Select a Purchasing Option

Electronic version
Prices from
$70.00*
*180 day rental

Loose-leaf
ISBN: 9781071839720
$95.00

Paperback
ISBN: 9781071816837
$125.00