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AMERICAN GOVERNMENT POLITICS
AND CITIZENSHIP

Purchase Book

by JEROLD L. WALTMAN

2nd edition, 1999, 421 pages, $32.95   Review Cart
ISBN 978-0-89641-316-0

 

 

This book focuses on both the intellectual and pedagogical merit in discussing the nature of free government and what it means to be a citizen of this particular free government. Waltman has chosen to lay out the theme in the initial chapter, to let it resurrect itself only lightly throughout the other chapters, and then to address it directly in a boxed supplement to each chapter.

The two models laid out in the first chapter are admittedly oversimplified charicatures, drawn from several intellectual strands. The individualist model pulls together the ideas of liberal participatory democracy, public choice approaches, and the rights based theories of Ronald Dworkin and Richard Epstein. While these frameworks are, of course, incompatible in some areas, what draws them under one roof here is first their emphasis on the atomized individual and how these individuals, as individuals, relate to the political order, and second their deetachment from any system of absolute values. For the contrasting model, which the author labels civic democracy, traditional republicanism and elements of Benjamin Barber's "strong democracy," have been combined. The first could stand alone as a counter model, but Waltman often found that students have trouble disentangling the portions of it which evolved into later notions of democracy and the portions which are in tension with liberal democracy. Strong democracy would provide a useful alternative (as indeed Barber intended), but much of it is based on the same assumptions as the more individualistic theories it seeks to critique, particularly in that it posits no independent status for the public good.Waltman believes that these models will be useful to introductory students and are intellectually defensible; the finer points can be left for those who wish to pursue political philosophy in more depth.

CONTENTS

Chapter 1: THE FOUNDATIONS OF DEMOCRACY
AND THE CHARACTER OF CITIZENSHIP

Individualist Democracy
Citizenship and Individualist Democracy
Civic Democracy
Citizenship and Civic Democracy
Distruction versus Prescription
Further Reading

Chapter 2: THE CONSTITUTION

Drafting the Constitution — {The Colonial Background; The Articles of Confederation; The Philadelphia Convention; Ratification: Federalists versus Anti-Federalists; Comparative Politics: Constitution Drafting in Another British Colony)
An Outline of the Constitution — (The Enduring Dilemma, Separation of Powers, Checks and Balances, The Constitutional Framework for Formulating Public Policy)
Constitutional Change — (Process of Formal Amendment, Amendment after the Bill of Rights, Informal Change of the Constitution)
The Constitution as a Symbol
Summary and Further Reading

Chapter 3: FEDERALISM

The Foundations of Federalism
The Constitutional Division of Powers — (The Spheres of National and State Power, Relations between the States, National Obligations to the States)
The Supreme Court and Federalism
The Political Consequences of Federalism — (Advantages of Federalism; Civic Democracy, Communities and the Public Interest; Disadvantages of Federalism; Comparative Politics: Some Notes on Canadian Federalism)
Federalism and Finance — (Growth of the Grant System; Types of Grants; Politics and Federal Grants)
Federalism and Big Cities: A Special Case
Federalism and Contemporary Politics: The Rejuvenation of State and Local Governments; Welfare Reform; Summary and Further Reading

Chapter 4: CIVIL LIBERTIES AND CIVIL RIGHTS

Civil Liberties
Freedom of Expression — (Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press‚
Comparative Politics: Civil Liberties in Canada
Religious Liberty — (Establishment of Religion, Free Exercise of Religion)
Fight to a Fair Trial
The Possession of Rights versus the Exercise of Rights
Civiil Rights
Race and Civil Rights (Background, Brown v. Board of Education and its Legacy; Voting Rights; Public Accommodations and Employment)
Gender issues and Civil Rights
Other Groups in American Society
Affirmative Action
Summary and Further Reading

Chapter 5: CONGRESS

Powers of Congress
Structure of Congress
The Popular Connection — (Congressional Elections; Getting and Staying Elected; Effects of Incumbency; Public Evaluations of Congress)
A Profile of the Members
Internal Politics of Congress — (House-Senate Differences; Committees; Upper Houses and Federalism in Australia and Germany; The Workings of Standing Committees; Political Parties; Special Groups)
The Labyrinth of Legislation
Staffs and Media Relations — (Congressional Staffs; Civic Democracy in Congress; Congress and the Media)
The Postwar Evolution of Congress
Summary and Further Reading

Chapter 6: THE PRESIDENCY

The Constitutional Basis of Presidential Power
Roots of the Contemporary Presidency — (Sources of Strength; Elements of Potential Weakness)
Selecting a President - (The Constitutional Commands; Problems with the Electoral College; The Nominations; The Growth of primaries; Results of the Reforms; The General Election)
The President and the Executive Branch — (Cabinet Secretaries; The Executive Office of the President; The White House Staff; The Vice Presidency)
The President and Congress — (The President's Program; Steering the program through Congress; The Veto Power)
The President and the Public — (Public Approval Ratings; Comparative Politics: Presidents and Prime Ministers; Attempts to Influence Public Opinion; The President as First Citizen; Presidential Leadership in the Two Models)
The President as International Leader
Presidential Power: A Concluding Note
Summary and Further Reading

Chapter 7: BUREAUCRACY

Dimensions of the American Bureaucracy
The Structure of the Executive Branch — (Executive Departments; Independent Agencies; Independent Regulatory Commissions; Foundations, Endowments and Institutes; Goverment Corporations; Government Service Organizations)
Recruitment — (The Early years; Voluntary Organizations and the Public Sector; The Spoils System; Birth and Development of the Merit System; The Carter Reforms; The French ENA; Contemporary Issues)
Political Control of the Bureaucracy - (The President and Bureaucracy; Congress and the Bureaucracy; Courts and the Bureaucracy)
Cureaucracy and Accountability
Bureaucracies and Interest Groups
Reform of the Bureaucracy
Summary and Further Readings

Chapter 8: THE FEDERAL COURTS

Structure of the Court System
The Courts at Work
Judicial Review — (The Legal/Historical Justification; The Pragmatic Argument; Philosophical Analysis)
Guidelines for the Behavior of Judges — (Judicial Activism versus Judicial Restraint; Comparative Politics: Judicial Review in Germany; "Original Intent" versus "Contemporary Values"; Constitutional Aspiration)
Selecting Judges - (District Court and Court of Appeals Appointments; Supreme Court Appointments)
Decision Making within the Supreme Court — (Getting on the Docket; Briefs; Opinions)
Checks on the Power of the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court and Public Opinion
An Overview of the Supreme Court's History Since 1890
The Supreme Court and the Two Democratic Traditions
The Court as Part of the Stream of Political Decision Making
Citizens Participation in the Federal Courts: Note on Juries
Summary and Further Readings

Chapter 9: PUBLIC OPINION AND THE MEDIA

Finding Out What the Public Things
The Structure of American Public Opinion — (Beliefs; Political Attitudes; Opinions)
Agents of Political Learning/Socialization — (The Family; Religious Institutions; Schools; The Media; College; Peer Groups; Comparative Politics: Political Beliefs in Canada; Political Events)
Public Opinion and Public Policy — Public Opinion versus Public Judgment
Has Public Opinion Affected Public Policy
The Rise of the Mass Media
The Rise of the Mass Media
Structure of the American Media — (Newspapers; Magazines; Television)
Sources of Political Information
Impact of the Media on Attitudes — (Cues; Agenda Setting; Policy Preferences)
Is There a Bias in the Media
Media Coverage of Campaigns and Elections
Summary and Further Readings

Chapter 10: POLITICAL PARTIES AND CITIZEN PARTICIPATION

The History of American Political Parties — (The First Party System; The Second Party System; The Third Party System; The Fourth Party System; A Fifth Party System? Common Threads among the Party Systems)
The American Two-Party System — (The Institutional Explanation; Political Values; Comparative Politics: Building Political Parties in a new Democracy; Traditions and Laws; Openness of the Parties; Conclusion)
Third Parties in American Political History — (Protest Parties; Breakaway Parties; Interest Groups as Minor Parties; Effects of Third Parties)
Party Organization - (The National Committees; The National Chairperson; Congressional Campaign Committees; Affiliated Groups; State and Local Party Organizations)
The Responsible Party Model
Party Identification (Political Parties and the Two Models of Democracy)
An Anatomy of Party Identifiers
Voting — (Turnout in Contemporary America; who Votes?)
Weakened Parties? Imperiled Democracy? — (Signs of Decline; Signs of Vitality)
Summary and Further Readings

Chapter 11: INTEREST G ROUPS AND CITIZEN PARTICIPATION

A Nation of joiners
The Panorama of Groups — (Economic and Occupational Groups; Civil Rights Groups; Public Interest Groups; Other Types of Groups; Citizens' Groups in the Two Models of Democracy)
strategies Used by Groups — (Lobbying Congress; Lobbying the Executive Branch; Litigation; Influencing Public Opinion; Demonstrations and Civil Disobedience)
Interest Groups in the States
Political Action Committees — (The Problem of Campaign Finance; The Growth of PACs; the Influence of PACs; Reforming the Financing of Political Campaigns)
The Impact of Interest Groups on Public Policy
Comparative Politics: Economic Policy-Making in Austria
Interest Groups and the Ideal of Citizen Participation
Summary and Further Readings

Chapter 12: PUBLIC POLICY

The Policy-Making Process — (Agenda-Setting; Policy Formulation; Implementation; Evaluation)
Types of Policies — (Distributive Policy; Regulatory Policy; Redistributive Policy; Symbolic Policy)
Tools of Public Policy — (Binding Rules; Structuring; Subsidies and Payments; Taxation; Moral Suasion)
Environmental Policy as an Illustration — (Agenda-Setting; Policy Response; Policy Formulation; Implementation; The Citizen and the Environment: The Necessity and the Limits of Public Authority; Evaluation; Public Linkage; Comparative Politics: Environmental Policy-Making in Britain; The International Dimension;
Summary and Further Readings

Appendix A: THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

Appendix B: CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Appendix C: FEDERALIST PAPER #10

Appendix D: FEDERALIST PAPER #51

Appendix E: GETTYSBURG ADDRESS

GLOSSARY

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