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The Logic of American Politics

The Logic of American Politics

Seventh Edition

The classic text for understanding how collective action problems are solved in American government

Additional resources:

May 2015 | 760 pages | CQ Press
Now featuring the logic of policymaking!

Praised for its engaging narrative, The Logic of American Politics hooks students with great storytelling while giving them a taste of real political science. Students come to understand why institutional design concepts like voting rules and delegation help explain why the American political system works the way it does. The authors build students' critical thinking skills through a simple yet powerful idea: politics is about solving collective action problems.

The Seventh Edition of this best seller continues to delve into partisan differences among voters and in government, exploring issues such as the Affordable Care Act’s troubled implementation, the increasing legalization of marijuana and same-sex marriage in the states, and the debate over President Obama’s executive action on immigration. A new concluding chapter on policymaking examines the noticeable logic that guides American policy, as shown through policies like health care reform, global climate change, and the federal budget. Students glean insights into the sources of policy problems, identify possible solutions, and realize why agreement on those solutions is often so hard to achieve. 

Robust pedagogical features strengthen the text’s analytical approach: boxed features, maps, tables, and figures make for a rich experience as students learn to analyze data; new learning objectives throughout the text provide measurable takeaways; and more than 200 carefully chosen photographs grab students' attention.

Chapter 1: The Logic of American Politics
The Importance of Institutional Design  
Constitutions and Governments  
Collective Action Problems  
The Costs of Collective Action  
Designing Institutions for Collective Action: The Framers’ Tool Kit  
Representative Government  
The Work of Government  
Nota Bene  
Part I: The Nationalization of Politics
Chapter 2: The Constitution
The Road to Independence  
America’s First Constitution: The Articles of Confederation  
Drafting a New Constitution  
Logic of Politics: Checks and Balances in the Constitution  
Strategy and Choice: Logrolling a Constitution  
The Fight for Ratification  
The Theory Underlying the Constitution  
The Constitution: Born of Sweet Reason or Politics?  
Chapter 3: Federalism
American-Style Federalism  
Federalism and the Constitution  
The Paths to Nationalization  
Modern Federalism  
Evolving Federalism: A Byproduct of National Policy  
Chapter 4: Civil Rights
What Are Civil Rights?  
The Civil Rights of African Americans  
The Politics of Black Civil Rights  
The Legacy of the Civil Rights Movement  
Challenging Tyranny  
Chapter 5: Civil Liberties
Nationalization of Civil Liberties  
Writing Rights and Liberties into the Constitution  
Freedom of Speech  
Freedom of the Press  
Freedom of Religion  
Gun Rights  
Criminal Rights  
Assessing Civil Liberties as Public Policy  
Part II. The Institutions of Government
Chapter 6: Congress
Congress in the Constitution  
Strategy and Choice: The Republican Gerrymander in 2012  
Congress and Electoral Politics  
Who Serves in Congress?  
The Basic Problems of Legislative Organization  
Organizing Congress  
Making Laws  
Evaluating Congress  
Chapter 7: The Presidency
The Historical Presidency  
The Modern Presidency  
Presidents as Strategic Actors  
Chapter 8: The Bureaucracy
The Development of the Federal Bureaucracy  
An Expanding Government  
Bureaucracy in Action  
Who Controls the Bureaucracy?  
Bureaucratic Reform: A Hardy Perennial  
Chapter 9: The Federal Judiciary
Setting the Stage for Judicial Review  
Three Eras of the Court’s Judicial Review  
The Structure of the Federal Judiciary  
Judicial Decision Making  
The Supreme Court’s Place in the Separation of Powers  
Who Guards the Guardians?  
Part III. The Public’s Influence on National Policy
Chapter 10: Public Opinion
What Is Public Opinion?  
Measuring Public Opinion  
The Origins of Public Opinion  
Is Public Opinion Meaningful?  
The Content of Public Opinion  
Effects of Background on Public Opinion  
Public Opinion: A Vital Component of American Politics  
Chapter 11: Voting, Campaigns, and Elections
The Logic of Elections  
The Right to Vote  
Who Uses the Right to Vote?  
Election Campaigns  
The Logic of Elections Revisited  
Chapter 12: Political Parties
The Constitution’s Unwanted Offspring  
The Development and Evolution of the Party Systems  
The Revival of the Parties: A Sixth Party System?  
Expediency Persists  
Chapter 13: Interest Groups
The Logic of Lobbying  
The Origins of Interest Group Politics in America  
Contemporary Interest Groups  
What Do Interest Groups Do?  
Interest Group Politics: Controversial and Thriving  
Chapter 14: The News Media
Development of the News Business  
News as a Consumer Product  
News Media as the “Fourth Branch”  
News as the Product of Politics  
Conclusion: Politician–Press Relations Then and Now  
Part IV. Conclusion
Chapter 15: Is There a Logic to American Policy?
Toward a More Perfect Union?  
The Barriers to Institutional Change  
Four Stories of Reform and Collective Action  
The Tricky Business of Institutional Reform  


Instructor Resources site

SAGE edge for Instructors supports teaching with quality content and a rich learning environment for students, featuring:

·        Test banks built on Bloom’s Taxonomy to provide a diverse range of test items with Respondus test generation

·        Sample course syllabi with suggested models for structuring one’s course

·        Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides that offer flexibility when creating multimedia lectures

·        EXCLUSIVE access to full-text SAGE journal articles to expose students to important research and scholarship tied to chapter concepts

·        Video and multimedia content that enhance student engagement and appeal to different learning styles

·        All instructor material and tools which are easily integrated through a Course cartridge

·        Transition Guide
provides a chapter-by-chapter outline of key changes to the seventh edition.

Student Study site

SAGE edge is a robust online environment designed to customize and enhance each student’s learning experience. Carefully crafted tools and resources encourage review, practice, and critical thinking, giving students the edge they need to master course content.

SAGE edge for Students helps students accomplish their coursework goals in an easy-to-use learning environment that offers:    

·        An online action plan includes tips and feedback on progress through the course and materials, which allows students to individualize their learning experience

·        Chapter summaries and learning objectives reinforce the most important material

·        Mobile-friendly eFlashcards which strengthen understanding of key concepts

·        Mobile-friendly practice quizzes to encourage self-guided assessment and practice

·        Carefully selected video and multimedia content that enhance exploration of key topics

·        EXCLUSIVE access to full-text SAGE journal articles  and other readings, which support and expand on chapter concepts

The Logic of American Politics is an ideal text for students new to the processes of the American government to learn about how the institutions of government and how the political system work. It is the best textbook on American government and political process on the market!”

Jason Fichtner
Georgetown University

The Logic of American Politics is fantastic. In addition to covering American government thoroughly, it is unabashedly a political science textbook that gives students insight into the discipline and what it does. It doesn’t seek to tell students what to believe, instead giving them the tools to be educated citizens and consumers of political information.”

Carl Snook
Southern Polytechnic State University

“I like The Logic of American Politics’ focus on politics as solutions to collective action problems. The analytical framework is very effectively developed and integrated throughout. My students are often surprised to find that all of those concepts I introduce at the start of the semester hold relevance to such a wide range of political phenomena.” 

Jeremy Buchman
Long Island University

“I chose The Logic of American Politics because it’s accessible and interesting. It provides a good base for students to gain core knowledge and then dig deeper into specific elements of U.S. politics.”

Mark Shanahan
University of Reading

-Set-up of the text
-Added electronic resources

Ms Tameka Davis
Political Science Dept, Auburn University
June 30, 2016

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

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Samuel H. Kernell

Samuel Kernell is professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego, where he has taught since 1977. Previously, he taught at the University of Mississippi and the University of Minnesota. Kernell’s research interests focus on the presidency and American political history. His previous books include Going Public: New Strategies of Presidential Leadership, 3rd edition; an edited collection of essays, James Madison: The Theory and Practice of Republican Government; and, with Gary C. Jacobson, The Logic of American Politics, 7th edition, and Strategy and Choice in Congressional Elections, 2nd... More About Author

Gary C. Jacobson

Gary C. Jacobson is distinguished professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego, where he has taught since 1979. He previously taught at Trinity College, the University of California at Riverside, Yale University, and Stanford University. Jacobson specializes in the study of U.S. elections, parties, interest groups, and Congress. He is the author of Money in Congressional Elections: The Politics of Congressional Elections, Eighth Edition, The Electoral Origins of Dividend Government: Competition in the U.S. House Elections, 1946 - 1988, and A Divider, Not a Uniter: George W. Bush and the American People, Second... More About Author

Thad Kousser

Thad Kousser is professor of political science and department chair at the University of California, San Diego. He has served as a legislative aide in the California, New Mexico, and U.S. senates. He is the author of Term Limits and the Dismantling of State Legislative Professionalism, coauthor of The Power of American Governors and The Logic of American Politics, and coeditor of The New Political Geography of California. Kousser has been awarded the UCSD Academic Senate’s Distinguished Teaching Award, has served as coeditor of State Politics and Policy Quarterly, and serves as coeditor for state and local politics of Legislative Studies... More About Author

Lynn Vavreck

Lynn Vavreck is associate professor of political science at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where she has taught since 2001. She previously taught at Dartmouth College and held a research position at Princeton University. Before returning to the academy, Vavreck worked in the White House and on presidential campaigns. Her research focuses mainly on the effects of campaign messaging and specifically on the impact of political advertising. She is the author of The Message Matters: The Economy and Presidential Campaigns and co-author of Campaign Reform: Insights and Evidence and The Gamble: Choice and Chance in the 2012... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781483319841