Higher Education

Gateways to Democracy: The Essentials, 3rd Edition

  • includes MindTap® Political Science, 1 term (6 months) Printed Access Card
  • John G. Geer Vanderbilt University
  • Wendy J. Schiller Brown University
  • Jeffrey A. Segal Stony Brook University
  • Richard Herrera Arizona State University
  • Dana K. Glencross Oklahoma City Community College
  • ISBN-10: 1285852915  |  ISBN-13: 9781285852911
  • 592 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2014, 2012
  • © 2016 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $97.00
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The Essentials version of GATEWAYS TO DEMOCRACY introduces the American political system to students, pointing out in each chapter the “gateways” that facilitate, or at times block, participation. In emphasizing how the political system works-and how individuals and groups have opened gates to influence public policy-the text helps students see the relevance of government in their lives. The third edition provides coverage of the 2014 midterm elections as well as enhanced discussion of the politics, policies, and issues affecting Latinos in the United States. NEW! MindTap – Cengage Learning’s fully online learning solution – is automatically included with the purchase of the print text with this edition. MindTap combines student learning tools - readings, multimedia, activities and assessments - into a singular Learning Path. Through assignable, gradable activities written to learning outcomes, it provides students with ample opportunities to check for understanding, while also providing faculty and students with a clear way measure and assess progress. Faculty can use MindTap as a turnkey solution or easily customize by adding up to the minute news stories, YouTube videos, RSS feeds, or their own documents directly within it. With MindTap, it’s refreshingly simple to keep American Government course materials current, relatable, and engaging. Students will also appreciate that with MindTap everything is in one place – the eBook, activities, flashcards, quizzes, dictionary, and more – making study time more efficient. The print text, now significantly more affordable than previous editions, directs students to activities within MindTap. MindTap can also be purchased on its own if a student prefers to study completely online. The choice is theirs. To learn how easy –and beneficial - it is to start using MindTap in your courses, visit Cengage.com/mindtap.

Features and Benefits

  • To promote student engagement, chapter-opening paragraphs spotlight college students or college graduates who have used a gateway in the democratic system to effect change. Subjects come from a variety of backgrounds. Examples include activist Gus Garcia, who argued the Hernandez v. Texas case (the Constitution chapter); political analyst Nate Silver from fivethirtyeight.com (the public opinion chapter); and Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor (the judiciary chapter).
  • Policy coverage appears in a section in each chapter and in a standalone chapter at the end of the book, allowing instructors to focus on policy as much or as little as they wish. Each chapter highlights a domestic, economic, or foreign policy issue related to the chapter subject. Students learn how such policies as minimum wage or fracking are a product of the policy-making process, and how that process can serve as a gateway to citizen participation. “Construct Your Own Policy” exercises ask students to consider how they would use what they've learned to affect policy-making.
  • Most chapters feature a Supreme Court case to illustrate the constitutional and legal context in which American democracy has evolved. Critical-thinking questions at the end of the feature tie the case to the chapter's content and the book's themes of gateways, responsiveness, and equality.
  • Questions in the text's margins and interpretive questions at the end of each chapter ask students to summarize and apply what they have learned about American democracy and evaluate our democratic system in terms of responsiveness and equality. These features sharpen students' analytical skills and encourage them to begin evaluating the success of the American system.
  • “Global Gateways,” a comparative and global context feature, appears in most chapters to help students place the U.S. government and political system in a global perspective.

Table of Contents

1. Gateways to American Democracy. 
2. The Constitution. 
3. Federalism. 
4. Civil Liberties. 
5. Civil Rights. 
6. Public Opinion and the Media.
7. Interest Groups. 
8. Political Parties. 
9. Elections, Campaigns, and Voting. 
10. Congress. 
11. The Presidency. 
12. The Bureaucracy. 
13. The Judiciary.
14. Economic, Domestic, and Foreign Policy.

What's New

  • The new edition is significantly more affordable than the previous edition.
  • A new coauthor, Richard Herrera from Arizona State University, has assisted with adding new coverage about the politics, policies, and issues affecting Latinos in the United States.
  • A new chapter on economic, domestic, and foreign policy (Chapter 14) explores the issues related to these topics and dissects real-world examples that illustrate how public policy is made.
  • The book's public policy sections, which appear in each chapter and illustrate the role of the chapter topic in the formation or implementation of public policy, have been revised and updated to focus on issues within the range of domestic, economic, or foreign policy.
  • Updated throughout, this edition includes the 2014 election coverage and presents an in-depth look at emerging issues such as same-sex marriage laws, the legalization of marijuana, and the impact of partisanship on Congress.
  • Updated graphs, tables, and figures show recent political trends among the millennial generation.

Alternate Formats

Choose the format that best fits your student's budget and course goals

To customize your learning solution, contact your Learning Consultant for more information.

  • Loose Leaf

    ISBN-10: 1305634012  | ISBN-13: 9781305634015

    List Price = $97.95  | CengageBrain Price = $97.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $74.00

  • Non-Media Edition

    ISBN-10:  1285858573 | ISBN-13:  9781285858579

    List Price = $121.95  | CengageBrain Price = $121.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $92.00

Efficacy and Outcomes


“Gateways to Democracy is well written, balanced, and offers an effective blend of theory, historical analysis, and specific case studies. The tensions between 'gates' and 'gateways' allows my students to consider the opportunities that democracy in America has provided while challenging them to wrestle with the contemporary reality of shortcomings and inequity within the nation's political processes. End-of-chapter questions, summaries, and lists of important terms also ensure that my students have all the resources they need to make the most of this excellent text.”

— Jared Burkholder, Grace College

“Providing learning objectives, checkpoints, and learning outcomes for students helps their ability to focus studying efforts. This is especially important with introductory courses. I believe these are valuable tools for students.”

— James Newman, Idaho State University


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the main title. Select the main title's "About" tab, then select "What's New" for updates specific to title's edition.

For more information about these supplements, or to obtain them, contact your Learning Consultant.

Instructor Supplements

Instructor's Companion Web Site  (ISBN-10: 1285865677 | ISBN-13: 9781285865676)

This Instructor Companion Website is an all-in-one multimedia online resource for class preparation, presentation, and testing. Accessible through Cengage.com/login, it offers numerous resources for download. The Test Bank, offered in Blackboard®, Moodle®, Desire2Learn®, Canvas®, and Angel® formats, contains Learning Objective-specific multiple-choice and essay questions for each chapter and can be imported into your LMS to edit and manage questions, and to create tests. The Instructor's Manual contains chapter-specific learning objectives, an outline, key terms with definitions, and a chapter summary. Additionally, the Instructor's Manual includes a critical thinking question, lecture launching suggestion, and an in-class activity for each learning objective. The Microsoft® PowerPoint® presentations are ready-to-use, visual outlines of each chapter that are easily customized for your lectures and offered along with chapter-specific Microsoft® PowerPoint® Image Slides and JPEG Image Libraries.

Cengage Learning Testing, powered by Cognero Instant Access  (ISBN-10: 1305081307 | ISBN-13: 9781305081307)

Cengage Learning Testing Powered by Cognero® is a flexible, online system that allows you to author, edit, and manage test bank content from multiple Cengage Learning solutions; create multiple test versions in an instant; and deliver tests from your LMS, your classroom, or wherever you want. The test bank for Gateways to Democracy, The Essentials, 3rd Edition, contains Learning Objective-specific multiple-choice and essay questions for each chapter.

MindTap® Political Science, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access for Geer/Schiller/Segal/Glencross' Gateways to Democracy: An Introduction to American Government, The Essentials  (ISBN-10: 1305078632 | ISBN-13: 9781305078635)

MindTap™ is a personalized teaching experience with relevant assignments that guide students to analyze, apply, and improve thinking, allowing you to measure skills and outcomes with ease.

List Price = $82.00  | CengageBrain Price = $82.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $82.00

LMS Integrated for MindTap® PoliSci, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access  (ISBN-10: 1305581636 | ISBN-13: 9781305581630)

List Price = $82.00  | CengageBrain Price = $82.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $82.00

Student Supplements

MindTap® Political Science, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access for Geer/Schiller/Segal/Glencross' Gateways to Democracy: An Introduction to American Government, The Essentials  (ISBN-10: 1305078632 | ISBN-13: 9781305078635)

MindTap™ Political Science for Geer/Schiller/Segal/Glencross' Gateways to Democracy: An Introduction to American Government, The Essentials, 3rd Edition provides you with the tools you need to better manage your limited time -- you can complete assignments whenever and wherever you are ready to learn with course material specially customized for you by your instructor and streamlined in one proven, easy-to-use interface. With an array of tools and apps -- from flashcards to note taking -- you'll get a true understanding of course concepts, helping you to achieve better grades and setting the groundwork for your future courses. Access to this product is valid for 6 months of usage.

List Price = $82.00  | CengageBrain Price = $82.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $82.00

LMS Integrated for MindTap® PoliSci, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access  (ISBN-10: 1305581636 | ISBN-13: 9781305581630)

List Price = $82.00  | CengageBrain Price = $82.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $82.00

Meet the Author

Author Bio

John G. Geer

John G. Geer (PhD, Princeton University) is vice provost for academic and strategic Affairs, the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, and co-director of the Vanderbilt Poll. Geer has published widely, including In Defense of Negativity, which won the Goldsmith Prize from the Shorenstein Center at Harvard University. Geer has been a visiting scholar at Harvard University and Princeton University. Geer teaches Introduction to American Politics, as well as specialty courses on elections and campaigns. His teaching has won numerous teaching awards at both Arizona State University and Vanderbilt University. Geer is a frequent commentator in the press, with appearances on all the major networks (e.g., Fox News, CBS Evening News, CNN), and he has been quoted in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the LA Times. He also has done interviews for major international outlets, such as BBC and Al Jazeera.

Wendy J. Schiller

Wendy Schiller (PhD, University of Rochester) is a professor of political science, international and public affairs at Brown University (Twitter account @profwschiller). She was legislative assistant for Senator Daniel P. Moynihan, a federal lobbyist for Governor Mario M. Cuomo, a guest scholar and PhD fellow at the Brookings Institution, and a post-doctoral fellow at Princeton University. She has published Electing the Senate: Indirect Democracy before the Seventeenth Amendment (2015) with Charles Stewart III, The Contemporary Congress (2003, 2005, 2015) with Burdett Loomis, and Partners and Rivals: Representation in U.S. Senate Delegations (2000), She teaches courses on a wide range of American politics topics, including Introduction to the American Political Process, The American Presidency, Congress and Public Policy, Parties and Interest Groups, and The Philosophy of the American Founding. Professor Schiller is a political analyst for local and national media outlets, including Bloomberg Radio, NPR, and WJAR10, the local NBC affiliate in Providence.

Jeffrey A. Segal

Jeffrey A. Segal (PhD, Michigan State University) is SUNY Distinguished Professor and chair of the political science department at Stony Brook University. He has served as Senior Visiting Research Scholar at Princeton University and held a Guggenheim Fellowship. Segal is best known, with Harold Spaeth, as the leading proponent of the attitudinal model of Supreme Court decision-making. Segal has twice won the Wadsworth Award for a book (with Spaeth) or article 10 years or older with lasting influence on law and courts. He has also won the C. Herman Pritchett Award (again with Spaeth) for best book on law and courts. His work on the influence of strategic factors on Supreme Court decision-making won the Franklin Burdette Award from APSA. With Lee Epstein, Kevin Quinn, and Andrew Martin, he won Green Bag's award for exemplary legal writing. He has also won a national award sponsored by the American Bar Association for innovative teaching and instructional methods and materials in law and courts.

Richard Herrera

Richard Herrera (PhD, University of California, Santa Barbara) is associate professor of political science and associate director for the School of Politics and Global Studies at Arizona State University. He directs the ASU Capital Scholars Washington, DC, Summer Internship program for ASU and coordinates the ASU-McCain Institute for International Leadership Internship Program. He has contributed articles to the American Political Science Review, Journal of Politics, Legislative Studies Quarterly, and State Politics and Policy Quarterly. His current research interests are focused on U.S. governors, their ideology, policy agendas, and representative functions. He teaches courses in American Politics, American Political Parties, and American Politics and Film.

Dana K. Glencross

Dana K. Glencross (M.A., Oklahoma State University) is Professor of Political Science at Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC), where she has served as Chair of the Department of History, Political Science, Geography, and Medical Terminology and as President of the Faculty Association. Professor Glencross was a governor’s appointee to the Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation and a member of the Faculty Advisory Council to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. She was elected by her peers as the national chairwoman of the Association of Chapter Advisors to Phi Theta Kappa, the two-year college honorary society. She coauthors a chapter on “Public Policy” in OKLAHOMA GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS: AN INTRODUCTION, (Fifth Edition, 2012). She teaches courses in American Government, State and Local Government, Comparative Politics, and Law. She is a frequently invited guest on local radio and television broadcasts, discussing elections and political events. Her awards include the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching at OCCC and the Oklahoma Political Science Association’s Two-Year College Teacher of the Year Award.