Higher Education

Understanding American Government, 14th Edition

  • includes CourseReader 0-30: American Government Printed Access Card
  • Susan Welch The Pennsylvania State University
  • John Gruhl University of Nebraska, Lincoln
  • Sue Thomas Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation
  • MaryAnne Borrelli Connecticut College
  • ISBN-10: 1133955746  |  ISBN-13: 9781133955740
  • 624 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2012, 2010, 2008
  • © 2014 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $167.25
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About

Overview

UNDERSTANDING AMERICAN GOVERNMENT is highly respected and trusted for its attention to research and issues of diversity, as well as for its award-winning team of authors. While covering the foundations of American government, this text also moves beyond the nuts and bolts to explain why and how important aspects of government have evolved, their impact on government and individuals, and why they may be controversial, inspire debate, and worth learning. More than just narrating facts and current issues, UNDERSTANDING AMERICAN GOVERNMENT leaves students with an understanding of the “why”, so their knowledge can be applied long after the course is completed. UNDERSTANDING AMERICAN GOVERNMENT is a three-time winner of the American Government Textbook Award for the Best Treatment of Women in Politics, by the Women’s Caucus for Political Science.

Features and Benefits

  • The introductory chapter frames the book’s theme of the role of government. It asks the big questions such as: Why do we have government? Why is it so big? How much power does it really have? How much power do the people have?
  • Fully updated material throughout reflects the 2012 election cycle and the latest issues, information, and scholarship necessary for a current understanding of American government. In addition, an overall streamlining helps clarify key concepts for students in an even more accessible and engaging fashion.
  • A reader-friendly presentation gives students a solid grounding in the concepts required for informed, effective citizenship, with an emphasis on the impact of government: how individual features of government affect its responsiveness to different groups.
  • “Talking Points” chapter-opening vignettes use current events to engage students in chapter topics.
  • Diversity issues are introduced in Chapter 1 and integrated throughout the text and photo program. Lively “American Diversity” boxes illustrate the impact of the social diversity of the American population on political life.
  • In-text call-outs pinpoint where specific issues are addressed in the Constitution, making it easy to reference the document in the appendix and to see how the Constitution deals with the topic at hand.
  • “Behind the Scenes” boxes draw students into the material and illustrate how government and politics really work.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Role of Government in America.
1. The American People.
2. The Constitution.
3. Federalism.
4. Public Opinion.
5. News Media.
6. Interest Group.
7. Political Parties.
8. Elections.
9. Congress.
10. The Presidency.
11. The Bureaucracy.
12. The Judiciary.
13. Civil Liberties.
14. Civil Rights.
Economic Policy Module.
Heath Policy Module.
Environmental Policy Module.
Foreign Policy Module.

What's New

  • All chapters now include learning objectives to help guide students through the chapter material.
  • Chapters conclude with a bulleted summary that connects the key points of the chapter with the learning objectives.
  • Discussion questions (5 – 10 per chapter) are included at the end of each chapter as a new critical thinking tool.
  • A new feature, “Thinking About Democracy,” encourages students to think critically about our system of government.
  • CourseReader allows users to create a fully customized online reader in minutes. Through a partnership with Gale, COURSEREADER: AMERICAN GOVERNMENT provides access to thousands of readings, articles, primary sources, and audio and video selections from multiple disciplines. Each chapter of the text highlights a CourseReader selection and includes critical thinking questions about the reading.
  • A new streamlined organization includes 15 chapters and 4 policy modules.
  • The four policy modules have a more narrow focus that addresses specific topics, and the policy topics are cross-referenced throughout the text so that political processes and policies can more readily be studied as complementary.

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.

  • Paperbound Book Only Edition

    ISBN-10: 1133950434 | ISBN-13: 9781133950431

    List Price = $241.95  | CengageBrain Price = $241.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $181.50

Efficacy and Outcomes

Reviews

“I think that the Welch text has been successful in accomplishing the goals of stimulating and promoting critical thinking among students and other users, increasing awareness on diversity issues, and in helping students to gain a better grasp of the foundation and basic features of American government.”

— Victor Eno, Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University

“The book does a great job articulating a vision of America as multicultural and diverse. It does a superb job in terms of laying the framework for American governance in clear terms but ones that do not sacrifice the complexities of the founding. It doesn’t overwhelm students with jargon and does a decent job relating government to students…it is highly successful in conveying the raison detre for government and governance in America and the national level.”

— Khalil Marrar, University of Chicago

Supplements

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

Political Theatre DVD 2.0  (ISBN-10: 0495793604 | ISBN-13: 9780495793601)

Bring politics home to students with Political Theatre 2.0, up-to-date through the 2008 election season. This is the second edition of this 3 DVD series and includes real video clips that show American political thought throughout the public sector. Clips include both classic and contemporary political advertisements, speeches, interviews and more. Available to adopters of Cengage textbooks, version 2.0 provides lots of added functionality with this updated edition.

ABC News DVD: Speeches by Barack Obama  (ISBN-10: 1439082472 | ISBN-13: 9781439082478)

This DVD includes nine famous speeches by President Barack Obama, from 2004 to present day, including his speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention; his 2008 speech on race, "A More Perfect Union"; and his 2009 inaugural address. Speeches are divided into short video segments for easy, time-efficient viewing. This instructor supplement also features critical thinking questions and answers for each speech, designed to spark class discussion.

CourseReader 0-30: American Government Printed Access Card  (ISBN-10: 111147995X | ISBN-13: 9781111479954)

COURSEREADER: AMERICAN GOVERNMENT allows you to create your reader, your way, in just minutes. This affordable, fully customizable online reader provides access to thousands of permissions-cleared readings, articles, primary sources, and audio and video selections from the regularly-updated Gale research library database. This easy-to-use solution allows you to search for and select just the material you want for your courses. Each selection opens with a descriptive introduction to provide context, and concludes with critical-thinking and multiple-choice questions to reinforce key points. COURSEREADER is loaded with convenient tools like highlighting, printing, note-taking, and downloadable MP3 audio files for each reading. COURSEREADER is the perfect complement to any Political Science course. It can be bundled with your current textbook, sold alone, or integrated into your learning management system. COURSEREADER 0-30 allows access to up to 30 selections in the reader. Please contact your Cengage sales representative for details.

List Price = $66.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $49.50

CourseReader 0-30: American Government Instant Access  (ISBN-10: 1111479976 | ISBN-13: 9781111479978)

COURSEREADER: AMERICAN GOVERNMENT allows you to create your reader, your way, in just minutes. This affordable, fully customizable online reader provides access to thousands of permissions-cleared readings, articles, primary sources, and audio and video selections from the regularly-updated Gale research library database. This easy-to-use solution allows you to search for and select just the material you want for your courses. Each selection opens with a descriptive introduction to provide context, and concludes with critical-thinking and multiple-choice questions to reinforce key points. COURSEREADER is loaded with convenient tools like highlighting, printing, note-taking, and downloadable MP3 audio files for each reading. COURSEREADER is the perfect complement to any Political Science course. It can be bundled with your current textbook, sold alone, or integrated into your learning management system. COURSEREADER 0-30 allows access to up to 30 selections in the reader. Please contact your Cengage sales representative for details.

List Price = $66.00  | CengageBrain Price = $66.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $66.00

CourseReader 0-30: Presidential Election Milestones 2012 Instant Access Code  (ISBN-10: 1285172361 | ISBN-13: 9781285172361)

COURSEREADER: PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION MILESTONES, 2012 provides thorough coverage of the 2012 presidential campaigns and election, including hundreds of relevant videos, newspaper and journal articles, and political analyses, as well as a look back at the election of Barack Obama in 2008 and its impact on the U.S. and the world. CourseReader allows you to create your reader, your way, in just minutes. This affordable, fully customizable online reader provides access to a collection of permissions-cleared readings, articles, primary sources, and audio and video selections from the regularly-updated Gale research library database. This easy-to-use solution allows you to search for and select just the material you want for your courses. Each selection opens with a descriptive introduction to provide context and concludes with critical-thinking and multiple-choice questions to reinforce key points. CourseReader is loaded with convenient tools like highlighting, printing, note-taking, and downloadable PDFs and MP3 audio files for each reading. CourseReader is the perfect complement to any Political Science course. It can be bundled with your current textbook, sold alone, or integrated into your learning management system. CourseReader 0-30 allows access to up to 30 selections in the reader. Please contact your Cengage sales representative for details.

List Price = $66.00  | CengageBrain Price = $66.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $66.00

Latino-American Politics Supplement  (ISBN-10: 1285184297 | ISBN-13: 9781285184296)

Authored by Fernando Pinon, this revised and updated thirty-two-page supplement uses real examples to detail politics related to Latino Americans.

List Price = $21.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $16.25

Student Supplements

CourseMate with American Government NewsWatch, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access  (ISBN-10: 1285057821 | ISBN-13: 9781285057828)

The more you study, the better the results. Make the most of your study time by accessing everything you need to succeed in one place. Read your textbook, take notes, watch videos, read case studies, take practice quizzes, and more--online with CourseMate. CourseMate also gives you access to the American Government NewsWatch website--a real-time news and information resource updated daily, and KnowNow!--the go-to blog about current events in American Government.

List Price = $150.00  | CengageBrain Price = $150.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $150.00

CourseReader 0-30: American Government Instant Access  (ISBN-10: 1111479976 | ISBN-13: 9781111479978)

COURSEREADER: AMERICAN GOVERNMENT allows you to create your reader, your way, in just minutes. This affordable, fully customizable online reader provides access to thousands of permissions-cleared readings, articles, primary sources, and audio and video selections from the regularly-updated Gale research library database. This easy-to-use solution allows you to search for and select just the material you want for your courses. Each selection opens with a descriptive introduction to provide context, and concludes with critical-thinking and multiple-choice questions to reinforce key points. COURSEREADER is loaded with convenient tools like highlighting, printing, note-taking, and downloadable MP3 audio files for each reading. COURSEREADER is the perfect complement to any Political Science course. It can be bundled with your current textbook, sold alone, or integrated into your learning management system. COURSEREADER 0-30 allows access to up to 30 selections in the reader. Please contact your Cengage sales representative for details.

List Price = $66.00  | CengageBrain Price = $66.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $66.00

CourseReader 0-30: Presidential Election Milestones 2012 Instant Access Code  (ISBN-10: 1285172361 | ISBN-13: 9781285172361)

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION MILESTONES, 2012 is a customized online reader that provides you with easy, convenient, and affordable access to readings, audio and video selections specially selected for your course.

List Price = $66.00  | CengageBrain Price = $66.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $66.00

Latino-American Politics Supplement  (ISBN-10: 1285184297 | ISBN-13: 9781285184296)

List Price = $21.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $16.25

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Susan Welch

Susan Welch received her AB and PhD degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is currently Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Professor of Political Science at The Pennsylvania State University. Her teaching and research areas include legislatures, urban politics, and women and minorities in politics. She publishes widely on issues of race, gender, and urban politics.

John Gruhl

John Gruhl, Professor of Political Science, received his AB from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, and his PhD from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Since joining the University of Nebraska faculty in 1976, he has taught and done research in the areas of judicial process, criminal justice, and civil rights and liberties. He holds campus- and university-wide distinguished teaching awards for excellence in undergraduate teaching and became a charter member of the university’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers.

Sue Thomas

Sue Thomas is Senior Research Scientist at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE) and Director of PIRE-Santa Cruz. Prior to joining PIRE, she served as Associate Professor of Government and Director of Women’s Studies at Georgetown University. She received her A.B. and M.Ed. from UCLA, and her Ph.D. from University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Her research specialty is women and politics, and among her publications are How Women Legislate and Women and Elective Office: Past, Present, and Future.

MaryAnne Borrelli

MaryAnne Borrelli, Professor of Government at Connecticut College, received her BA from Wellesley College and her MA and PhD from Harvard University. Her teaching focuses on national institutions and on public policy in the United States, and she has earned awards for teaching excellence from the faculty and the Student Government Association. Professor Borrelli’s research centers on the workings of gender in the presidency; she has authored books and articles on the first ladyship and on cabinet appointments in the modern presidency.