Higher Education

American Government: Institutions and Policies, Brief Version, 12th Edition

  • James Q. Wilson University of California
  • John J. DiIulio, Jr. University of Pennsylvania
  • Meena Bose Hofstra University
  • ISBN-10: 1305109007  |  ISBN-13: 9781305109001
  • 528 Pages
  • © 2016 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $131.50
  • Newer Edition Available
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This popular brief text for the one-semester or one-quarter American Government course maintains the framework of the Wilson, DiIulio, and Bose comprehensive text, emphasizing the historical development of the American political system, who governs, and to what ends. The twelfth edition of AMERICAN GOVERNMENT: INSTITUTIONS AND POLICIES, BRIEF VERSION, offers coverage of the 2014 campaigns and elections; budget battles and the sequestration of funds; ongoing debates about immigration, gay marriage, and other key issues in American politics; and foreign-policy decisions on Afghanistan, the Middle East, and North Korea. The text also emphasizes critical-thinking skills and includes tools to help students maximize study efforts and results, such as Learning Objectives in every chapter.

Features and Benefits

  • This concise, affordable text covers the essential concepts of American government and is known for its outstanding scholarship, strong historical coverage, and focus on institutions and policy.
  • Students learn to think critically and synthesize the material through the text's chapter-opening Learning Objectives, which are framed as questions and reviewed at the end of each chapter, and through a conversational narrative that expands on the classic issues of democracy.
  • “How We Compare” features show how other nations around the world structure their governments and policies in relation to the U.S. and ask students to think about the results of these differences.
  • “What Would You Do?” boxes in each chapter further enhance the critical-thinking emphasis of the book, challenging students to explore their opinions on controversial topics and generating classroom discussion and debate.
  • Key facts and concepts are pulled out in each chapter to guide students, while marginal definitions serve as helpful references while reading.
  • “Landmark Cases” highlight the most important court cases and provide brief overviews of their decisions.
  • Numerous colorful figures, tables, and photographs engage students and bring concepts to life, while end-of-chapter “Online Resources” and “Suggested Readings” point students toward further application and enrichment.

Table of Contents

1. The Study of American Government.
2. The Constitution.
3. Federalism.
4. Civil Liberties.
5. Civil Rights.
6. Public Opinion and the Media.
7. Political Parties and Interest Groups.
8. Elections and Campaigns.
9. Congress.
10. The Presidency.
11. The Bureaucracy.
12. The Judiciary.
13. Domestic Policy.
14. Foreign and Military Policy.
15. American Democracy, Then and Now.

What's New

  • Updates throughout the text reflect the latest scholarship and current events, including the Supreme Court ruling upholding the health care law; the 2014 midterm elections; budget battles and the sequestration of funds; ongoing debates about immigration, gay marriage, and other key issues in American politics; and foreign-policy decisions on Afghanistan, the Middle East, and North Korea.
  • This edition has been streamlined and reorganized to introduce the politics of the policy process in Chapter 1, preparing students to evaluate policy dynamics throughout the rest of the text. It also consolidates the policy chapters within a domestic policy chapter (Chapter 13) and a foreign and military policy chapter (Chapter 14) to better fit the semester format and encourage reading.
  • The book's Learning Objective questions, which open and close each chapter, have been revised to more effectively serve as a road map to the book's key concepts and to better help students assess their understanding.
  • New “Constitutional Connections” features raise analytical issues from the constitutional debates that remain relevant today, prompting students to think about topics they'll encounter as essay questions on their exams-and as citizens. Topics include states and the health exchanges (Ch. 3), selective incorporation (Ch. 4), variations in state voting laws (Ch. 8), and how, if at all, the federal bureaucracy fits into the constitutional system of checks and balances (Ch. 11).

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.

  • MindTap 1 Term (6 Months) + Bound Book

    ISBN-10: 1305791460 | ISBN-13: 9781305791466

    List Price = $187.95  | CengageBrain Price = $187.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $141.50

Learning Resource Bundles

Choose the textbook packaged with the resources that best meet your course and student needs. Contact your Learning Consultant for more information.

Printed Text, Brief + MindTap® Political Science, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access

ISBN-10: 1305791460 | ISBN-13: 9781305791466

List Price = $187.95  | CengageBrain Price = $187.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $141.50

This Bundle Includes:

  • American Government: Institutions and Policies, Brief Version
    List Price = $174.95  | CengageBrain Price = $174.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $131.50
  • MindTap® Political Science, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access for Wilson/DiIulio/Bose/Levendusky's American Government: Institutions and Policies
    List Price = $82.00  | CengageBrain Price = $82.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $82.00

Efficacy and Outcomes


“I am very pleased with the quality of the scholarship, writing style, clarity, and analysis exhibited by the work of Drs. Wilson, DiIulio, and Bose. I am also pleased with the manner in which the publisher has packaged and presented the textbook and the ancillary materials. This is as solid and intellectually honest a textbook as one could hope for. It should be the standard by which all others are measured. The emphasis on students using their critical thinking skills to reach conclusions on issues of the day provides a firm foundation for their future growth as citizens of this country. In conclusion, I think that this is the finest American Government textbook available today. The authors combine excellent scholarship, academic rigor, practical examples, and insights, which makes this text an invaluable aid to any student trying to understand their government.”

— Junius Koonce, Edgecombe Community College

“I immensely like the writing style and level; it reads like a story, exactly what will keep my students engaged.”

— Philip Aka, Chicago 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

Online PowerPoint® with Cengage Learning Testing, powered by Cognero  (ISBN-10: 1305109023 | ISBN-13: 9781305109025)

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.

Instructor's Companion Web Site  (ISBN-10: 1305109031 | ISBN-13: 9781305109032)

This companion website for American Government, Brief Version, 12th Edition, is accessible through cengagebrain.com and offers students chapter-specific interactive learning tools including flashcards, quizzes, glossaries, and more.

Cengage Learning Testing, powered by Cognero Instant Access  (ISBN-10: 1305109066 | ISBN-13: 9781305109063)

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 American Government, Brief Version, 12th Edition, contains Learning Objective-specific multiple-choice and essay questions for each chapter.

Meet the Author

Author Bio

James Q. Wilson

James Q. Wilson most recently taught at Boston College and Pepperdine University. He was Professor Emeritus of Management and Public Administration at UCLA and was previously Shattuck Professor of Government at Harvard University. He wrote more than a dozen books on the subjects of public policy, bureaucracy, and political philosophy. He was president of the American Political Science Association (APSA), and he is the only political scientist to win three of the four lifetime achievement awards presented by the APSA. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, in 2003. Professor Wilson passed away in March of 2012 after battling cancer. His work helped shape the field of political science in the United States. His many years of service to this textbook remain evident on every page and will continue for many editions to come.

John J. DiIulio, Jr.

John J. DiIulio, Jr. is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania and has won each of Penn's most prestigious teaching awards. He was previously Professor of Politics and Public Affairs at Princeton University. He received his PhD in Political Science from Harvard University. He has been a senior fellow and directed research programs at several leading think tanks including the Brookings Institution and has won awards from the Association of Public Policy Analysis and Management, the American Political Science Association, and other bodies. He has advised presidential candidates in both parties, served on bipartisan government reform commissions, and worked as a senior staff member in the White House.

Meena Bose

Meena Bose is executive dean for public policy and public service programs in the Peter S. Kalikow School of Government, Public Policy and International Affairs at Hofstra University. She also is director of Hofstra’s Peter S. Kalikow Center for the Study of the American Presidency. She received her Ph.D. in 1996 from Princeton University. Dr. Bose teaches courses on the American presidency, presidential leadership and policy making, and American politics. She is the author or editor of several volumes in presidency studies and American politics. She taught for six years at the United States Military Academy at West Point.