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American Government and Politics Today, 2015-2016 Edition 17th Edition

Lynne E. Ford, Barbara A. Bardes, Steffen W. Schmidt, Mack C. Shelley, II.

  • Published
  • 720 Pages
Starting At 80.00 See pricing and ISBN options


AMERICAN GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS TODAY is known nationwide for its balanced, unbiased, and modern coverage of constitutional, governmental, political, social, and economic structures and their processes. The book provides the knowledge that allows students to make informed choices, encourages them to play an active role in the decision-making process, and promotes their enthusiastic participation in the world around them by giving them the tools they need to get involved. The 2015–2016 edition's updates include in-depth coverage of the midterm 2014 elections. NEW! MindTap – Cengage Learning’s fully online learning solution – is automatically included with purchase of the print text. 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

Lynne E. Ford, College of Charleston

Lynne E. Ford is Associate Provost for Curriculum and Academic Administration and professor of political science at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. She received her B.A. from The Pennsylvania State University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in government and political behavior from the University of Maryland-College Park. Ford's teaching and research interests include women and politics, elections and voting behavior, political psychology, and civic engagement. She has written articles on women in state legislatures, the under-representation of women in political office in the American South, and work-family policy in the United States. She also has co-authored Declarations of Independence: Women and Political Power in 19th Century American Novels; Thinking About Public Policy; Public Opinion: Measuring the American Mind; and American Government and Politics Today.

Barbara A. Bardes, University of Cincinnati

Barbara A. Bardes is professor emerita of political science at the University of Cincinnati. She received her B.A. and M.A. from Kent State University and her Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati. She served as a faculty member in political science and dean of Mundelein College at Loyola University of Chicago. In 1993, she was appointed dean of Raymond Walters College of the University of Cincinnati, where she served until 2003. She returned to the political science department where she held the position of graduate director before retiring. Bardes has written articles on public and foreign policy, and women and politics. She also has co-authored Declarations of Independence: Women and Political Power in 19th Century American Novels; Thinking About Public Policy; Public Opinion: Measuring the American Mind; and American Government and Politics Today.

Steffen W. Schmidt, Iowa State University

Steffen W. Schmidt is a professor of political science at Iowa State University. He grew up in Colombia, South America, and has studied in Colombia, Switzerland, and France. He has a B.A. from Rollins College and obtained his Ph.D. from Columbia University, New York, in public law and government. Dr. Schmidt has published 14 books and over 130 articles in scholarly journals and is the recipient of numerous prestigious teaching prizes, including the Amoco Award for Lifetime Career Achievement in Teaching and the Teacher of the Year award. He is a pioneer in the use of web-based and real-time video courses and is a member of the American Political Science Association's section on Computers and Multimedia. He is known as "Dr. Politics" for his extensive commentary on U.S. politics in U.S. and international media. He is a weekly blogger for Gannett, and comments on CNN en Español and Univision, as well as WNYC, New York. Dr. Schmidt is on Facebook (Steffen W Schmidt) and Twitter (DrPolitics).

Mack C. Shelley, II., Iowa State University

Mack C. Shelley, II is a professor of political science and statistics at Iowa State University. After receiving his bachelor's degree from American University in Washington, DC, he went on to graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he received a master's degree in economics and a Ph.D. in political science. He arrived at Iowa State in 1979. From 1993 to 2002, he served as elected co-editor of the Policy Studies Journal. Shelley has also published numerous articles, books, and monographs on public policy, including The Permanent Majority: The Conservative Coalition in the United States Congress; Biotechnology And The Research Enterprise: A Guide to the Literature (with William F. Woodman and Brian J. Reichel); American Public Policy: The Contemporary Agenda (with Steven G. Koven and Bert E. Swanson); and Quality Research in Literacy and Science Education: International Perspectives and Gold Standards (with Larry Yore and Brian Hand).
  • This edition is significantly more affordable than the previous edition.
  • A chapter on “The Media and Politics” (Chapter 10) returns to this edition, updated to address modern media and technology as well as their roles in politics.
  • Based on reviewers' requests, this edition pays greater attention to gender, with discussions throughout the book of gender as it relates to such topics as cabinet appointments, Congress, Supreme Court justices, voting, the women's right movement, the Nineteenth Amendment, and the gender pay gap.
  • Chapter 9, “Campaign, Voting, and Elections,” combines and streamlines topics formerly covered in two chapters.
  • A new feature, “Everyday Politics,” centers on a media resource, such as a film or a sitcom, that links directly to the chapter material. It is designed to attract student interest and to encourage critical thinking by placing the book's topics in the context of familiar popular culture and posing questions for students to consider. For instance, one chapter summarizes the Academy Award-winning movie Argo, which dramatizes a CIA agent's rescue of six U.S. diplomats from Iran during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis.
  • “What Would You Do?” replaces the previous edition's “You Can Make a Difference” feature. This revised feature is more interactive for this edition, putting students in a position of power/authority while posing a critical thinking question, as opposed to simply referring them to websites for more information. For example, they may be asked to consider how they would vote on a handguns bill as a member of Congress.
  • Provocative “What if . . . ?” questions prompt lively classroom discussion and encourage students to apply critical-thinking skills to current, real-life issues.
  • A boxed “Beyond Our Borders” feature in each chapter gives students both global and comparative context, covering topics related to key issues such as economic globalization, foreign elections, citizenship, immigration, and foreign lobbying. New topics include government controlled media abroad, campaign length, and political rights in the global community, such as Egypt.
  • Co-author, Lynne Ford, is now the lead author on the book previous known by author Schmidt.
  • Chapter-opening Learning Outcomes help students target their reading and are revisited throughout the chapter and in the chapter summary. Objectives are tied to the outcomes that are expected from most Introduction to American Government courses across the country.
  • “Politics with a Purpose” features highlight how individuals, groups, and modern technology have impacted the political system. They incorporate a review of key scholarship on the topic and offer a balance of positive and negative as well as modern and historical examples. Examples often include students who are employing the skills they have learned in college to bring about social and political change.
1. One Republic-Two Americas?
2. The Constitution.
3. Federalism.
4. Civil Liberties.
5. Civil Rights.
6. Public Opinion and Political Socialization.
7. Interest Groups.
8. Political Parties.
9. Campaigning, Voting, and Elections.
10. The Media and Politics.
11. The Congress.
12. The President.
13. The Bureaucracy.
14. The Courts.
15. Domestic Policy.
16. Economic Policy.
17. Foreign Policy and National Security.
18. State and Local Government.
Each MindTap product offers the full, mobile-ready textbook combined with superior and proven learning tools at one affordable price. Students who purchase digital access can add a print option at any time when a print option is available for their course.

This Cengage solution can be seamlessly integrated into most Learning Management Systems (Blackboard, Brightspace by D2L, Canvas, Moodle, and more) but does require a different ISBN for access codes. Please work with your Cengage Learning Consultant to ensure the proper course set up and ordering information. For additional information, please visit the LMS Integration site.

Standalone Digital Access — Ultimate Value

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  • ISBN-10: 1285873254
  • ISBN-13: 9781285873251
  • Bookstore Wholesale Price $80.00
  • RETAIL $80.00

Digital Access + Print — Flexible Value

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  • ISBN-10: 1305701283
  • ISBN-13: 9781305701281
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Textbook Only Options

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  • ISBN-10: 1305740157
  • ISBN-13: 9781305740150
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  • ISBN-10: 1285860438
  • ISBN-13: 9781285860435
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  • ISBN-10: 1285853016
  • ISBN-13: 9781285853017
  • Bookstore Wholesale Price $150.00
  • RETAIL $199.95

“The book will fit very well in my teaching style. . . . Every chapter has tables, graphs, charts, [and] maps that can serve as a focal point for class discussion and to visually assist students in grasping complex ideas. The creative 'What if's' and 'Politics with a Purpose' once again are excellent mechanisms to aid in class discussion. Just as important, the book is aesthetically pleasing, it is easy on the eyes, [and] the font style and size prevent the book from appearing dry and intimidating.”

“The book is very well written and easy to understand, which is why I have used it in the past. It is very succinct in explaining the topics and does not veer off into such obscure detail that would confuse or complicate matters for the student.”

Cengage provides a range of supplements that are updated in coordination with the main title selection. For more information about these supplements, contact your Learning Consultant.


Instructor's WebSite

ISBN: 9781337093248
Everything you need for your course in one place! This collection of product-specific lecture and class tools is available online via the instructor resource center at

Cengage Learning Testing, powered by Cognero Instant Access

ISBN: 9781337093927
Cengage Learning Testing, powered by Cognero® is a flexible, online system that allows you to import, edit, and manipulate content from the text's test bank or elsewhere, including your own favorite test questions; create multiple test versions in an instant; and deliver tests from your LMS, your classroom, or wherever you want.