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American Government and Politics Today: Essentials 2015-2016 Edition 18th Edition

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

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


AMERICAN GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS TODAY: THE ESSENTIALS, 2015-2016 Edition inspires students to join the exciting process of being active, informed citizens. Unbiased, concisely organized, and updated with Election 2014 coverage, the text's fundamental theme continues to be the importance of participating in active citizenship, emphasizing critical thinking about political issues and encouraging students to become involved in the political process. With a keen understanding of the needs and interests of today's students, the authors incorporate compelling and thought-provoking current examples to stimulate learning and excitement. MindTap™ for Bardes, Shelley, and Schmidt's AMERICAN GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS TODAY: THE ESSENTIALS-Cengage Learning's fully online learning solution-is automatically included with this text.

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.

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).

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).
  • “2014 Elections” features highlight the important impact of the 2014 midterm elections, including an analysis of the campaigns and election results. These features help students think critically about recent events and consider them in the context of American political theory and history.
  • In addition, updated discussions cover: the concept of concentrated benefits and dispersed costs; the fact that many interest groups are considered part of political party coalitions; the latest Supreme Court rulings on campaign finance and the voting rights act; the concept of the invisible primary; laws restricting voting rights; talk radio and threats to the independence of the Internet; bias, blogging, and social media; the concept of priming; new limits to filibustering; recent news on Snowden and Manning; and foreign policy as it relates to Syria and Ukraine.
  • New sections cover Latinos, American Indians, and Asians (in the Civil Rights chapter); different kinds of Republicans and Democrats as well as forces that persuade party members to think alike; and the party in the electorate.
  • This edition is significantly more affordable than the previous edition.
  • New “Why You Should Care About. . .” marginal features boost students' engagement by demonstrating why the topic at hand directly affects them.
  • More demographics are included throughout, particularly in Chapter 1, which presents material on positive and negative trends such as unemployment, inequality, falling crime, and teen pregnancy rates.
  • Critical thinking questions now accompany all figures, tables, and photo captions, helping students apply and analyze the information presented.
  • More photos of young, active citizens-in new chapter-opening photo spreads and throughout the text-show democracy in action and inspire students to get involved themselves.
  • Chapter summaries and end-of-chapter quizzes are now correlated to the chapter Learning Outcomes, helping students assess their comprehension of each chapter and prepare for tests. Quizzes now include multiple-choice, fill-in, and essay questions.
  • The book is now seamlessly integrated with MindTap™, included with this edition. Marginal icons direct students to a variety of assignable, gradable activities that get them up to speed with current events materials, promote their interaction with one another through online discussion boards and polling questions, and engage them with interactive activities and quizzes that are correlated to clearly defined learning outcomes-all while keeping instructors deeply informed of student progress and time spent in the course.
  • Coverage of public opinion, interest groups, modern political parties, social media in politics, and the Obama legacy has received major updates. The chapters on Domestic and Economic Policy (Ch. 15) and Foreign Policy (Ch. 16) have been completely updated and modernized to reflect recent events.
  • Additional content changes and updates include discussions of: how the electoral college was chosen in the early days of the Republic; Supreme Court rulings on marijuana, same-sex marriage, and how the states are administering Obamacare; obscenity (rewritten section); the NSA revelation; women in the military; poverty and race, same-sex marriage, and affirmative action; the gender gap, Southern conservatism, and other public opinion and political socialization issues; and the new farm bill.
  • The MindTap for this title is Quality Matters certified, assuring the very highest quality and accessibility in online and blended courses.
  • The 2015-2016 Edition engages students by focusing on how government impacts them: Chapter 1 shows students how government is everywhere, at every stage of their lives; “Why Should You Care About. . .” and “How You Can Make a Difference” features encourage community and political participation, and student demographics, social media, and cross-generational information is incorporated throughout.
  • Learning Outcomes appear in the opener and correlate to each major section to help students target their reading, and are revisited in the chapter summary and end-of-chapter quiz. These outcomes are tied to the Introduction to American Government outcomes that are expected from most courses across the country.
  • “What If . . . ,” “Beyond Our Borders,” and “Did You Know?” features engage students' interest while encouraging them to think critically about key concepts and current events and to develop a more informed and global perspective.
  • “Which Side Are You On?” features challenge students to take a stand on controversial issues and explore ways to take action.
  • “How You Can Make A Difference” features conclude each chapter with ways in which students can become actively involved in American politics.
  • Every chapter concludes with key terms, a chapter summary, and a quiz correlated to the Learning Outcomes, a reminder of available MindTap activities that assess and deepen understanding of the chapter's key concepts, and additional print and media resources.
  • A “Skill Prep” module opens the book, outlining tips for studying, writing papers and essays, and taking tests.
1. The Democratic Republic.
2. The Constitution.
3. Federalism.
4. Civil Liberties.
5. Civil Rights.
6. Public Opinion and Political Socialization.
7. Interest Groups.
8. Political Parties.
9. Campaigns and Elections.
10. The Media.
11. The Congress.
12. The President.
13. The Bureaucracy.
14. The Courts.
15. Domestic and Economic Policy.
16. Foreign Policy.
Appendix A: The Declaration of Independence.
Appendix B: Federalist Papers Nos. 10, 51, and No. 78.
Appendix C: Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court since 1900.
Appendix D: Party Control of Congress since 1900.
Appendix E: The Presidents of the United States.
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: 1305078470
  • ISBN-13: 9781305078475
  • Bookstore Wholesale Price $80.00
  • RETAIL $80.00

Digital Access + Print — Flexible Value

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  • ISBN-10: 1305701321
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  • ISBN-10: 1305798317
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  • ISBN-10: 1285858867
  • ISBN-13: 9781285858869
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  • ISBN-10: 1285853156
  • ISBN-13: 9781285853154
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  • RETAIL $175.95

“The book generally does a nice job with useful pictures, charts, graphs, etc. These should help visual learners grasp some important concepts and drive home key issues.”

“A real strength is how the Learning Outcomes are noted not only at the front of the chapter but on the page where the information is provided. I think this book's descriptions about the difference in direct democracy and a democratic republic are the most understandable for students of any text I've read.”

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.


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ISBN: 9781337091374
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.