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The Democratic Debate: American Politics in an Age of Change 6th Edition

Bruce Miroff, Raymond Seidelman, Todd Swanstrom, Tom De Luca

  • Published
  • Previous Editions 2010
  • 512 Pages


With the compelling historic tension between elite and popular models of democracy as a framework, THE DEMOCRATIC DEBATE offers an innovative and incisive examination of American democracy. From the anti-federalists to contemporary political and social movements, special attention is given to people whose inspirational actions have made--and are making--a difference. Recent events, including the government’s response to the financial crisis, Supreme Court decisions on campaign finance and health care, the dramatic appearance of the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements, and the 2012 presidential election, demonstrate contemporary relevance for this critical perspective on how best to study politics.

Bruce Miroff, State University of New York, Albany (SUNY)

Bruce Miroff earned his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley. He teaches and writes in the areas of the presidency, American political theory, and American political development. He is the author of PRAGMATIC ILLUSIONS: THE PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS OF JOHN F. KENNEDY; ICONS OF DEMOCRACY: AMERICAN LEADERS AS HEROES, ARISTOCRATS, DISSENTERS, AND DEMOCRATS; and THE LIBERALS’ MOMENT: THE MCGOVERN INSURGENCY AND THE IDENTITY CRISIS OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY. He regularly teaches an introductory lecture course on American Government and has received a teaching excellence award from SUNY Albany, where he is currently a professor.

Raymond Seidelman, Sarah Lawrence College

Raymond Seidelman earned his Ph.D. at Cornell University in 1979; he was a professor of political science at Sarah Lawrence College and wrote DISENCHANTED REALISTS: POLITICAL SCIENCE AND THE AMERICAN CRISIS (1985), a much-discussed history of the discipline. His areas of specialization included elections, voting, and political theory.

Todd Swanstrom, University of Missouri, St. Louis

Todd Swanstrom earned his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1981. Specializing in housing and urban policy, political economy, and metropolitan planning, he is co-author of PLACE MATTERS: METROPOLITICS FOR THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY.

Tom De Luca, Fordham University

The newest coauthor replacing Raymond Seidelman, Tom De Luca earned his Ph.D at University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1983. He is a Professor of Political Science at Fordham University, where he specializes in Democratic Theory and American Politics, and is the Director of both the International Studies Program and the Sino-American Seminar on Politics and Law. He has held four Fulbrights, been made Honorary Professor of Political Science at China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, and is the author or co-author of three books.
  • In-depth analysis of rising economic inequality and its impact on American democracy.
  • Thorough examination of the political causes and consequences of the 2008 financial meltdown and the effects of the subsequent recession.
  • Analysis of where the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements fit in the history of protest movements and popular democracy.
  • The latest on the battle over healthcare reform and what the fate of “Obamacare” means for American democracy.
  • “Making a Difference” spotlights people whose actions demonstrate how individuals can make a difference in democracy, helping students put content into context.
  • Updated political events coverage challenges students to think critically about current events, encourages class participation, and adds relevancy to the material students are studying.
  • “Op-Ed” features offer students the opportunity to reflect on the stances prominent writers have taken on current interesting and controversial topics.
  • “New Reform” boxes ask students to critically think about reforms and voice their opinions about proposed reforms.
  • “Critical Thinking Questions” encourage students to reflect on the content discussed in each chapter and make connections between democratic ideologies/institutions and current political events.
  • Elite vs. Popular models of democracy framework provides a solid thematic foundation and encourages students to think critically about the effects democratic processes have on our present-day society. “A Closer Look” features examine the struggle between the two models.
  • Analysis of the United States from anti-federalism to contemporary social movements provides a perspective on current events using the framework of elitist vs. popular models of democracy.
1. Introduction: The Democratic Debate.
2. The Revolution and the Constitution: Origins of the Democratic Debate.
3. The Dilemma of American Federalism.
4. The American Political Economy.
5. Public Opinion and Political Culture: Can The People Be Fooled?
6. Democracy and Voting.
7. Campaigns: Organized Money versus Organized People.
8. U.S. Parties: Who Has a Voice?
9. The Media: Who Sets the Political Agenda?
10. Interest Group Politics: Popular Pressure or Elite Bias?
11. Mass Movement Politics: The Great Equalizer.
12. Congress: A Vehicle for Popular Democracy?
13. Presidential Leadership and Elite Democracy.
14. Bureaucracy: Myth and Reality.
15. The Judiciary and the Democratic Debate.
16. Civil Liberties and Civil Rights.
17. Economic and Social Policy: The Democratic Connections.
18. Foreign Policy in the National Security State.

Textbook Only Options

Traditional eBook and Print Options

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  • ISBN-10: 1305156471
  • ISBN-13: 9781305156470
  • STARTING AT $21.99

  • STARTING AT $23.49

  • ISBN-10: 1133604390
  • ISBN-13: 9781133604396
  • Bookstore Wholesale Price $112.50
  • RETAIL $149.95

“This text is fantastic! I have recommended it to several colleagues, as well as friends who are interested in better understanding how our government works.”

“I believe the text would appeal to many students now. . . this text provides a clear thematic foundation for presenting issues in American politics today.”

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 Companion Site

ISBN: 9781285775678
Everything you need for your course in one place! This collection of book-specific lecture and class tools is available online via Access and download PowerPoint presentations, images, instructor’s manual, videos, and more.

Cengage Learning Testing, powered by Cognero Instant Access

ISBN: 9781285978901