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This learning resource is built upon the online textbook, American Government, available free of charge from OpenStax University. The textbook material, itself, is provided in the PDF format. This means you should have a PDF reader, such as Acrobat Reader. It is available here for downloading, free of charge--tap the Acrobat Reader image to begin the installation process


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Table of Contents

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Chapter 1: American Government and Civic Engagement

1.1 What is Government?

1.2 Who Governs? Elitism, Pluralism, and Tradeoffs

1.3 Engagement in a Democracy

Chapter 2: The Constitution and Its Origins

2.1 The Pre-Revolutionary Period and the Roots of the American Political Tradition

2.2 The Articles of Confederation

2.3 The Development of the Constitution

2.4 The Ratification of the Constitution

2.5 Constitutional Change

Chapter 3: American Federalism

3.1 The Division of Powers

3.2 The Evolution of American Federalism

3.3 Intergovernmental Relationships

3.4 Competitive Federalism Today

3.5 Advantages and Disadvantages of Federalism

3.5 Advantages and Disadvantages of Federalism

Chapter 4: Civil Liberties

4.1 What Are Civil Liberties?

4.2 Securing Basic Freedoms

4.3 The Rights of Suspects

4.4 Interpreting the Bill of Rights

Chapter 5: Civil Rights

5.1 What Are Civil Rights and How Do We Identify Them?

5.2 The African American Struggle for Equality

5.3 The Fight for Women’s Rights

5.4 Civil Rights for Indigenous Groups: Native Americans, Alaskans, and Hawaiians

5.5 Equal Protection for Other Groups

Chapter 6: The Politics of Public Opinion

6.1 The Nature of Public Opinion

6.2 How Is Public Opinion Measured?

6.3 What Does the Public Think?

6.4 The Effects of Public Opinion

Chapter 7: Voting and Elections

7.1 Voter Registration

7.2 Voter Turnout

7.3 Elections

7.4 Campaigns and Voting

7.5 Direct Democracy

7.5 Direct Democracy

Chapter 8: The Media

8.1 What Is the Media?

8.2 The Evolution of the Media

8.3 Regulating the Media

8.4 The Impact of the Media

Chapter 9: Political Parties

9.1 What Are Parties and How Did They Form?

9.2 The Two-Party System

9.3 The Shape of Modern Political Parties

9.4 Divided Government and Partisan Polarization

Chapter 10: Interest Groups and Lobbying

10.1 Interest Groups Defined

10.2 Collective Action and Interest Group Formation

10.3 Interest Groups as Political Participation

10.4 Pathways of Interest Group Influence

10.5 Free Speech and the Regulation of Interest Groups

Chapter 11: Congress

11.1 The Institutional Design of Congress

11.2 Congressional Elections

11.3 Congressional Representation

11.4 House and Senate Organizations

11.5 The Legislative Process

Chapter 12: The Presidency

12.1 The Design and Evolution of the Presidency

12.2 The Presidential Election Process

12.3 Organizing to Govern

12.4 The Public Presidency

12.5 Presidential Governance: Direct Presidential Action

Chapter 13: The Courts

13.1 Guardians of the Constitution and Individual Rights

13.2 The Dual Court System

13.3 The Federal Court System

13.4 The Supreme Court

13.5 Judicial Decision-Making and Implementation by the Supreme Court

Chapter 14: State and Local Government

14.1 State Power and Delegation

14.2 State Political Culture

14.3 Governors and State Legislatures

14.4 State Legislative Term Limits

14.5 County and City Government

14.5 County and City Government

Chapter 15: The Bureaucracy

15.1 Bureaucracy and the Evolution of Public Administration

15.2 Toward a Merit-Based Civil Service

15.3 Understanding Bureaucracies and their Types

15.4 Controlling the Bureaucracy

Chapter 16: Domestic Policy

16.1 What Is Public Policy?

16.2 Categorizing Public Policy

16.3 Policy Arenas

16.4 Policymakers

16.5 Budgeting and Tax Policy

Chapter 17: Foreign Policy

17.1 Defining Foreign Policy

17.2 Foreign Policy Instruments

17.3 Institutional Relations in Foreign Policy

17.4 Approaches to Foreign Policy


Appendix A: Declaration of Independence

Appendix B: The Constitution of the United States

Appendix C: Federalist Papers #10 and #51

Appendix D: Electoral College Votes by State, 2012–2020

Appendix E: Selected Supreme Court Cases

David L. Heiserman, Editor

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All Rights Reserved

Revised: June 06, 2015